Denver Is Hot for Multifamily Development

Posted on March 20, 2013

DENVER-The Urban Land Conservancy, in partnership with the Piton Foundation and Gary Community Investment Co., City of Denver and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, have purchased 9.4 acres of land at Smith Road and Colorado Boulevard in Northeast Park Hill. The Urban Land Conservancy tells that the purchase price was $6 million—ULC’s largest land purchase.

According to the Urban Land Conservancy, the land will be used to develop 156 permanently affordable apartments and additional assets to benefit the community, however they could not detail further financing information regarding construction costs at this time. This is ULC’s largest acquisition using Denver’s $15-million Transit-Oriented Development Fund, the country’s first fund created specifically to preserve and develop affordable housing near public transit, according to a prepared statement.

The property, called Park Hill Village West, is located in an area of northeast Denver where many families lack access to affordable housing, high-performing schools and quality healthcare. ULC is working in partnership with the Piton Foundation and recently formed GCIC, to ensure community development occurs along the commuter rail line that will link historically isolated neighborhoods with better access to jobs, education, health care and other services, according to the statement.

According to Sam Gary, founder of Piton and GCIC, “This first investment by Gary Community Investment Co. is representative of our intention to augment the philanthropic strategy of Piton with a set of investment and business development strategies that promise a brighter future for children living in the Denver low-income communities that we have been focused on for decades.”

PHVW is located at the 40th/Colorado station on the East rail line of FasTracks. The commuter rail travels through an area of Denver that Piton has targeted because the neighborhoods are home to nearly 35,000 children living in poverty, according to a statement. The East line, which is currently under construction is expected to open in 2016 and run between Denver Union Station and Denver International Airport.

ULC financed $3.7 million of the acquisition using Denver’s TOD Fund. PHVW is the eighth transaction ULC has made using the Fund since it was capitalized in April 2010. “This is a rare opportunity to acquire a large site adjacent to a future commuter rail stop,” noted Melinda Pollack, vice president at Enterprise, in a prepared statement “PHVW allows us to create a model, mixed-income and mixed-use community where residents will have access to jobs, education, healthcare and other critical needs without depending on an automobile. This is exactly the kind of development that the TOD Fund was designed to catalyze.”

And in other Denver multifamily news, those who follow @GlobeStcom on Twitter and @GlobeStLIVE may have seen a post teasing the announcement, but has learned that Behringer Harvard just started construction on a luxury multifamily community on the north side of downtown Denver. The 1.15-acre construction site is near the northwest corner of the intersection of 21st Street and Lawrence Street, in the Arapahoe Square/Ballpark area.

The firm wasn’t able to detail construction costs to at thie time. Plans for the new community, tentatively called 21 Lawrence, include the development of 212 apartments contained in a five-story residential podium configuration wrapped around a two-level parking facility; one of the parking levels will be below grade.

According to a prepared statement, construction is expected to be complete in fall 2014. The site provides excellent access to the central business district, the Five Points and Lower Downtown neighborhoods, Coors Field and Union Station, as well as many venues for dining and entertainment, according to a prepared statement.

“21 Lawrence will meet the growing demand for luxury in-town living in Denver’s fast emerging north downtown neighborhoods that are increasingly popular with young professionals looking for an urban living experience,” says Spencer Stuart, senior managing director with Legacy Partners, in a prepared statement.

The community will offer common amenities including swimming pool with deck; fitness center, cyber-lounge with free Wi-Fi, XM satellite radio and iPod docks; business center with individual offices; screening and gaming room with surround sound; and roof-top terrace with outdoor kitchen. Residents also will have access to a bicycle tune-up shop and recharging stations for electric cars. The apartment homes, with an average of 823 square feet each, will offer up to two bedrooms and two baths. Units will feature stone countertops, pantries with wood shelving, ranges with ceramic cook-tops, nine-foot ceilings, full-size washers and dryers and a “state-of-the-art infrastructure” for digital services.

Natalie Dolce,