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Bohemian Foundation, Illegal Pete's partner with Colorado Creative Industries

Bohemian Foundation and Illegal Pete’s have signed on as community partners for Colorado Creative Industries’ Career Advancement Grant.

Bohemian Foundation and Illegal Pete’s will contribute funds for the upcoming Career Advancement Grant cycles with submission deadlines on June 2 and Nov. 1.

Funding for musicians and music-based businesses will be provided by Fort Collins-based Bohemian Foundation in continued support and implementation of the Colorado Music Strategy. Illegal Pete’s, a Colorado-based restaurant group and record label, will provide support to the Career Advancement Grant, which offers reimbursable, matching funds up to $2,500 to help Colorado creative entrepreneurs and artists stimulate their commercial creative businesses.

“The Colorado Music Strategy, which we developed statewide over the past several years, helps us focus on ways we can continue to amplify these results and make connections with partners interested in helping musicians advance their careers,” Colorado Creative Industries Director Margaret Hunt says.

Colorado Creative Industries is a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Established to capitalize on the immense potential for the creative sector to enhance economic growth in Colorado, the organization’s mission is to promote, support and expand the creative industries to drive Colorado’s economy, increase jobs and enhance our quality of life.
 

Public input sought on affordable housing action plan

The Denver Office of Economic Development is seeking public input and comment to its proposed 2018 federal Action Plan for local housing, economic development, public service and neighborhood facilities programs that use federal funds.

Public meetings will provide an overview of Denver’s proposed framework that partners with the Denver Housing Authority to double the Affordable Housing Fund annually — from $15 million to $30 million — and generate a new funding surge of an estimated $105 million for affordable housing over the next five years.

The draft action plan document, which will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will be available for a 30-day public comment period through June 15 and denvergov.org/oed.

The 2018 Action Plan encompasses the following federal programs:Community Development Block Grant Program, HOME Investment Partnership Program, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program and Emergency Shelter Grant programs. The plan includes information about the overall goals and objectives for the year with a description of the available resources and proposed actions to address identified needs. All proposed activities and projects are intended to benefit the citizens of Denver who have extremely low and moderate incomes and populations that have special needs such as elderly, disabled, homeless individuals and families and people with HIV/AIDS.

The meetings will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. May 10 in the Wellington Webb Building, 201 W. Colfax, Rooms 4.F.6-4.G.2; and from 6 to 7:30 p.m. June 6 at the Montbello Recreation Center, 15555 E. 53rd Ave. in the community room.
 

"Happy City" exhibit will help break down social barriers

Public art that will be installed throughout the city starting May 18 will bring together 11 artists’ perspectives that address ideas of happiness and wellness.

The project — “Happy City: Art for the People” — will provide unexpected art experiences in public spaces with the purpose of breaking down persona, emotional and social barriers. The art installation sites will be located throughout Denver and include streets, alleyways, billboards, video screens, Union Station and others. in addition to the installations, “Happy City” will offer programming such as conversations and a panel discussion to engage the community.

Produced by The Denver Theatre District, “Happy City” is under the artistic direction of Black Cube, a nonprofit experimental art museum that operates nomadically. Black Cube, which partners with artist fellows to commission popup art experiences, describes itself as an unconventional museum pursuing the most effective ways to engage audiences while supporting individual artists with critical professional guidance.

“Through the artists’ diverse lenses, the ‘Happy City’ experience will focus on creating stronger communal ties and ask important questions about what it means to be happy,” says Cortney Lane Stell, Black Cube's artistic director. “The art interventions are inquisitive in tone and offer many perspectives on the topic of happiness, from practical through playful.”

Participating artists include Colorado artists Theresa Anderson, Matt Barton, Carlos Fresquez, Kelly Monico, Zach Reini, John Roemer, Joel Swanson and Frankie Toan. Also joining the exhibit are Milton Melvin Croissant III of New York, Vince McKelvie of California and Stuart Semple of the United Kingdom.
 

More Laurel Cherry Creek condos released for sale

Kentwood Real Estate has released another phase of condominiums for sale at Laurel Cherry Creek.

The newly released collection of high-rise condos includes one of each floor plan and an 11th floor penthouse. Previews are available by appointment with Kentwood listing broker Dawn Raymond. Interested buyers can visit the sales gallery to view the finish packages, the 3D interactive model with views for each residence and interior, exterior and amenity renderings.

“Because our first phase of sales outpaced construction, the development and sales team have waited until now to come back to market, when we can present the final finishes and floor plans,” says Raymond, who specializes in luxury properties in and around Cherry Creek. “Interest has been high for Laurel Cherry Creek, and we look forward to welcoming potential buyers.”

Located at 215 St. Paul St., features for Laurel Cherry Creek include:
  • Private balcony or terrace with glass railings
  • Pella multi-panel sliding glass doors or folding glass NanaWall
  • Custom-designed, stained 8-foot walnut entry doors
  • 8-foot solid-core contemporary interior doors
  • Linear gas fireplaces
  • Up to 10-foot-8-inch ceiling heights throughout living areas
  • Looped-wool carpet in all bedrooms
  • Porcelain tile flooring in all bathrooms and laundry
  • Energy-efficient LED lighting
  • Natural gas BBQ service and hose bibs on balconies
  • Prewired with fiber-optic technology
“We have designed Laurel Cherry Creek to be the preeminent residential address in Cherry Creek,” says Paul Powers, president of Pauls Corp., which is developing the project. “Owners will enjoy upscale, maintenance-free living in one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the United States.”

Most residents think city is not doing enough to battle homelessness, according to survey

A citywide survey confirmed what the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless has been saying for years: Homelessness and affordable housing are serious concerns and realities for Denver residents.

Key findings of the survey, which collected live telephone responses from 404 likely 2018 voters, include:
  • Homelessness ranked as the third-most-critical issue for the mayor and City Council to address, following affordable housing and education.
  • 96 percent of those surveyed said homelessness is a “serious problem” in Denver.
  • 66 percent said “too little” action is being taken by the mayor and City Council to make housing more affordable and address homelessness.
Of those surveyed, 68 percent own their homes, and 57 percent said they had experienced homelessness themselves or had a family member of friend who experienced homelessness.

“This data confirms what we already know and have experienced for the past 32 years: The city must prioritize making substantial investments in homelessness services and affordable housing,” says Cathy Alderman, vice president of communications and public policy at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. “More and more people are being marginalized and left behind by Denver’s economic growth, and it is imperative that our elected officials implement immediate strategies to reduce homelessness and provide better access to affordable housing.

The survey was sponsored by All in Denver, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Del Norte Community Development Corp., Denver Foundation, Gates Family Foundation, Gorman & Co., Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver and the Urban Land Conservancy.

CHFA gets $7.1 grant for affordable housing

A $7.1 million grant to Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) will support the development and preservation of affordable rental housing across the state.

CHFA estimates the grant will help provide housing for about 725 households in both rural and urban communities.

“The need for affordable housing across Colorado is significant and spans the housing continuum from those experiencing homelessness and special needs to housing for our seniors, veterans and workforce,” says Cris White, CHFA executive director and chief executive. “Investment in affordable housing is an investment in our state’s infrastructure and quality of life. We are very excited to receive this award and will use these resources to help local communities target their specific and unique housing needs.”

The Capital Magnet Fund grant will help further the reach of Colorado’s federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and state Affordable Housing Tax Credits by supplying additional gap funding required to make it feasible for affordable housing developments to be constructed or preserved.

Affordable housing is a much-needed resource in a state where population growth, combined with escalating development and construction costs, continues to place pressure on an already tight housing market. Colorado is ranked the fifth-most-challenging state in the nation for extremely low-income renters to find affordable housing, with only 27 affordable homes for every 100 extremely low-income renter household, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The Capital Magnet Fund is administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund). The Capital Magnet Fund was established by Congress in 2008, and offers competitively awarded grants to finance affordable housing solutions and community revitalization efforts.

Denver in program to keep low-income people in city

Denver has been selected to participate in a new program designed to stop forcing low-income residents out of cities.

Through the All-In Cities Anti-Displacement Policy Network, city teams will promote a range of strategies, including renter protections, community land trusts and community ownership models, commercial neighborhood stabilization, inclusionary zoning and other equitable development strategies. Participants will work to build the power, voice and capacity of communities directly impacted by displacement in defining the challenges and advancing solutions.

“Joining the All-In Cities Anti-Displacement Policy Network is an opportunity to work with our peer cities on new ways to ensure our economy works for everyone and address the same affordability challenges we’re all facing,” Mayor Michael Hancock said. “It’s our job to bring opportunities to communities that lift people up, not push them out, and our strong economy and market shouldn’t leave a single one of our residents behind.”

Network activities will include virtual learning labs, individualized coaching sessions with national experts and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. The network participants will first meet at the PolicyLink Equity Summit April 11-13 in Chicago. There will be another gathering this fall.

Each city has created teams of up to six local leaders, including mayors and city council members, senior city staff and community leaders. Denver’s team includes City Council President Albus Brooks; Jenny Santos, legal advocate of Servicios de La Raza Inc.; Sarah Showalter, citywide planning supervisor with Denver Community Planning and Development; Melissa Thate, housing policy officer with the Denver Office of Economic Development; and Tracy Winchester, executive director of the Five Points Business District.

“The timing of our selection to this network speaks to the challenges we currently face as a city and our call to ultimate inequality,” Brooks said. “Economic growth has the capacity to build both bridges and barriers. Economic success must be shared by all. This network allows us to collaborate on smart policies that will create a truly inclusive economy for all residents.”

Other cities selected for the network are Austin, Texas; Boston; Nashville; Philadelphia; Portland, Ore.; San Jose, Calif.; Santa Fe, N.M. and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.


 

Denver city planners roll out land-use, mobility ideas

City planners are rolling out ideas for land use and mobility in Denver neighborhoods at workshops this week.

Denverites have called for a more inclusive city with strong and authentic neighborhoods. To achieve that, the city must move beyond the city’s “areas of change” and “areas of stability” model that was established in 2002.

The new concept acknowledges that all places in the city are evolving in pursuit of becoming complete in their own way — not just through enabling or limiting development but through quality-of-life infrastructure like sidewalks, housing options, transit access, parks and open space. Diversity, affordability and good urban design and architecture are key to complete neighborhoods as well.

Denver will continue to grow and change. Regional centers and corridors would take on the most growth, while the remainder of Denver’s places would evolve in smaller ways. Ensuring the proper scale and intensity for all places — and appropriate transitions between residential areas and other places — are key to livability.

Based on more than a year and a half of listening to the community’s voice about critical issues from inclusivity and affordability to neighborhood character and transit connections, city planners are working on a new approach to managing land use.

Residents can learn about and provide input on potential strategies at the Blueprint Denver workshops. The first workshops were held earlier this week. The remaining workshops are as follows:


• Feb. 27, 5:30 - 8 p.m., Corky Gonzales Library, 1498 Irving St., Denver (Council district 3)
• Mar. 1, 6 - 8 p.m., All Saints Parish Hall, 2559 S. Federal Blvd., Denver (Council district 2)
• Mar. 6, 5:30 - 7:30, Community of Christ Church, 480 N. Marion St., Denver (Council district 10)
• Mar. 7, 6 - 7:30 p.m., Evie Garrett Dennis Campus, 4800 Telluride St., Denver (Council district 11)
• Mar. 8, 6 - 8 p.m., Valverde Elementary, 2030 W. Alameda Ave., Denver (Council district 7) SPANISH-LED
• Mar. 14, 6 - 8 p.m., DSST Byers School, 150 S. Pearl St., Denver (Council district 7) - No Spanish interpretation
• Mar. 15, 5:30 - 7 p.m., DSST Stapleton High School, 2000 Valentia St., Denver (Council district 8)

Celebrate public art with selfies

Denver Arts & Venues is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Denver Public Art, a program that sets aside 1 percent of every municipal capital improvement project over $1 million for the creation of public art, by inviting people to share photos and videos of how they engage with the collection.

Denver residents and visitors can share their photos and videos through social media using the hashtag #DenverPublicArt30.

“The Denver Public Art collection is an anchor of the city’s cultural landscape,” Mayor Michael Hancock said. “This will be a celebration that encourages residents and visitors to engage with and celebrate the collection by finding and interacting with some of Denver’s iconic artworks, as well as those pieces located in their own neighborhoods.”

The social media campaign will encourage people to focus on 15 themes — two per month — and 30 favorite photographs from these posts will be displayed at the end of the year at Buell Theatre. Favorites will be selected by Denver Arts & Venues staff and Denver artists. All submissions will be highlighted on PublicArtDenver.com.

“There are some pieces in the collection that everyone recognizes,” says Denver Public Art Manager Michael Chavez. “But by identifying themes, we hope people will seek out the art hidden in plain sight.”

Monthly themes are as follows:
  •  March: Art in Cold Weather, and Women’s History and Heritage
  •  April: Animal Art, and Public Art Selfies
  •  May: Memorials and Statues, and Asian and Pacific American History and Heritage
  •  June: Summer-Time Art (Picnics and Park Fun), and Find Art in Your Neighborhood
  •  July: Denver International Airport Collection, and Light or Kinetic Art
  •  August: Urban Arts Fund, and Indoor Art
  • September: Latino and Hispanic History and Heritage
In addition to the public art funding ordinance which was created in 1988, the Denver Public Art Collection of more than 400 pieces includes several donated artworks, many of which are more than 100 years old. Denver Public Art also offers free, year-round tours in addition to other Public Art related events, and manages the Urban Arts Fund (celebrating its 10th anniversary this year).
 

Denver adopts five-year housing plan

Denver has adopted a five-year housing policy, strategy and investment plan that outlines the strategies that will guide the city’s affordable housing investments to create and preserve diverse housing options that are accessible and affordable to all residents.

Housing an Inclusive Denver is centered around four fundamental values:
  • Leveraging and enhancing housing investments to support inclusive communities
  • Identifying ways to foster communities of opportunity around good homes, good jobs, good schools and access to more transportation options and health services.
  • Looking at housing as a continuum that serves residents across a range of incomes, from people experiencing homelessness to those living on fixed incomes.
  • Embracing diversity throughout our neighborhoods to ensure that Denver remains a welcoming community for all residents.
“The adoption of our plan is a milestone in our work to ensure safe, affordable and accessible housing for every Denver resident,” says Mayor Michael Hancock. “This plan will guide our future housing investments in a way that reflects our city’s values, especially when it comes to helping lift up those residents that need our support the most.”

Action plans that support the implementation of Housing an inclusive Denver will be adopted annually by the Denver Office of Economic Development. The 2018-2023 plan recommendations include investment guidelines balanced along the income spectrum, with 40 percent to 50 percent of the city’s combined housing resources supporting people experiencing homelessness and/or earning between 31 percent and 80 percent of area median income and 20 percent to 30 percent of investments serving residents seeking to become homeowner or remain in the homes they own.

Social Fare opens in former Second Home space

Social Fare Denver Dining & Drinks has opened in the former Second Home space in the JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek.

The new restaurant’s sunlit dining room has a 300-bottle illuminated wine wall and floor-to-ceiling retractable glass doors that open onto a year-round patio with a roaring fire pit. Social Fare’s eclectic menu starts with Social Bites that are meant to be shared, including Ancho Braised Beef Short Rib Nachos, Crispy Lobster Gnocchi, Carnitas Poutine and BBQ Rotisserie Chicken Flatbread.

Entree highlights include Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Berkshire Pork Tenderloin, Wild Mushroom Risotto, Mile High Meatloaf and Papardelles Fettuccini Bolognese with Colorado Lamb. There also are a variety of salads, including Tuscan Kale, and Grilled Scottish Salmon and PEI Mussels.

Social Fare serves a seasonal cocktail menu and a selection of Colorado craft beers. Its Social Hour specials include:
  • Whiskey & Wine Wednesday — discounted pricing on whiskey and wine starting at 4 p.m.
  • Feeling Fine Friday —  featured Social Fare cocktail starting at 4 p.m., the restaurant will donate a portion of proceeds to a local charity.
  • Brunch Booze Bar — create your own brunch cocktail with a variety of elixirs, juices and garnishes or follow the Social Fare mixology guidebook to mix up a special breakfast drink from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Social Fare hosts a special Pancake Social Brunch from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays that features a complimentary pint-sized pancake buffet for kids ages 8 and younger who will be able to create Pancake Art and enjoy supervised movies and crafts.

Social Fare is open daily starting at 6:30 a.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. on weekends. The restaurant offers complimentary valet parking for up to three hours with dining validation.

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.”
 

A very 2017 promotion: Cherry Creek shop will pay for Uber, Lyft

Massive construction projects in Cherry Creek North have made it difficult for holiday shoppers to find parking, so one creative business owner is taking matters into her own hands by offering to pay for customers to use UBER or Lyft to visit her gift shop.

Katie Friedland, owner of Show of Hands, an art gallery and gift shop that’s called Cherry Creek North home for 32 years, said she’s seen sales decline this year as shoppers steer clear of the area because of construction.

Even though Show of Hands has four of its own parking spots, to help save the holidays for all the small businesses in Cherry Creek North, the shop will pay anyone that presents a receipt for an UBER or Lyft ride into the area and spends $100 at the store, $20 in cash. Customers will receive $40 in cash if they spend $200 or more.

“While many people love finding one-of-a-kind gifts at the stores in Cherry Creek, because streets are closed and they can’t find parking, they are not visiting our store,” Friedland said. “I’m a single mom and small-business owner. While we support progress, the holiday season is critical to me and many of the retail stores in the area. After hearing complaints from customers and calculating current sales numbers, I realized we needed to get creative here. I though, if parking is the issue, then let’s pay for people to take an UBER or Lyft ride into the area to shop. Problem solved.”

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.
 
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