About the Metro Denver Impact Facility
In partnership with FirstBank, The Colorado Health Foundation, The Colorado Trust, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, Gates Family Foundation, The Piton Foundation, and The Denver Foundation, Urban Land Conservancy launched the Metro Denver Impact Facility (MDIF) in 2018 to combat the increasing real estate affordability crisis in the Denver region. The revolving source of loan capital has grown to $52 million to support ULC’s creation and preservation of permanently affordable housing, nonprofit facilities, schools, and community-serving spaces across Metro Denver. To read the Denver Post’s coverage of the Metro Denver Impact Facility’s first acquisition, click here.
Proven History & Experience
ULC has a solid track record in creating, leveraging, and paying back revolving loan funds for affordable land investments. Prior to the MDIF, ULC’s investments through the $15 million 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.
FirstBank’s investment acts as senior debt and also manages MDIF locally by underwriting each deal and evaluating the need for additional project financing to address capital needs. ULC, as the sole borrower of MDIF, is responsible for creating a development plan and permanent financing structure. ULC also manages the disposition of acquired properties and, where feasible, retains ownership interest in the land as part of a Community Land Trust (CLT) through a 99-year ground lease. MDIF will be capitalized for ULC’s real estate acquisitions and will accommodate a range of investments – each with varying terms.
Acquisitions with the Metro Denver Impact Facility
ULC’s first acquisition with the Facility was the Harlan Nonprofit Center, a 29,000 square foot nonprofit serving building. The property is currently home to the headquarters of Lutheran Family Services of the Rocky Mountains (LFSRM), serving 30,000 people annually, a 25 year old dental practice and a law firm specializing in education and civil rights law. ULC purchased Harlan Nonprofit Center for $3.69 million. The building is located less than one-half mile from two high-frequency bus lines and one mile from the Belmar Shopping District. ULC made two additional acquisitions with the facility in 2018: South Platte Crossing in Commerce City and Inca Commons in Denver’s Santa Fe Arts District. South Platte Crossing is an 80,000 square foot office building that ULC acquired to preserve critical community serving office space to mission minded organizations and nonprofits. Inca Commons will support the future development of affordable for sale condominiums in partnership with Shanahan Development LLC and Elevation Community Land Trust (ECLT). ULC next acquired two adjacent properties in Westminster near the Westminster Station. The two properties total over six acres and will be developed to include affordable housing and community serving commerical and retail space.
Adam’s 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 1 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 s.f. located on the edge of the South Platte River. Jeff Shanahan, of Shanahan Development LLC, has proposed 49 permanently affordable residential condominium for-sale units with 3,800 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. Chestnut Lofts will allow families earning between 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 ground lease. Shanahan is working with Studio Completiva on the schematic design work of the development and plans to start construction on October 1, 2021.
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 s.f. 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 is a unique opportunity to create affordable homeownership
opportunities in Denver. ECLT purchased the land from ULC and has begun construction, which should be complete in mid-2021.
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.