Neighborhood Focus: Cole
Cole Neighborhood Update
Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) works to help make affordable real estate options available for the Denver Metro community and surrounding areas. We acquire, develop, and preserve physical assets and partner with neighborhoods to help meet their critical community needs. One of the many neighborhoods ULC is proud to work with is Cole. Located in Northeast Denver, the Cole neighborhood has rich history, diverse residents, and many community assets. The following are some of the outcomes of ULC’s efforts in Cole.
Tramway Nonprofit Center and Cole Train Redevelopment
In 2007, ULC acquired the Tramway Nonprofit Center, located in the heart of the Cole Neighborhood. Formally known as the Phillips Center, the multi-generational building dates back to the 1890’s as a former trolley maintenance center.
ULC redeveloped the building, creating a space for nonprofits to rent at below-market rates. ULC has also invested over $3 million into the building to increase safety and energy efficiency, including the placement of a large solar array on the roof to offset electricity costs. Over 15 mission-driven organizations are now housed in Tramway, providing critical services to the Cole Neighborhood and community at large.
In 2017, ULC demolished the long vacant warehouse adjacent to Tramway with the intention of creating a development site for future affordable housing. ULC is now partnering with a development team to make this dream a reality, and is optimistic construction will begin in late 2021. Preliminary development plans include permanently affordable for-sale housing and ground floor community serving space, in an effort to help combat displacement of long-time Cole neighborhood residents. ULC will be sharing more details in the near future.
Blake Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), Beloved Community, and Walnut Street Lofts
ULC purchased the property at 38th and Blake in the Cole Neighborhood in 2011 due to its proximity to the future Blake Station on RTD’s A-Line Commuter Rail. After rehabilitating the land, ULC sought a development partner to construct permanently affordable housing.
Rather than letting the land sit vacant while identifying a development partner and applying for Low Income Housing Tax Credits, ULC partnered with an amazing organization, Beloved Community, to pilot the first tiny home village in the state. Opened in July 2017, the Beloved Community Tiny Home Village was created as an innovative approach to house those experiencing homelessness. The village originally consisted of 11 sleeping units, a shared bathing facility and a community gathering space. Beloved Community leased the land for $1 per month until the village moved to its new location in Globeville in 2019. The tiny home village has been an extremely successful transitional housing model.
In 2017, ULC announced its partnership with Medici Consulting Group to construct 66 units of permanently affordable housing at the corner of 38th and Blake. The apartments will support households earning between 30-60% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Construction broke ground in March of 2019, and the apartments are scheduled to open in July of 2020. The apartments will also be a part of ULC’s Community Land Trust to ensure they remain affordable in perpetuity. We will continue to update the community with timely news regarding the Walnut Street Lofts.