This past Monday, Denver City Council approved a bill with a sweeping 11 – 1 majority that will allow for higher density building surrounding the 38th and Blake Station in the RiNo neighborhood. The height incentive amendment, which is the first of its kind in Denver, will allow for high rise residential construction to reach 16 stories. However in order for developers to take advantage of the height incentive, they must also provide a certain percentage of affordable units in each residential development.

Denverite reported on the story, noting: “Under the rules, a residential high-rise near 38th and Blake might end up with roughly 6 to 10 percent of its units being affordable, according to city staff.  The rules for those taller buildings require five times more affordable housing than the city’s normal requirements.

The units must serve people making less than 80 percent of the area median income, or about $60,000 for a family of three — a level that some critics said wasn’t affordable enough, though housing vouchers can further drive down the cost. The units have to stay affordable for at least 20 years under citywide standards.”

While the bill is a step in the right direction for increasing affordable housing in rapidly growing unaffordable neighborhoods, some argued at City Council on Monday night that the incentive does not go far enough. Councilman Albus Brooks, one of the original advocates behind the bill, believes the height incentive will increase housing supply, and hopefully lower rental prices. Councilman Rafael Espinoza and Phil Kashmann both voted in favor, but agreed that more needs to be done in increasing Denver’s affordable housing supply.

To learn more about the passing of the 38th and Blake height amendment, check out the links here:


Denver Post

Denver City Council

A rendering of the Walnut Street Lofts at the corner of 38th and Walnut in the RiNo neighborhood.
A rendering of the Walnut Street Lofts at the corner of 38th and Walnut in the RiNo neighborhood.