ULC buys land in Elyria-Swansea



  • ULC buys six acres.
  • Affordable housing will be a part of mixed-use development on site.
  • ULC bought the land in Elyria-Swansea.


By John Rebchook

An aerial view of the 6-acre site acquired by ULC.

An aerial view of the 6-acre site acquired by ULC.

The Urban Land Conservancy paid $5.5 million for a six-acre site at East 48th Avenue and Race Street in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood in Denver.

The ULC plans to create a mixed-use development that will include affordable housing on the site. It is too early to say how many units the development would include, the square footage, other components, such as office or retail, or the number of jobs it would generate, according to a ULC spokeswoman.

The ULC made the purchase, the ULC’s second largest land acquisition, with support from the Denver Office of Economic Development.

It also was ULC’s second acquisition using the Calvert Foundation’s Facility Fund.

This innovative fund was created in 2014 through the Ours to Own initiative, a campaign that gives metro Denver residents the opportunity to invest in community projects for amounts as low as $20, while earning a return on their investment.

ULC worked in partnership with the City and County of Denver for the swift acquisition of this industrial site, with a goal of preserving and redeveloping the property for future community benefit that includes new businesses, jobs and affordable housing options.

The acquisition was in the wake of a recent housing task force, co-led by the OED and Denver City Councilwoman Judy Montero. The task force explored affordable housing options in the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods by identifying key acquisition sites for future development.

The 48th and Race Street acquisition is in advance of anticipated future market rate development forces, likely to be attracted to the area by the large scale National Western Center redevelopment and completion of the RTD North Metro Commuter rail line in 2018.

“ULC looks forward to working with the city of Denver, the community, and additional partner agencies to transform this industrial site into a vibrant neighborhood center,” stated ULC’s president and CEO Aaron Miripol.

“This future transit oriented community will require significant support for successful development to take place, and ULC is thrilled to be leading this substantial venture,” Miripol added.

Long-term affordable housing development within Elyria-Swansea is a key strategic initiative identified in the OED’s JumpStart 2015 strategic plan.

Earlier this spring, Denver City Council approved a $1.5 million OED loan to the ULC to help support the land acquisition.

“We’re thrilled to partner with ULC to help ensure that individuals at all levels will benefit from the future build-out of our mass transit system,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock.

“This community investment represents a pivotal first step to building an affordable transit-oriented development in Elyria-Swansea that will connect residents with jobs, options and opportunities throughout the city and region,” Hancock said.

The catalytic redevelopment of this industrial site, resulting in a new transit oriented community, fulfills the inspiring vision of the adopted 2015 Elyria and Swansea Neighborhood Plan.

ULC will work closely with many partners including:

  • The Denver Office of Economic Development;
  • North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative;
  • Colorado Housing and Finance Authority;
  • And the Denver Urban Renewal Authority;

“Partnerships are critical to successful housing and neighborhood development,” said Paul Washington, executive director of the Denver Office of Economic Development.

“We have a strong record of working with the ULC to acquire property around future rail lines for the development of affordable housing,” Washington continued.

“This project will build off the momentum of similar past projects along the east, west, southeast, and southwest rail lines,” Washington said.

The property requires rezoning to allow for the variety of future uses envisioned.

ULC plans to initiate a community engagement master site planning process for local resident and stakeholders.

ULC expects to identify a development partner in 2016 to finance and construct the first phase of the multi-year project.

Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com. InsideRealEstateNews.com is sponsored by 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.

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John Rebchook

John Rebchook has more than 30 years of experience in writing and communications. As the Real Estate Editor for the Rocky Mountain News, he wrote about residential and commercial real estate for 26 years. He has won numerous awards for business stories and columns that he wrote, both as an individual and part of teams. In addition to real estate, he also covered economic development, banking and financing, the airlines, and cable TV for the Rocky. In addition, he was one of the original freelance writers for GlobeSt.com, covering commercial real estate for the Internet publication.

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