The Steep Price of the Affordable Housing Development, The Launchpad

Since September 2022, we’ve been following The Launchpad, a proposed $20,000,000, 50-unit low-income housing project for homeless youth. We attended an informational meeting about the project that was held by The Place, a non-profit group that helps young people exit homelessness. The Place will manage The Launchpad. The  video of that meeting is one of our top 10 most viewed videos, and we’ve been told it has been helpful in educating neighborhood residents about the project. 

There are many arguments against The Launchpad, with multiple neighborhood groups opposing the development. These groups will appear before the Colorado Springs City Council on August 8th, asking the planning commission to overturn their approval of this development. The neighbors make very good arguments and we hope council members will listen. 

We’re in the business of looking out for taxpayers, so we sought out information for you. We found a funding application for The Launchpad from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. The astounding details start on page 18. The total development cost is $534.04/square foot. The total cost for each studio apartment will be $403,411. These are tiny apartments, with 48 of them being 435 square feet, and 2 of them being 775 square feet. The average cost to build an apartment development is $422/square foot– 26% less than The Launchpad’s costs. Yet, Colorado government found no issue with the outrageously high cost, and awarded the project a $3,750,000 taxpayer funded grant.

The City of Colorado Springs, aka you, if you live here, is pitching in, too. They are giving the developers a 0.5% low interest $500,000 cash loan, and they’ve committed to both fee and sales tax rebates in the amount of $300,000.

Here are the project metrics:

Here’s the budget for the project:

After looking at the project cost, we believe The Launchpad is not an efficient use of taxpayer dollars. In fact, it’s abusive of taxpayer dollars. Many of us live on a beer budget, and are just trying to get by paycheck to paycheck. The Launchpad is a champagne development. The numbers leave us wondering if there will be a gold toilet seat for each resident, or just for the developers. 

With all of the apartment buildings going up in Colorado Springs, high rent prices will come down. It’s the basic law of supply and demand. Let things happen naturally – no government intervention is needed. Reach out to City Council members and ask them why they are okay with this kind of irresponsible spending. It’s not a good look for local and state government.

Yolanda Avila

Lynette Crow-Iverson

Dave Donelson

Randy Helms

Nancy Henjum

David Leinweber

Mike O’Malley

Brian Risley

Michelle Talarico

2 thoughts on “The Steep Price of the Affordable Housing Development, The Launchpad

  1. This project is no good. Adding hundreds of unsupervised,nonrespondible, at risk to the neighborhood is insane. Business owners, homeowners and employees in the area are against this boondoggle. We are dealing with THEFT, HOMELESS,CRIME already .Property is not zoned for this.Land is not suitable.

  2. Amazing. Putting an apartment complex in the middle of a lower income neighborhood that is struggling with a very high number of homeless which are increasing everyday and a drug dealer/stolen goods marketplace at Uintah Gardens Shopping Center. Police don’t even bother to show up for crime because these criminals are out the next day. Drive through the parking lot, look at the vans of stolen goods for sale, dealer vehicles with lines and needles to avoid as you walk to the store. Some stores have already left because of the high crime and the others have a hard time getting employees. Customers are starting to find other stores to safely shop at. It is a matter of time before this shopping center is a vacant. Then of course some developer will snatch it up for pennies on the dollar and put up “apartments” with tax breaks paid for by us.

    Please explain why a non profit would want to put young adults in the middle of this scenario? What kind of support can the neighborhood provide? If these residents have any sort of drug or mental illness, is setting them where drugs are readily available be helpful on the road to recovery? How successful has the Place really been? Why do they have such poor ratings? What percentage of their residents are participating citizens after one year, five years or longer? Why do they need an out of state developer to build this at such an inflated price? Why don’t they have real plans instead of stamped prelim plans that are from other projects? Have they read their own soils report? Who will pay for the extra costs since even the foundation engineers are worried about the soils? There are so many questions that need to be answered and the Place doesn’t seem willing to be forthcoming.

    Ruth Washburn director should be ashamed. She does not own the daycare. This is a co-op and the parents were not officially told about this project in writing. The Place held a dog and pony show, but did not tell parents what the meeting was about. A lot of parents can’t go to every single event a daycare hosts and need to pick and choose based on importance. A letter pointing to the information at city planning would have been the proper thing to do. Instead parents have signed up, paid and are slapped by the prospect of this facility next door. All parents have a level of risk they are willing to accept for their children. This place might be safe, it also might not. Yes, the LaunchPad might be a good idea, but next to a daycare when parents have no idea of exactly what sort of problems the residents might be dealing with and what sort of security measures are in place for both the daycare and the LaunchPad. What if the LaunchPad doesn’t get funding to keep the place running? Who can move in? Will they follow the standards set by the Place? Too many unanswered questions for the citizens of this city to roll over.

    The city planning department, who we pay for their inflated salaries, is busy telling city council and the citizens of this city what we need.. They are busy taking away our sense of security, the value of our homes and beauty of the various neighborhoods all the while shaming anyone who has had the audacity to worked hard, get an education and managed to purchase a home in what was suppose to be a safe place. This facility, which sounds like basic expensive apartments to me, needs to be where these residents can get the services they need. There is no school, vocational training, health care, mental health services and addiction counselling nearby. Do you expect us to believe these residents will ride a bus an hour plus each way to get help several times a week? Healthy people don’t even do that. If they will ride the bus, what percentage will? Where are the statistics the Place is successful?

    We want answers before any of citizens money is spent on tax breaks. Why can’t the city understand that us citizens will donate to the charities we choose, we don’t need government telling us which ones are worthy. I would love to see every penny of my share of taxes returned to me that was given to some non profit. I would like to choose where the money will go. If we did that, perhaps some successful knowledgeable non profits would emerge versus rewarding every place that hangs a shingle marked non profit.

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