ULC Acquires Land for Affordable For-Sale Condo Development

Industrial property at 801 W 6th Ave, Denver, courtesy of LoopNet.

DENVER – In partnership with Shanahan Development LLC and Elevation Community Land Trust (ECLT), Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) purchased an 18,000-square-foot site located at 801 W. 6th Avenue in Denver’s Santa Fe Arts District for the development of affordable for-sale homes. The $1.8 million acquisition will support a mixed-use development, with commercial space and 92 for-sale condominiums, with at least 86 permanently affordable units for households earning $40,000 to $72,000 in annual income.

“The lack of affordable for-sale homes in the Metro Denver region is a significant problem,” said Mark Marshall, director of Real Estate for Urban Land Conservancy and lead on the acquisition. “In order to provide working families and individuals with permanently affordable for-sale options we need creative opportunities like Inca Commons. ULC is thrilled to be working with Elevation and Shanahan Development who is leading this effort to create affordable housing options for our city’s workforce.”

Inca Commons will be developed by Shanahan Development, who identified the centrally located site for a mixed-use affordable development. Coming from a family of educators, President Jeff Shanahan has seen first-hand how challenging it is to purchase an affordable home in the Denver region. This new development will serve as an example of how to provide homeownership opportunities for individuals and families who face too many barriers in the current housing market.

“We recognize the critical need for affordable housing across the Greater Denver region,” said Jeff Shanahan, President & CEO of Shanahan Development. “It has been our ultimate goal to provide affordable for-sale housing opportunities in a centrally located area, and we are excited to see this development finally come to fruition thanks to our partnership with ULC and Elevation.”

Inca Commons will provide homes for individuals and families earning up to 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) and will include studios, two- and three-bedroom units as well as 4,000 square feet of commercial space.

“Given the shortage of condo development over the past decade, it’s especially exciting to see a project of this scale, with long-term affordability as a prime focus, anchoring in central Denver,” said OED Executive Director Eric Hiraga. “Additional affordable home ownership opportunities are critically important, and we look forward to Inca Commons taking shape in Lincoln Park.”

ECLT provided significant equity into the project to subsidize the price of the 86 affordable condominiums with price points below $200,000. Once the homes are developed and sold, ECLT will take on the ownership and stewardship of the land in a 99 year ground lease. The homes will be part of ECLT’s community land trust and remain permanently affordable for future buyers as the homes are sold and purchased.

“Elevation was created to increase the supply of permanently affordable for-sale housing across the Metro Denver region,” said Stefka Fanchi, President & CEO of Elevation Community Land Trust. “This is an incredible example of the strength behind partnership. Together with Urban Land Conservancy and Shanahan Development, we are creating a much needed affordable housing option for people looking to enter into homeownership.”

Inca Commons is ULC’s third acquisition using the newly created Metro Denver Impact Facility (MDIF). The revolving source of loan capital was created in 2018 in partnership with FirstBank, the Colorado Health Foundation, The Denver Foundation, The Colorado Trust and Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA). MDIF will grow to become a $50 million resource to support ULC’s real estate acquisitions to create and preserve the affordability of housing, community serving space, schools and nonprofit facilities.

“Increasing affordable housing options is one of the most impactful things we can do as a society to help all Coloradans thrive,” said Stu Wright, executive vice president at FirstBank. “As the state’s largest locally owned bank, we feel it’s our responsibility to help make the American Dream of owning a house more reachable for residents, regardless of income. We’re thrilled to see our investment towards the MDIF start to do just that, and address the growing housing crisis head on. The Inca Commons development represents more than just enabling low-to-moderate income individuals to buy a home; it’s a path towards financial freedom for dozens of local families.”

“The Colorado Trust believes all Coloradans should have equal opportunities to lead healthy lives, regardless of their income,” said Deb DeMuth, executive vice president and chief financial officer at The Colorado Trust. “Access to stable, affordable housing is closely tied to health outcomes, so we believe Inca Commons can ultimately increase the well-being of many Denver residents.”

Inca Commons is expected to break ground in the third quarter of 2019, with units expected to be available for purchase in late 2020.


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