STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK MISSION – Urban Land Conservancy’s mission is to intervene in the real estate marketplace in underserved, at-risk neighborhoods to acquire, develop and preserve physical assets that would be lost to the market or otherwise not be available.
Listed below are examples of ULC’s accomplishments during our three year strategic framework period. To see our full impact, check our website in January for a detailed look back on our 2017-2019 Strategic Framework.
KEY ROLES – ULC’s organizational efforts and resources were focused on creative investing in community real estate, master developing properties in low-income neighborhoods along transit, and stewarding permanently affordable housing and nonprofit facilities through our Community Land Trust (CLT).
In 2018, ULC accepted a real estate donation, the Excelsior Campus, in partnership with Family Tree. Now Oxford Vista, the 31-acre campus continues to benefit community as the regional headquarters of AmeriCorps. ULC invested $3.5 million into energy efficiency, reducing the burden on the neighborhood grid and creating 13 net zero buildings through the development of a 500,000 kWh solar array and geothermal system.
ULC helped launch and incubate Elevation Community Land Trust (ECLT), which has successfully formalized partnerships with several municipalities to create permanently affordable homeownership opportunities for households earning below 80% of Area Median Income (for example a family of one at 80% AMI is $52,000, and a family of four is $74,250). Over the next five years, Elevation is poised to create home-ownership opportunities for more than 700 Colorado families.
COMMUNITY FOCUS – ULC’s strategic goals for acquisitions and ongoing activities through development met compelling needs, acted as a catalyst for a broader or longer-term impact, and acted as a steward of those physical assets for future benefit of these top priority underserved neighborhoods including North and Northeast Denver, West Denver (Villa Park & Westwood) and Lakewood (Eiber Neighborhood), and Commerce City and Original Aurora.
In 2018 and 2019, ULC acquired three office buildings in Lakewood to preserve critical affordable office space for nonprofits. Adam’s Tower and Harlan Nonprofit Center East and West are prime examples of how ULC’s preservation of commercial space creates stability and long term affordability. Service providing organizations like Lutheran Family Services and Easterseals Colorado, the two buildings’ anchor tenants, can focus on positively impacting thousands of individuals without facing the threat of displacement.
TOP PRIORITIES – Affordable housing, transit-oriented development, and facilities that house nonprofit organizations that provide a range of services to meet community needs and often act as a stabilizing center of activity for a neighborhood, will continue to be top priorities for ULC in the coming years.
Look to our Newsletter in January to hear more about our 2020-2022 Strategic Plans.
PARTNERSHIPS – ULC’s work continued to depend on strong partners. As local governments, foundations, and community organizations change and evolve, ULC will continue to create new strong partnerships.
ULC strengthened both new and old relationships to support the creation of Colorado’s first Tiny Home Village to support individuals experiencing homelessness. Beloved Community resided on ULC land for two years after municipal policy changes occurred to allow this beneficial use. Today, Beloved Community has almost doubled in size following their successful move to a new site in Denver’s Globeville neighborhood that will provide additional long-term stability.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT – Optimizing our relationships with the cities of Denver, Aurora, Commerce City and Lakewood, grassroots community organizations, regional housing authorities, philanthropic institutions and foundations are essential to enabling ULC to accomplish its goals.
ULC’s Managers of Neighborhood Relations provided the organization with a comprehensive understanding of needs and issues in the neighborhoods we serve as well as working to establish relationships in neighborhoods we work in.
FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY – ULC has made it a top priority to build a more sustainable financial model to ensure financial stability over the long term. Fundamental to achieving financial sustainability is sound fiduciary decision making and identifying and growing revenue streams. Current growth is dependent on identifying funding support (often new debt) to support each project.
ULC has a proven track record of creating, fully spending and fully paying back revolving loan resources for the purpose of stewarding and developing beneficial real estate. ULC has deployed $45 million in impact investments using three loan facilities to foster equitable growth since 2010. Our investments in the $15 million Denver Transit-Oriented Development Fund, the $10 million Calvert Facility Fund, and the $50 million Metro Denver Impact Facility (MDIF) have resulted in 18 acquisitions to date:
- Preserving 215,000 square feet of commercial space and 52 units of affordable housing
- Developing 150,000 square feet of commercial space and 550 units of affordable housing
- Creating a pipeline for 250,000 square feet of commercial space and 1000+ permanently affordable apartments
The Metro Denver Impact Facility (MDIF) is a revolving source of loan capital in partnership with FirstBank, The Colorado Health Foundation, The Denver Foundation, The Colorado Trust, The Piton Foundation, and Colorado Housing and Finance Authority. MDIF has proven to be a nationally recognized success, with six acquisitions completed in the first 12 months in four municipalities across the Metro Denver region. FirstBank committed $25 million in loan capital; and six junior lending partners have committed a total of $15.25 million to date. ULC is currently seeking an additional $9.75 million