Earlier this month, Colorado Public Radio (CPR) featured the Globeville Elyria-Swansea (GES) Coalition, a resident led organization fighting against gentrification and displacement in their neighborhoods. As CPR explains, “the area is about to drastically change. The city’s planned massive redevelopment includes a rebuild of the National Western Complex, Brighton Boulevard and several new light rail stations. There’s also the state’s $1.2 billion project to expand and sink I-70.”
These developments will likely continue to increase property values in the GES neighborhood, making lower income residents prime targets for displacement. Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) is well aware of the current and future risk of displacement in this community. In an effort to proactively mitigate displacement in Elyria-Swansea, ULC purchased a six acre site in 2015 at the intersection of 48th and Race for the future development of affordable housing and community serving space.
In 2018, ULC announced Columbia Ventures, LLC as our development partner for the transit-oriented development (TOD), and then hosted seven community meetings to talk about the development. As a result of neighborhood residents and stakeholders, including the GES Coalition, speaking out on needs related to housing affordability, ULC and Columbia finalized a development plan that speaks to these needs. In a later community meeting hosted by the GES Coalition, ULC and Columbia reiterated our commitments to increasing the number of affordable homes in the neighborhood and have plans to achieve levels of affordability that have not been met before. The first phase of development will include 150 permanently affordable rental units, with 45 for households earning 30% of area median income (AMI). These units are not reliant on housing vouchers, so they are not exclusive to those restrictions. This type of inclusive and equitable development is not being done anywhere else in the city.
This acquisition directly aligned with our mission to provide affordable rental and community space for residents in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood. Race TOD will also be the new home of Clinica Tepayac, a health clinic providing culturally competent care and health services to the medically underserved.
The apartments and clinic will be permanently affordable as part of in ULC’s Community Land Trust. ULC will have a 99-year renewable ground lease in place to ensure community benefit and affordability in perpetuity. This development is a prime example of an effort to mitigate displacement in the face of market pressures.
ULC greatly appreciates CPR’s coverage of the critical need for affordable housing options in the wake of massive development across the Denver region – especially in the GES community. ULC is dedicated to continuing the community driven process that has realized 150 units of affordable housing for residents who need it the most. We are also committed to working in partnership with the GES Coalition and greater community as development moves forward.