$50 Million Metro Denver Impact Facility Launches to Create Affordable Housing

38th and Walnut
KEPHART designed Walnut Street Lofts, a permanently affordable housing development adjacent to the 38th and Blake RTD Station.

LAKEWOOD – In an effort to address metro Denver’s lack of affordable housing, FirstBank, Colorado Health Foundation (CHF), The Denver Foundation (TDF), Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) and local nonprofit Urban Land Conservancy (ULC), have launched the Metro Denver Impact Facility (MDIF). This revolving loan capital will grow to become a $50 million resource to support ULC’s real estate acquisitions to create and preserve the affordability of housing, nonprofit facilities, schools and community serving space across Metro Denver.

FirstBank has committed $25 million to the MDIF. CHF was the first lending partner, providing a $2 million program-related investment to support strategic acquisitions. In addition to TDF, additional low-interest capital has been committed from philanthropic and quasi-governmental lenders.

“FirstBank believes in doing what’s right for our communities and our customers. This is one of many reasons why we’re thrilled to launch the Metro Denver Impact Facility, and ensure residents, nonprofits and schools have access to affordable housing/facilities and no longer run the risk of being displaced,” said Amber Hills, president of FirstBank’s Lakewood Market. “We hope that FirstBank’s $25 million commitment will make a significant impact in providing affordable space throughout Metro Denver, which is critical to the health and vitality of local communities.”

ULC has utilized the newly created MDIF to acquire Harlan Nonprofit Center, a 29,000-square-foot nonprofit serving building. The property is currently home to the headquarters of Lutheran Family Services, serving 30,000 people annually, a 25 year old dental practice and a law firm specializing in education and civil rights law. The transit-accessible building was purchased for $3.69 million and is located at 363 S. Harlan Street in Lakewood, less than one-half mile from two high-frequency bus lines and one mile from the Belmar Shopping District and several area amenities.

“Families and our nonprofit partners are being pushed out of their communities or relocating due to the high costs of real estate. This is a health equity issue. To ensure people have what they need to be healthy, they need affordable and available space to live and work.” said Karen McNeil-Miller, president and CEO of the Colorado Health Foundation. “The Metro Denver Impact Facility will play a critical role in bringing health in reach for more Coloradans.”

“Rising real estate prices are causing real pain for many residents of the communities we work with. The Urban Land Conservancy has a strong track record of creating affordable opportunities for both residents and community-serving institutions in some of the neighborhoods where real estate pressures are the highest. By providing investment capital to the Metro Denver Impact Facility, we hope to lessen some of the displacement pressures faced by people in our region who experience the greatest barriers to economic opportunity and housing stability.” said Dace West, vice president of Community Impact, The Denver Foundation.

ULC’s investments in 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. The permanent affordability of these real estate developments significantly limited the displacement of local residents and nonprofits in Denver.

“MDIF is an excellent tool to further ULC’s mission of preserving, acquiring and developing real estate for long term community benefit,” said ULC’s president and CEO, Aaron Miripol. “The Denver region is no longer an equitable place to live and work, and our goal with this new resource is to stimulate additional local low cost investment to support more permanently affordable housing and nonprofit facility spaces, thereby creating opportunities for all residents to live, work and play in the communities of their choice.”

“Working together with partners to help address affordability issues is core to CHFA’s mission, and MDIF represents the kind of collaboration and innovation needed to strengthen communities. CHFA is proud to invest $2.5 million in capital for this new resource to support affordable housing and community development,” said Cris White, CHFA’s Executive Director and CEO. 

ULC has commitments from additional lending partners and is working to secure $20 million in MDIF loan capital in 2018 with plans to acquire two additional properties later this year. MDIF is expected to be fully capitalized at $50 million in 2020.


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