Blake Street TOD was first purchased by Urban Land Conservancy in November of 2011, for $1.7 million. This was our sixth acquisition using the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Fund, a fund dedicated towards supporting, preserving and creating over 1,000 units of affordable housing near current or future transit corridors.
Strategically, Blake Street TOD was purchased because of the immediate access to the future University of Colorado A-Line Commuter Rail. As the first stop after trains depart Union Station, the Blake Street site is located on the now fully operational A-Line to Denver International Airport. While ULC and development partner Medici Development Group (MDG) and Denver Housing Authority (DHA) continue to work on funding after two unsuccessful tax credit applications, we wanted to provide a timeline outlining Blake Street TOD’s progress through the years. Stay tuned for developing plans over the course of 2017!
As ULC finished completing demolition and neighborhood engagement with local businesses in 2012, it was time to move plans forward and choose a development partner. In the final quarter of 2013, ULC announced MDG and DHA as joint development partners for the site. After successfully partnering with MDG on the award winning Evan Station Lofts in 2013, ULC began preparing design concepts for a mixed-use development.
After completing two phases of environmental studies and all necessary due diligence, ULC acquired the site at the corner of 38th and Blake Street using the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) fund in November.
In April and May of 2012, ULC completed the demolition of existing structures on the property.
In late 2012, Housing Colorado and the University of Colorado College of Architecture and Planning held a Design by Communities Design Charrette focused on affordable housing. The design workshop allowed for non-profit housing developers like ULC to benefit from pro bono services from industry professionals. This offered ULC the chance to work directly with finance, development, design and construction professionals to collaboratively design the Blake Street TOD site. ULC was then chosen as the winner of the Housing Now! conference design charrette.
MDG submitted an application for 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to CHFA during the second quarter of 2015. The project was not awarded the tax credits.
After a second unsuccessful attempt for LIHTC (this time we submitted an application to CHFA for 4% tax credits), ULC went back to the drawing board. We are currently in the process of exploring options to divide the site between affordable and market-rate components. ULC was successful in obtaining a 16-story height amendment from Denver City Council, which expands the opportunities for affordable housing options at the site.