Planned rent hike for seniors studied

Geneva Village proposal pulled from council agenda

Posted 7/21/14

Littleton City Council was all set on July 15 to pass a rent increase for the seniors who live at Geneva Village, until Councilmember Peggy Cole pulled the item off the agenda and requested a study session on the issue.

“There's a whole series …

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Planned rent hike for seniors studied

Geneva Village proposal pulled from council agenda

Posted

Littleton City Council was all set on July 15 to pass a rent increase for the seniors who live at Geneva Village, until Councilmember Peggy Cole pulled the item off the agenda and requested a study session on the issue.

“There's a whole series of things I think are not addressed,” she said.

Councilmembers Jerry Valdes and Bruce Stahlman agreed, as did Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Beckman, so the resolution was set aside. It had been on the consent agenda, which meant it would not have been subject to public discussion.

Longtime Geneva Village resident Jerry Hill said he didn't hear about the proposal until late that afternoon, but he managed to round up about a dozen of his neighbors to appear at the council meeting in protest. He urged council to consider grandfathering in the 28 people who live there now, many of whom are in their 80s and 90s, and start charging new tenants more.

Hill, 78, is a former member of the board of South Metro Housing Options, which manages Geneva Village. He was also on the front lines of the battle several years ago when there was talk of replacing the apartments with a new police building.

As crafted, the resolution would have increased the rent by $50 a month each year through 2017. A one-bedroom unit that now rents for $395 would increase to $545 under that scenario.

Other buildings in the neighborhood generally charge from about $700 on the low end to $1,500 on the high end.

The city has owned Geneva Village, at 5444 S. Prince St., since 1975, and has not increased the rent since 1979.

“The city council has determined that it is in the best interest of the city to increase rental rates to establish a reserve for future improvement expenses at Geneva Village,” reads the resolution.

The property where the complex now stands has a long and storied history in Littleton, having started out as a poultry farm. The site was purchased in 1927 by the International Geneva Association, an organization made up of hotel and restaurant workers, and converted into a care facility for former former workers. It was the only such facility in the country, though there were others throughout the world.

The Craftsman-style frame house at the site was probably built about 1920, according to the Littleton Museum's website. It was nearly demolished after sitting idle for about 20 years, but Historic Littleton Inc. pushed to save it. Fisher Associates Architects and Engineers restored it and moved in, and today it's on the National Register of Historic Places.

The existing apartment complex, which has 28 units, was built west of the house in 1964 for married members of the Geneva Association. It became part of the South Metro Housing Option's housing for senior citizens in 1975, when the city purchased the entire site and built Littleton Center on its eastern portion.

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