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 through a 99-year land lease.
- FirstBank invests $37.5M (senior debt) at 4.25%, manages the fund locally and underwrites each deal, also evaluating the need for additional project financing to address capital needs.
- ULC contributes up to 10% cash equity for each property acquired and is responsible for putting together development plan and permanent financing.
- Unsecured debt is invested at a rate of 0% to 1%.
- Foundation/philanthropic, typically lent via program related investments (PRI capital) seeking modest financial returns of .05% to 2%.
Benefits of Funding Structure:
- Loan terms are up to ten years (with no purchases after year eight)
- Up to 90% loan-to-value ratio
- Interest-only at low, blended interest rate — fixed at 3%
Proven History & Experience
ULC has a strong track record of 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. of affordable commercial space throughout metro Denver.
MDIF Funded Properties
Adams Tower and South Platte Crossing in Commerce City
MDIF Investment: $4.4 million
Nonprofit Office Preservation/Development Opportunity
Impact: When fully leased, the office building will support more than 300 jobs, with one acre of land creating a development opportunity for permanently affordable housing. The property is located directly adjacent to the 72nd and Colorado Boulevard Station on RTD’s N Line commuter rail.
Chestnut Lofts in Denver’s Five Points Neighborhood
MDIF Investment: $830,000
Permanently Affordable For-Sale Housing
Impact: The site is approximately 6,800 square feet located on the edge of the South Platte River. Jeff Shanahan of Shanahan Development LLC has proposed 49 permanently affordable for-sale residential condos with 3,800 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. Chestnut Lofts will allow families earning 63%-80% AMI, an opportunity for homeownership in the rising Denver housing market. Elevation Community Land Trust will hold ownership of the land in a 99-year land lease. Shanahan is working with Studio Completiva on the schematic design work of the development and plans to start construction on October 1, 2021.
ColfaxLab for Social Good in Aurora’s East Colfax Neighborhood
MDIF Investment: $3.1 million
Commercial space for nonprofits & future affordable housing
Impact: ULC purchased the former Citywide Banks Building in late 2021. The three-story office building sits on 1.77 acres of developed land and improvements, including a 24,228 sq. ft. office/retail building, 120 surface parking spaces, and a 1,456 sq. ft. building that includes an eight-lane bank drive-thru. In collaboration with the Fax Partnership, ULC has helped create a community-driven steering committee to guide the redevelopment process. The large building is serving as a community-serving space for nonprofits. The parking area will be redeveloped into permanently affordable housing.
Harlan Nonprofit Center East and West in Lakewood
MDIF Investment: East: $3.9 million, West: $3.2 million
Preservation of Nonprofit Commercial Space
Impact: The Harlan Nonprofit Center is comprised of two buildings that were purchased separately:
Harlan East: This transit-accessible building supports 60 jobs and serves thousands of low-income metro Denver residents and refugees. It is the regional headquarters for Lutheran Family Services.
Harlan West: This 26,000-sq.ft. office building is home to Easterseals and other community-serving organizations. This preservation of commercial space keeps programs in place that support various populations with disabilities.
Hudson at the Holly in Denver’s Northeast Park Hill Neighborhood
MDIF Investment: $3.8 million
Impact: This site is part of a larger redevelopment of the former Holly Shopping Center in Denver’s Northeast Park Hill neighborhood. Initially, the site was developed to house an elementary charter school after extensive community engagement and guidance from the Holly
Area Redevelopment Project (HARP) Vision Plan. The land is also held in ULC’s 99-year ground lease. After the school closed in 2019, ULC purchased the building, leased the space to The Center for African American Health, which then purchased the building from ULC in June 2021.
Johnson & Wales University Denver Campus – Denver’s Park Hill Neighborhood
MDIF Investment: $21.2 million
Preservation of Education, Future Affordable Housing, and Community Serving Space
Impact: ULC acquired the 25-acre Park Hill Campus in June 2021 with plans to preserve the unique and historic character of the campus for multicultural and multigenerational uses, including high-quality K-12 education, permanently affordable housing for seniors and college students, culinary arts training, and shared spaces for the community. Our goals also include cost-saving net-zero energy upgrades that will reduce the carbon footprint of the campus. ULC will own the East Campus in our Community Land Trust, ensuring its affordability in perpetuity, and have secured agreements with The Kitchen Network (BuCu West), St. Elizabeth’s School, and Archway Communities to lease and/or purchase buildings on the East Campus. DPS purchased the West Campus for the expansion of Denver School of the Arts, and Denver Housing Authority purchased the South Campus for affordable senior housing.
La Tela in Denver’s Santa Fe Arts District
MDIF Investment: $1.8 million
Land Acquisition for Permanently Affordable For-Sale Housing
Impact: ULC purchased this land for the development of 92 permanently affordable for-sale condos in partnership with Elevation Community Land Trust (ECLT). Located along a high-frequency bus route, this land was a unique opportunity to create affordable homeownership opportunities in Denver. ECLT purchased the land from ULC.
Loretto Heights in Denver’s Harvey Park Neighborhood
MDIF Investment: $3.35 million
Building acquisition for future development of a community center
Impact: ULC purchased Machebeuf Hall and the Arts Building on the Loretto Heights campus in October 2022. Commún, a nonprofit on Denver’s west side that helps build community resilience through relationships and programs that center community voice, cultivate a sense of belonging, and realize equity, will be the primary tenant on-site. Commún’s goal is to turn Machebeuf Hall into a community center that will serve residents of Southwest Denver.
Re:Vision in Denver’s Westwood Neighborhood
MDIF Investment: $1.6 million
Land acquisition for community serving space
Impact: In April of 2022, ULC and Re:Vision, a Westwood neighborhood-focused nonprofit, entered into a partnership. ULC has a 99-year land lease on the 1.7-acre site where Re:Vision is located, while Re:Vision maintains ownership of the buildings and improvements, in addition to leasing 10,000 sq. ft. for some of their urban gardens. The partnership contributes to Re:Vision’s financial security and enables their site to remain affordable in the long-term. Both ULC and Re:Vision view one acre of undeveloped land on the site as a mixed-use redevelopment opportunity for affordable housing.
Umatilla/TACT Warehouse in Englewood
MDIF Investment: $2.8 million
Land Acquisition to provide space for Teaching the Autism Community Trades (TACT)
Impact: Urban Land Conservancy purchased this warehouse in Englewood, Colorado in 2022 to benefit TACT, a local organization whose mission is to empower young people with autism by teaching trade skills. TACT remodeled the warehouse and opened the new space for use in January, 2023.
Westminster TOD I and TOD II in Westminster
MDIF Investment: TOD 1: $1.7 million, TOD II: $4.3 million
Future Affordable Housing/Community Development Opportunity
Impact: The site is located two blocks from a Commuter Rail Station and is part of a land assemblage that will be a multi-phased master site development, totaling 5.5 acres. ULC plans to house a nonprofit in the existing building as development partners are identified. Future development will include permanently affordable housing as well as other community beneficial uses immediately accessible by transit.
48th and Race TOD in Denver’s Elyria-Swansea Neighborhood
MDIF Investment: $5.4 million
Nonprofit Office Preservation/Permanently Affordable Housing
Impact: The transit-oriented development (TOD) is located two blocks from RTD’s 48th & Brighton commuter rail station on the North Line which opens in September 2021. It will provide 150 units of both permanently affordable and market-rate housing options, as well as over 45,000 s.f. of community-serving commercial space in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood. It will also be the new home of Clinica Tepeyac, a 25-year-old nonprofit health clinic providing culturally competent care and preventative health services to the medically underserved. Race TOD will more than quadruple the supply of permanently affordable housing in the area.