Two New Affordable Housing Projects Honor African American Legacies

A rendering of The Burrell, courtesy of Studio Completiva.

Elevation Community Land Trust (ECLT) and partners have proudly announced the unveiling of two transformative developments this month, The Burrell and BirdWhistle, both named after prominent Colorado African American figures. These developments not only offer affordable homeownership opportunities but also pay homage to individuals who overcame historical barriers to housing and contributed significantly to their communities.

The Burrell, nestled in Denver’s vibrant Five Points neighborhood, offers affordable luxury living with one-, two-, and three-bedroom condos starting at $205,000. Named in honor of Charles Burrell, the legendary musician and the first African-American member of a major American symphony, these condos pay tribute to his enduring legacy. From his roots in Toledo, Ohio, to his pivotal role in shaping Denver’s jazz scene in Five Points, Burrell’s influence resonates throughout the city. Mentoring icons like Ray Brown and Dianne Reeves and playing alongside legends including Billie Holiday, his dedication to music and community continues to inspire. Now, with The Burrell available for sale, providing affordable homeownership opportunities to neighbors in his beloved Five Points. A seven-story metalwork mural of Burrell will adorn the building and overlook the bustling creative district, holding his standing bass and signature cigar. ECLT partnered with Invalesco Real Estate, Brinkmann Constructors and Studio Completiva on this project.

In Fort Collins, the Birdwhistle development comprises 54 permanently affordable townhomes, reflecting the pioneering spirit of Charles and Mamie Birdwhistle. Despite facing systemic barriers, the Birdwhistles created a welcoming haven for Black travelers and scholars in Northern Colorado, emphasizing the importance of community and hospitality. Homes at Birdwhistle are now available for sale, with 2-bedroom units priced at $255,000 and 3-bedroom units at $290,000. Charles Birdwhistle, a distinguished figure in American history, exemplified resilience and service from a young age. Enlisting in the Spanish-American War at just 17, he fought alongside the Buffalo Soldiers and later served in the Philippines. Settling in Fort Collins after military service, Charles became a pillar of the community, known for his leadership, entrepreneurship, and hospitality. Together with his wife Mamie, they created a vibrant home that welcomed visitors from all walks of life, leaving an indelible mark on the city’s history.

Stefka Fanchi, president and CEO of ECLT, remarked, “The Burrell and Birdwhistle developments embody our commitment to equitable housing and inclusive communities. By honoring the legacies of individuals like Charles Burrell and Charles and Mamie Birdwhistle, we strive to create spaces where all individuals can thrive and belong, especially those who have historically experienced barriers to homeownership, or who have been displaced from these communities.”

In Colorado and nationally, Black household wealth is less than a third of comparable white households, a fact that can be traced directly to a lack of access to homeownership and intergenerational wealth. Additionally, Black residents have been disproportionately affected by the displacement created by the gentrification of neighborhoods like Five Points.

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