DENVER-Downtown Denver has some of the highest apartment rents in the metro area, with a monthly average of $832.

But, a survey from the Downtown Denver Partnership, a group that represents interests of the central business district, has found that 72% of the units fetch less than that. How is that possible? The reason is that the survey of 2,476 rental units has included a number of Section 8 and other subsidized units, which dramatically drops the average cost.

“By including all of the units, it provides a comprehensive look of everything downtown has to offer,” Ben Kelly, partnership spokesman told “I think it’s a valid way of doing it and I think most people would be surprised by how many affordable housing units there are.”

Many of the renovated buildings downtown that have been turned into housing, have between 10% and 50% subsidized units, saving a qualified tenant about $200 a month in rent. Myrna Hipp, Denver’s director of housing and neighborhood development, says many of the buildings on the partnership’s list either have been financed with the help of private activity bonds backed by the city or are Section 8 projects funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

A referendum approved Nov. 7 puts Denver in the position of helping to fund an extra 100 to 500 affordable housing units per year, she told A portion of the funds also will be used to preserve Section 8 housing, she says.

Kelly says the city’s most critical segment is housing for entry-level workers with incomes too great to qualify for Section 8 and too low for the many choices available for the wealthier residents. “We need to have housing across the entire continuum of incomes,” he says.

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