An apartment building in the Ballpark neighborhood of Lower Downtown Denver faces a federal complaint of housing discrimination that says it has failed to make the complex accessible for disabled tenants.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said it charged the owners, architect and builder of The Battery on Blake Street this week with violating the Fair Housing Act. The agency filed the charge after investigating a complaint by the nonprofit Denver Metro Fair Housing Center.
Allegations of federal violations included complaints that parking spaces and common areas, including the swimming pool, as well as some balconies are inaccessible to people with disabilities. Investigators following up on the complaints found the property failed to meet the requirements under the law for making the areas accessible, HUD said.
The case will be heard in federal district court. If it’s determined that discrimination occurred, the judge could award actual and punitive damages, issue an injunction or order other relief.
The complaint names the owner of the complex, SHF II Battery on Blake Street LLC; PR III Broadstone Blake St. LLC; Alliance Colorado Builders; and PS Arch Inc., architects.
Attorneys for the owners didn’t immediately return calls for comment Thursday.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on disability, race, color, national origin, religion, sex and familial status. It also requires that covered multifamily housing dwellings be designed and built to be accessible to people with disabilities.
The Denver Metro Fair Housing Center first contacted HUD about The Battery on Blake more than three years ago, said Kate McElhaney, deputy executive director of the fair housing center. The agency did on-site inspections when the complex opened and found problems, including accessibility to common areas and parking, McElhaney said.
“They were not willing to make changes to bring it into compliance,” McElhaney said.
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“Hopefully HUD’s action will help other housing owners and builders better understand their obligations under the Fair Housing Act, and encourage them to comply with the law,” Anna María Farías, the agency’s assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, said in a statement.