LAND BANKING

When land is expensive, it is often unfeasible to use for community-oriented facilities such as libraries, schools or nonprofit office space. ULC land banks parcels of land in Metro Denver to preserve the affordability of future developments for long term community benefit.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Certain challenging community projects — such as redeveloping a brownfield into an environmentally and socially responsible community — require more capital, resources, and coordination than any single organization or entity may possess. ULC provides expertise and resources to community partners and facilitates the community development process.

PRESERVATION

ULC preserves both commercial and residential buildings to promote long term affordability in an increasingly unaffordable city. Through the preservation of these spaces, nonprofits and residents can continue to rent affordably and remain in their communities.

ULC will continue to play a unique and important real estate role on behalf of the community by acquiring, developing and preserving physical assets that are essential in meeting critical community needs especially in high poverty, low-income, underserved, at-risk communities.

We are in the community building business.

STRATEGIC PLAN

Community Focus

Real Estate is a powerful resource in the creation of equitable communities. ULC’s work in the next three years will be guided by objectives in the following five focus areas:

Focus Area 1: Real Estate Services

ULC purchases land and buildings to develop affordable, transit-accessible rental housing options and provide below-market commercial space to nonprofits and small businesses so that they can dedicate more of their resources toward programming and services.

Focus Area 2: Geographies

ULC will invest in communities where real estate unaffordability has created or will create involuntary displacement, with a focus on transit access with surrounding infrastructure that is safe for pedestrians, bicycles and individuals with physical challenges. ULC will invest in neighborhoods where real estate unaffordability has created or will create involuntary displacement.

Focus Area 3: Partnerships

ULC will foster and grow strategic partnerships to increase impact through acquisition, community engagement, financing, development and property management.

Focus Area 4: Financial Sustainability

ULC will project, plan and monitor cash flow to ensure sufficient resources to meet obligations, support internal growth and provide reserves for unanticipated needs.

Focus Area 5: Policy, Convening and Advocacy

ULC will continue its role in policy and advocacy related to current real estate investments, investment geography and/or general policies that could alter the ability to create and preserve real estate for community benefit.

Focus Area Objectives

Focus Area 1: Real Estate Services

  • Transit Oriented Development prioritized, with vacant land not to exceed 35% of total real estate assets.
  • Commit to operational and energy efficiency, reducing overall energy use by 10% in operating properties and including net zero building practices in new developments.
  • Commence development of 600 units of affordable rental/for-sale housing.
  • Support at least 100 nonprofits, mission minded organizations and small businesses with affordable space.
  • Double the number of properties currently held in a 99-year land lease as part of ULC’s community land trust including multi-family affordable rental developments, schools, commercial buildings for nonprofits, community facilities and retail space for small businesses.
  • Support Elevation Community Land Trust’s growth and independence.

Focus Area 2: Geographies

  • Focus on investments along the East Colfax corridor in both Denver and Aurora.
  • Expand to Fort Collins and new municipalities only when there is local community and financial support.
  • Be opportunistic in considering investments in existing locales. (Denver, Aurora, Lakewood, Westminster and Commerce City and the counties of Arapahoe, Adams and Jefferson)

Focus Area 3: Partnerships

  • Define and formalize partnerships with Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), hold each partner accountable to succeed in shared goals.
  • Perform candid and consistent assessments of partnerships as they relate to project goals, and seek constructive feedback.
  • Share up front risk whenever possible to maximize available resources.
  • Identify additional resources for acquisitions and developments through municipal partnerships.
  • Support goals related to environmental responsibility through new and existing partners.
  • Actively engage with communities in which we operate to ensure that stakeholders’ voices are meaningfully incorporated into our work.

Focus Area 4: Financial Sustainability

  • Comply with financial covenants and requirements set forth by lenders, ULC Finance Committee and Board of Directors including a minimum $3 million liquidity threshold, $20 million minimum in net assets and a minimum of 3 months of operational reserves outside of the cash requirement.
  • Target a portfolio average return on cash investment of 5%.
  • Increase the financial efficiency of our portfolio, with strategically planned exits from underperforming assets.
  • Create and utilize new sources of low-interest capital for acquisition and capital projects to generate growth in total assets and people served.
  • The Board of Directors and ULC staff will vet each real estate opportunity through a detailed analysis in order to understand both the short and long-term financial risks and benefits.

Focus Area 5: Policy, Convening and Advocacy

  • Act as a resource to others in intersecting fields to share in advocacy efforts at the project specific level in addition to local, state and federal policy.
  • Convene stakeholders, build networks and participate in coalitions to create and affect policy that supports the organization’s mission.