Community Land Trust Model (CLT)
ULC uses a unique community land trust model to accomplish the following:
We acquire properties in the Metro Denver area and throughout Colorado utilizing dedicated low-interest funding sources. We also accept donated property. See our Property Portfolio.
We hold land in our community land trust under 99-year ground leases to ensure permanent affordability and to preserve for optimal community benefit.
We work with a wide array of community development partners to provide needed community assets such as schools, affordable housing, community centers, and nonprofit facility space.
ULC recognizes that creating affordable space alone is not enough. This is why we focus on the development of permanently affordable space, ranging from early childhood education centers to multifamily affordable housing developments, through the community land trust (CLT) model. ULC’s unique CLT means we own the land under a 99-year ground lease to ensure the space is used for community benefit regardless of circumstance.
Dedicated Low-Interest Funding Sources for Property Acquisition
Proven History & Experience
ULC has a solid track record in creating, leveraging, and paying back revolving loan funds for affordable land investments. ULC’s investments through the $15 million Denver Regional Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Fund and the $10 million Calvert Facility Fund resulted in 12 acquisitions that preserved and created hundreds of units of affordable rental housing and hundreds of thousands of square feet of affordable commercial space throughout Metro Denver.
Metro Denver Impact Facility (MDIF)
Metro Denver Impact Facility (MDIF) is the financial cornerstone for ULC’s successful real estate acquisitions.
Launched in 2018 in partnership with FirstBank, MDIF’s focus is to combat the real estate affordability crisis in the Denver region. The revolving source of low-cost, patient loan capital has grown to $75 million to support ULC’s creation and preservation of permanently affordable housing, nonprofit facilities, schools, and community-serving spaces across Metro Denver.
FirstBank has committed $37.5 million to the Facility. Other lending partners in MDIF are Colorado Division of Housing, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, Colorado Health Foundation, Gates Family Foundation, Colorado Trust, and Piton Foundation.
How MDIF Works
MDIF is a revolving loan facility with ULC as the sole borrower. FirstBank’s loan acts as Senior Debt, and the bank underwrites each acquisition for all of the MDIF lenders. ULC manages the development plan, permanent financing structure and disposition of acquired properties. Where feasible, ULC retains ownership interest in the land as part of a Community Land Trust (CLT) through a 99-year ground lease.
Proven History & Experience
ULC has a strong track record in creating, leveraging, and paying back revolving loan funds for affordable real estate investments. Prior to MDIF, ULC’s acquisitions through the $15 million Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Fund and the $10 million Calvert Facility Fund resulted in 12 purchases that preserved and created over 500 permanently affordable rental homes and more than 400,000 sq.ft. affordable commercial space throughout Metro Denver.
Learn more about the 14 properties ULC has invested in with MDIF.
Denver Regional TOD Fund
ULC, Enterprise Community Partners, and the City and County of Denver partnered to establish the nation’s first Transit Oriented Development Fund. The revolving loan fund makes capital available to acquire and hold land for the development or preservation of affordable housing for up to five years along current and proposed transit corridors. ULC made the initial equity commitment of $1.5 million to the TOD Fund and led real estate acquisition, management, and disposition of the assets at the Fund’s onset. ULC has invested in eight properties through the TOD fund.
Calvert Facility Fund
Under the name Ours to Own, the Calvert Impact Fund focused on preserving real estate in urban centers for schools, community spaces, and affordable commercial space for nonprofits. $5.1 million was raised from hundreds of individual investors in the Denver region in the first two years of Ours to Own. In addition to small individual investments, the Fund received investment from the Piton Foundation, Gary Community Investments, Colorado Health Foundation, The Colorado Trust, and The Denver Foundation. In 2014, ULC partnered with Calvert Impact Capital to deploy $10 million of the low-interest source of capital fund towards the purchase of three real-estate assets that support over 20 nonprofit organizations.
Grants & Government Funding
In addition to use MDIF, ULC pursues grant funding from philanthropic organizations and grants and loans from state and local government agencies.
For example, grant funding was important in the purchase of the Mosaic Community Campus. Philanthropic organizations that made grants to ULC included the Anschutz Foundation, Gary Community Investments and Gates Family Foundation.
There are also often government grant and loan programs that support ULC’s work. Since 2020, the State of Colorado and local governments have had a substantial amount of federal dollars they are responsible for distributing in addition to their own dollars. ULC developments that have benefitted from these dollars include Mosaic Community Campus, Cole Train in Denver’s Cole Neighborhood and SunDec in Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood where they are being used to install a solar array.