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CHFA invests $2.36 billion in affordable housing in 2017

The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority invested a record $2.36 billion in affordable housing last year.

The organization helped more than 8,000 Coloradans become homeowners and supported the development or preservation of more than 6,000 units of affordable rental housing. Both figures are at the highest levels ever for CHFA, which was created in 1973.

“CHFA is a mission-based organization, so our production growth is directly aligned to the growing needs of those we serve,” says Cris White, CHFA’s executive director and CEO. “In the last three years, CHFA’s investment in affordable housing has increased 182 percent compared to 2011 through 2013, with 2017 being our most historic year yet in terms of production. This demonstrates that demand for affordable housing options in Colorado, whether purchasing or renting, is at an all-time high.”

To help Coloradans purchase homes affordably, CHFA offers 20-year fixed-rate home loan products at competitive rates, with options for down payment assistance. In addition to grants, CHFA last year launched down payment assistance in the form of a second mortgage. It also offers Mortgage Credit Certificates, a tax credit that can save homeowners 20 percent of their mortgage interest each year.

CHFA also sponsors statewide home buyer education classes, which reached the highest level of enrollment to date in 2017 with 13,224 households served.

To support the development or preservation of affordable rental housing in Colorado, CHFA allocates federal and state Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and also offers financing to developers. Last year, CHFA awarded $53.2 million in credits to support 4,397 units of affordable rental housing that will be built or preserved by undergoing renovations.

CHFA also invested $363.3 million in multifamily financing, bringing the total number of units supported last year with either loans or tax credits to 6,217, setting a new benchmark for total units supported by CHFA in one year.

“CHFA will continue to work with our communities and housing partners in 2018 and the years ahead to help make Colorado a more affordable place to live,” White said. “Identifying ways to leverage and increase resources for both for-sale and rental housing is key, along with preserving existing affordable rental housing stock.”
 

Fund to help artists make spaces safe



Denver Arts & Venues has launched the Safe Creative Spaces Fund as an extension of the city’s Safe Occupancy Program in an effort to provide funding for improvements to buildings that are occupied by artists.

The program will provide $300,000 in need-based funding for creative space tenant safety and building improvements. Applications are being accepted online.

“We are committed to cultivating, sustaining and promoting our diverse artistic and creative industry, including that our artists have a safe, affordable space where they can live and work,” Mayor Michael Hancock says. “The Safe Occupancy Program and the Safe Creative Spaces Fund are designed to support our creative professionals with resources to get these live-work spaces up to code, keep them affordable and avoid further displacements.”

Funding will be administered through Jan. 17, 2020 and is available to tenant or owner applicants who own or run a creative space such as a live/work collective, a creative business or a creative assembly space in the City and County of Denver that is enrolled in the Safe Occupancy Program.

The funds will be administered through a partnership with RedLine, a nonprofit contemporary art center. RedLine also will facilitate support between artists and art businesses. Applicants are encouraged to contact Redline for free, confidential guidance before enrolling in the Safe Occupancy Program or applying for Safe Creative Spaces Funding.

“RedLine is very excited to collaborate with Denver Arts & Venues, the City of Denver and the greater arts and culture communities to help address the growing need for safe creative spaces in Denver,” says Louise Martorano, executive director of RedLine. “Both the Safe Occupancy Program and Safe Creative Space Fund represent two key initiatives that not only provide a path for security and stability for artists in creative spaces, but also the financial resources to make that path accessible.”
 

Colorado Enterprise Fund to participate in CO Impact Days

Colorado Enterprise Fund is among the 100 social ventures seeking “impact investments” that was chosen to meet with investors at CO Impact Days Social Venture Showcase Nov. 17.

The 100 ventures will convene at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House for the second year of the “shark-tank for good” statewide marketplace for impact investing. The selected social ventures will showcase their investment opportunities to offer not only a financial return on the impact investor’s investment but also to offer solutions to some of the most pressing issues of our time.”

“We are so thrilled to again invite more than 200 investors and philanthropists to interact with these valuable social ventures,” says Dr. Stephanie Gripne, founder of the Impact Finance Center and creator of the CO Impact Days. “When these two groups of powerful movers and shakers share a room, there is no telling the good that will come. We’ve aimed to offer a diverse array of impact investments, with a goal that every investor will leave knowing that deal flow is not a Colorado impact investing problem.”

The goal of CO Impact Days is to catalyze $100 million in impact investments into Colorado social ventures in the next three years, and it is kicking off with CO Impact Days Nov. 15-17. The initiative is possible because Colorado is home to a number of national leaders in impact investing and a thriving and collaborative community of social venture entrepreneurs in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors, as well as philanthropists and investors who are committed to growing Colorado’s economy and creating good jobs.

“Funding from these impact investors will enable us to serve more Colorado businesses, which in turn will ultimately advance economic opportunity and prosperity in our Colorado communities,” says Ceyl Prinster, president and CEO of Colorado Enterprise Fund.
 

Broker's buyer bonus: Helping to send a child to school in Uganda

Denver real estate broker Tenzin Gyaltsen is helping put Ugandan children through school one home sale at a time through a partnership with the S.O.U.L Foundation.

One child will be put through school for every home sale that’s over $300,000. It costs about $1,600 to put a child through all seven years of primary school.

“That gives them all of their school books and one meal per day,” said Gyaltsen, a broker associate with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Colorado. “It’s an added bonus to the house. It almost personifies it in a way.”

Gyaltsen, who formerly owned an eco-friendly clothing company, met representatives from S.O.U.L (Supporting Opportunities for Ugandans to Learn) at an event and fell in love with the organization. He had a desire to do something philanthropic, so he sponsored Rita Naigaga, the first of many students.

When he turned his attention to real estate he decided to expand his efforts by sponsoring a child with proceeds from every house he lists for more than $300,000.

Gyaltsen works with investors to buy houses, fix them up and resell them. When he has an upcoming listing he contacts S.O.U.L to pledge to sponsor a student, The organization then sends a child’s photo and bio, which will be framed and displayed in the house. If the new owners wish, the address of the newly sold home stays with the sponsorship, and all the letters and updates from the student are mailed to the house.

“Lack of education is one of the biggest problems in the world,” Gyaltsen said. “In this part of the world, most children don’t get an education. It’s important to equip children with knowledge so they can go out and better the world and their communities.”

Business loan program for veterans created

The Colorado Enterprise Fund has created a program for Colorado veterans and Gold Star family members who are interested in starting or growing a small business in the state.

Veteran Access Loan Opportunity Resource (VALOR) will provide discounted loan rates and extended terms for military veterans who are unable to secure financing through traditional banks.

Any honorable discharged U.S. military veteran or Gold Star family member who is a Colorado resident is eligible to apply for a VALOR loan of up to $500,000. Recipients will receive a 2 percent discount from standard Colorado Enterprise Fund rates and an origination fee of 1.5 percent. The loan term would be for up to 10 years with an interest-only period of up to six months.

The loans can be used for working capital, equipment, inventory, property improvements, business purchases and commercial real estate.

For more information, contact Senior Loan Office Mike Jensen, a U.S. Army veteran, at (720) 473-4068 or at mike@coloradoenterprisefund.org.

Founded in 1976, the Colorado Enterprise Fund is a non-profit lending institution that specializes in loans for small businesses and startups statewide that are unable to secure traditional bank financing. To date, the organization has has made more than 2,000 loans totaling $63 million to small businesses.

Riverfront plaza opens at Confluence Park



At long last, the new $9.3 million riverfront plaza at Confluence Park is finished.

The project stalled for more than a year after coal tar was discovered buried on the river’s west bank. Work restarted last December and wrapped up with the culmination of a ribbon cutting on Oct. 14.

The completion of Confluence Park marks the first project of Phase II of River Vision, the expanded plan to improve the South Platte River corridor and make it the premier outdoor recreation destination and environmental educational resource for the city and the state. Since 2012, multiple partner organizations have raised nearly $50 million toward the renovation of parks along the South Platte. Phase I of River Vision created more than 30 acres of new parkland and greenways, and Phase II will include four additional revitalization efforts north of Confluence Park.

“For our growing city, it’s never been more important to protect, preserve and grow our parks and recreational opportunities, and reclaiming the river has been vital in celebrating and cultivating new outdoor experiences for Denver residents,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said. “Phase I of the River Vision investment has already transformed the banks of the South Platte into a spectacular network of parks for residents to enjoy, and there are more great improvements to come.”

Phase I of River Vision broke ground in 2013 and wrapped up in the spring with the completion of Grant Frontier Park. It also included Johnson Habitat, Vanderbilt and Pasquinel’s Landing.

In addition to Shoemaker Plaza, Phase II will include:
  • Globeville Landing Park
  • Heron Pond/Northside Park Master Plan
  • River North (RiNo) Park
  • RiNo Promenade
The completely rebuilt Shoemaker Plaza is now ADA compliant and includes improved bicycle and pedestrian flow, increased river access and new gathering places meant to create a vibrant environment at Denver’s historic birthplace.
 

The real numbers: Center city neighborhoods add housing, but is it affordable?

Denver is on track to meet a goal set in 2007 to add 18,000 housing units in the city center by 2027.

The center city has seen an increase of 10,000 residential units since 2010, and another nearly 9,000 are under construction, according to the Downtown Denver Partnership’s Center City Housing report.

Even so, the units added have not been enough to keep housing costs affordable for some residents and workers.

“The Downtown Denver Partnership has advanced a variety of solutions to stem the impact of rising housing costs, ad we are focused on addressing the need for diversity in housing type and affordability to meet the needs for downtown’s workforce,” says Tami Door, president and CEO of the partnership. “While our residential and employee populations are growing at unprecedented rates, we must ensure companies can continue to attract and retain the employees they need to be successful, and affordable housing is a key part of the equation.”

The partnership has led several strategic housing initiatives, including advocating for construction defects reform, working with developers to add a variety of unit types and endorsing the creation of the first affordable housing fund in the City and County of Denver. The partnership also played a key role in moving the LIVE Denver program forward.

Other insights from the report include:
  • Denver’s center city neighborhoods are home to 79,367 residents and 130,227 employees
  • Since 2010, the center city has added 15,877 new residents and 33,065 new jobs
  • Denver is the fourth fastest growing city in the United States, and the demand to live in the center city is high, with the residential population tripling since 2000
  • Capitol Hill is the most populous center city neighborhood with a population of 17,142 residents
  • The Central Platte Valley neighborhood adjacent to Denver Union Station experienced the highest percentage of population growth since 2010
  • The Central Platte Valley neighborhood also added the most new units since 2010, totaling 5,669 units completed or under construction, more than 3,800 more units than the next busiest neighborhood for development, River North.

The Record Company to headline holiday concert benefitting public schools

The Grammy Award-nominated Los Angeles band The Record Company is headlining the fourth annual Sing It To Me Santa concert Dec. 9 at the Ogden Theatre.

The concert will benefit music education in Denver Public Schools through the newly formed nonprofit organization Take Note Colorado.

“I am honored and proud to announce that Sing It To Me Santa will become a signature event under Take Note Colorado,” says Karen Radman, executive director of Take Note Colorado. “And, that net proceeds from Sing It To Me Santa 2017 will benefit music education in Denver Public Schools.”

The Record Company is a Los Angeles-based rock trio whose 2016 debut album was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Contemporary Blues Album.

Tickets for the show are available at www.axs.com. General admission tickets are $25-30, and VIP tickets are $250. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. For information on sponsorships for the show, contact Karen Radman at karen@takenotecolorado.org.

Denver-based vintage rock/funk/blues powerhouse Tracksuit Wedding will open the show, performing original new tracs from its just-released second album “Now or Never” — and some holiday favorites to celebrate the season. 

Take Note Colorado, chaired by Gov. John Hickenlooper and Isaac Slade of The Fray, is a new statewide initiative with a goal to provide access to musical instruments and instruction to all of Colorado’s K-12 students. Sing It To Me Santa is a benefit concert created in 2014 by Libby Anschutz.

Nursing moms have privacy at all downtown sports venues

Nursing moms now have a quiet place to breastfeed or pump at all of Denver’s downtown pro sports venues as a result of UCHealth’s partnerships with the Colorado Rockies and Denver Broncos. 

The new Mamava nursing suites are being installed in the main concourses at Coors Field and Sports Authority Field at Mile High. UCHealth's recent purchase and installation of the air-conditioned lactation suites makes Denver the first city in the country to offer nursing suites in all downtown professional sports venues. UCHealth also purchased and installed the lactation suite located in the concourse at Pepsi Center, home to the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets.

“UCHealth’s commitment to improving lives extends beyond the doors of our hospitals and clinics,” says Manny Rodriguez, UCHealth chief marketing and experience officer. “our investment in nursing suites with our partners at all of Denver’s downtown professional sports venues makes it easier for nursing moms attending events — from games to concerts — to live extraordinary lives doing what they love, with their loved ones.”

The sports teams collaborated with UCHealth to provide the clean comfortable spaces to nurse in private. The lactation suite is a self-contained, mobile pod with comfortable benches, a fold-down table, an electrical outlet for plugging in a breast pump and a door that can be locked for privacy. The 4-foot by 8-foot pod is intended for individual use but has plenty of room for mothers with diaper bags, babies and other children in tow.

Study will evaluate minority- and women-owned business program

The Denver Office of Economic Development (OED) is launching a disparity study to guide future implementation of minority- and women-owned business programs in Denver. 

The study will measure whether minority- and women-owned contractors are being underutilized in city business, thereby providing a basis for the continuation of Denver’s Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise program and related federal programs.

OED has retained BBC Research & Consulting to conduct the study to help evaluate the effectiveness of the local MWBE program and two federal programs: The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program and the Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program. The study will examine the city’s procurement services and products, the subcontracting participation of contractors/service providers who do business with the city and anecdotal evidence collected from a cross-section of the local business community.

“With significant public investment projects on the horizon, and by staying true to our Denver values, this city will show how economic prosperity can bring everyone along,” says Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. “We’re looking forward to taking a thorough, objective look at our inclusivity programs in order to bolster our approach and further level the playing field for Denver’s minority contracting community.”

To help inform the study, a series of public hearings will be held this fall: 
 
  • Oct. 3, 11:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m., Eisenhower Recreation Center, 4300 E. Dartmouth Ave.
  • Oct. 5, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St.
  • Oct. 11, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Denver Police Station-District One, 1311 W. 46th Ave.
  • Oct. 13, 9-11 a.m., Denver International Airport (tentative)

Comments and information can also be submitted to denverdisparitystudy@bbcresearch.com. For more information visit denvergove.org/dsbo.
 

MSU Denver gets $1 million grant from Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin is giving a $1 million grant to Metropolitan State University in an effort to shape the workforce of the future in manufacturing affordable, innovative spacecraft.

The funds, to be distributed over four years, establish an on-campus Lockheed Martin Additive Manufacturing Laboratory, where students can use a state-of-the-art 3-D printer to design and create aerospace components. The grant also establishes an endowed director of the Advanced Manufacturing Sciences Institute. 

“This grant is an investment in the futures of the students at MSU Denver an d the aerospace community,” says Brian O’Connor, vice president of production and operations at Lockheed Martin Space Systems. “Emerging manufacturing technologies will create possibilities we can only dream of today, like printing an entire satellite from the ground up or printing complex parts that we can’t machine using traditional methods. We’re helping students design with those new concepts in mind so the next space missions are innovative, affordable and faster to market.”

The grant was announced during the inauguration of MSU Denver’s new $60 million Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building, a 117,000-square-foot building that is designed to integrate aerospace science; industrial design; civil, mechanical and electrical engineering technology; computer science; and computer information systems. Advanced Manufacturing Sciences classes will begin this fall.

“With support from key partners like Lockheed Martin, MSU Denver can offer students education opportunities that directly address workforce needs on Colorado’s key industry clusters,” says Stephen Jordan, president of MSU Denver. “Students now have the rare opportunity to work with technology and equipment used by some of the top advanced manufacturing companies in the world.”
 

Elitch's donates tickets to North H.S. for fundraising

Elitch Gardens owner Rhys Duggan is donating $600,000 worth of tickets to the theme park to North High School to help with fundraising for capital improvement projects. 

Elitch’s also will provide North students with employment and internship opportunities at the amusement park.

“Elitch Gardens and Denver North High School have both been important institutions in our community for more than a century,” says Duggan, president and CEO of Revesco Properties, an owner and the managing member of Elitch Gardens. “North is our Speer Boulevard neighbor, and we are committed to doing our part to support the school, its students and its educators in the years ahead.”

At its original location at West 38th Avenue and Tennyson Street, Elitch Gardens was one of the first zoos west of Chicago and the home of Denver’s first symphony orchestra, first botanic garden and first Children’s Museum and activity center. It also was the site of Denver’s first motion picture theater and the Trocadero Ballroom, where most of Denver danced and romanced. 

Elitch Gardens opened in its current location next to the Pepsi Center in 1995.

How to get a deal at Denver's best coffee shops

If you’re a coffee junkie, the Fika Coffee Passport is your ticket to learning all about Denver’s vibrant coffee scene.

The $20 passport features 28 craft shops and roasters featuring two-for-one coffee specials per venue between April 1 and July 31. Some of the participating venues include Allegro Coffee Roasters, The Denver Bicycle Cafe, Huckleberry Roasters, Pablo’s Coffee and Pigtrain Coffee.

Why is it called Fika? Because a fika is a custom in Swedish culture that celebrates a break from work for a bit of play. The Passport Program folks liked the idea of getting out of the office to meet a friend for a chat over a cup of coffee.

The locations in the booklet were selected for both atmosphere and quality coffee and each offers a one-of-a-kind experience. You can share your coffee with a friend or enjoy both yourself. Each location has crafted a speciality beverage that best represents their shop or practices. You can also substitute any craft coffee drink for a drip coffee.

For every book sold, $1 will be donated to Colorado Public Radio.

City of Cranes: A whopping 42 projects either planned or under construction downtown

Forty-two projects with an investment value of $2.8 billion are either under construction or planned in downtown Denver, according to the 2017 State of Downtown Denver Report recently released by the Downtown Denver Partnership. 

The projects will add more than 1,000 hotel rooms, 5,000 residences and 2.5 million square feet of office space. 

“Great cities do not happen by accident,” says Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. “Our thriving center city is a result of a strategic vision to build one of the most economically powerful center cities in the country, and the metrics outlined in the 2017 State of Downtown Denver signal great success. Our residential population is expanding at unprecedented rates, $2.8 billion is being invested through development projects, we’ve added 6,000 jobs and 23 new companies have relocated to or opened a new office in the center city to grow their business in the last 24 months.”

Downtown Denver’s workforce of 130,227 people has grown at a rate of 17 percent since 2010, outpacing the national rate of 11 percent. Employment is led by new and growing private-sector businesses, where employment is up 21 percent.

Nearly 80,000 people are choosing to live in downtown Denver and its center city neighborhoods. Population in the downtown core has tripled since 2000, and more than 66 percent of downtown residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher.Downtown’s residential renaissance and its growing employee base is encouraging new retail development. Retail sales tax collection is anchored by restaurants, which make up 44 percent of the revenue. 

There is a diverse array of educational opportunities, from traditional universities to coding schools that is helping to build the workforce of the future and ensure downtown businesses have access to top talent. About 58,000 students are being educated in the center city at a variety of educational institutions.

Elitch's to open three new extreme water slides

New extreme speed slides will open this summer at Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park.

Riders on the Mega Wedgie will plunge off a six-story tower at 40 miles per hour down a choice of three body slides. By the time they reach the bottom, the parks says, they’ll understand the attraction's name.

“At Elitch Gardens, we are driven to always provide more family fun and thrills for our guests, and this season we are adding a phenomenal wet and wild combination of rides: first the 17-story Star Flyer and now the exhilarating Mega Wedgie,” says Karl Traeger, the theme park’s director of marketing.

The 17-story Star Flyer, another new addition, accommodates 48 passengers sitting two across in open-air seats. They ascend to the top of the tower while flying around it. 

The Elitch Gardens theme park opens April 29, and the water park opens May 27.

In 2015, Denver-based Revesco Properties and Kroenke Sports Entertainment teamed up to buy Elitch Gardens. At that time, the group said it had no plans to redevelop the park, which will continue to be managed by Premier Parks. 

Other entities owned by Kroenke Sports Entertainment include Pepsi Center, Paramount Theatre, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, the Colorado Avalanche hockey team, the Denver Nuggets basketball team, the Colorado Mammoth lacrosse team and the Colorado Rapids soccer team
94 Auraria Articles | Page: | Show All
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