City Council moves toward extending funding for affordable, transit-oriented development

2 min. read
The Colburn Hotel and Charlie Brown’s in Capitol Hill, Aug. 14, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

UPDATE: In a unanimous vote on Dec. 23, Denver City Council approved this investment.

A City Council committee wants Denver to maintain its investment in a loan fund that helps secure land and property for below-market-rate housing near train stations and along busy bus routes.

The city helped start the Denver TOD Fund with a $2.5 million investment in 2010. The fund is currently set to expire at the end of this month. In a vote Wednesday, the Safety, Housing, Education & Homelessness Committee forwarded to the full council a request from the housing department to extend Denver's investment another 10 years. The full City Council is expected to consider the proposal on Dec. 23.

Borrowers that have included local housing authorities can tap into the TOD -- transit-oriented development -- fund if they agree to build or preserve housing within reach of households earning no more than 80 percent of the area median income, currently $74,250 a year for a family of four.

The city's initial investment came from federal Community Development Block Grant funds. Other investors include the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, the state Division of Housing and affordable housing nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners. The latter's Enterprise Community Loan Fund Inc. manages the fund.

In 2014, the fund was expanded to cover the region and grew to $24 million. Over its first decade, the fund has made 17 loans, 14 in Denver, all of which have been repaid. The loans provided a total of $34 million in financing for 1,450 housing units, including 996 in Denver. Denver city funds are used only for projects within Denver.

Among projects that have benefited from the fund is the conversion of the Colburn, an old single-room-occupancy hotel in Capitol Hill, into efficiency apartments.

The full City Council voted unanimously to approve the investment on Dec. 23.

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