Affordable Housing Project Breaks Ground in Denver’s Trendy Arts District
DENVER – Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) and developer Medici Consulting Group (MCG) recently broke ground on Walnut Street Lofts, a permanently affordable housing development adjacent to the 38th and Blake Station on RTD’s A Line Commuter Rail. In an effort to increase long term affordability, the land will join ULC’s growing Community Land Trust (CLT), ensuring the 66 units of housing remains permanently affordable through a 99-year renewable ground lease.
“Walnut Street Lofts is an ideal example of our goal to design well-designed, quality housing in a transit accessible area for the long term benefit of our future residents,” said Troy Gladwell, MCG’s president and founder. “Our team recognizes the critical importance of affordability in this neighborhood, and we want our residents to not only afford their home but be a very proud resident of their beautiful apartment.”
BC Builders is the GC for the project and Kephart is the architect.
The Metro Denver region currently suffers from a deficit of more than 100,000 affordable homes. In an effort to combat the growing need of affordable units, the City and County of Denver recently doubled its Affordable Housing Fund to $30 million annually, which will produce a $105 million funding surge in upfront funding to help create, preserve or acquire land for more than 6,000 units over the next five years. Denver Economic Development & Opportunity (DEDO) awarded Walnut Street Lofts $1,350,000 from the Affordable Housing Fund, a critical investment in the successful development of these 66 units.
“Walnut Streets Loft will be a triple win for our community and hard-working families, offering affordable apartments, permanent affordability and the connections to services, jobs, education and more through direct, convenient transit access,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “As the 38th and Blake Station takes shape as a prime example of transit oriented development, today’s groundbreaking will help to ensure that the residents here continue to have access to the equity and opportunity they need and deserve.”
Walnut Street Lofts will serve residents making between 30-60 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) with rents ranging from approximately $400 for a one-bedroom to $1,200 for a three-bedroom. The affordability of the development is largely due to the incorporation of a CLT, with ULC executing a 99-year ground lease with MCG. The current land value in this area makes affordable housing development cost prohibitive; ULC’s CLT creates a feasible option for affordable development as MCG did not have to incur the expense of buying land.
“Building an inclusive city requires building housing for all, which can be a challenge,” said Councilman Albus Brooks, City of Denver District 9. “The Walnut Street Lofts is a model for future development, and should stir the hearts of urbanists everywhere: permanent affordable housing adjacent to transit, beautifully designed and well-managed. I’m proud to have the Urban Land Conservancy and Medici Consulting Group hard at work in District 9.”
Walnut Street Lofts is one of the first projects to be approved to receive funding from CHFA’s Capital Magnet Fund created in 2018 by receiving a $600,000 loan, and a $150,000 grant. In total, Walnut Street Lofts is estimated to be an $18.8 million development with additional support coming from the Denver Affordable Housing Fund and the State Division of Housing.
“CHFA appreciates the collaboration among partners and their dedication to creating affordable housing,” said Cris White, CHFA’s executive director and CEO. “In alignment with our mission of strengthening Colorado by investing in affordable housing and community development, Walnut Street Lofts will provide an immediate benefit to the community, providing local residents both affordable housing and transit accessibility.”
The project is scheduled for completion in spring 2020.
Rendering courtesy of ULC