Denver’s TOD Fund Helps Finance New Affordable Housing

The Evans Light Rail Station on Denver’s south side is the site of a new affordable housing community being developed by Denver-based Urban Land Conservancy and Medici Communities.

Denver—The Evans Light Rail Station on Denver’s south side is the site of a new affordable housing community being developed by Denver-based Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) and Medici Communities LLC.

The development, a five-story building to be called Evans Station Lofts, realizes the goal of Denver’s Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Fund, which buys and preserves land near transit stations for affordable rental housing. It delivers another 50 units of workforce apartments to the Denver housing market.

The one- and two-bedroom apartments will be available to qualifying individuals or families with yearly income between $16,700 and $42,800.

Three traits made this the right development at the right time: Location, location, location. “Evans Station is the first stop in Denver for the southwest light rail corridor, as you head into the central business district from City Englewood,” Urban Land Conservancy president and CEO Aaron Miripol tells MHN.

“The construction of this housing development and commercial space is directly across the street from the station, providing a foundation for a diverse and dynamic community. It provides increased residential density, and furnishes the opportunity to increase commercial, retail and creative industry space. This project will act as a catalyst to further station area redevelopment.”

The site is all the more notable when one considers that transportation and housing together comprise 60 percent of household expenses for low-income families. Evans Station Lofts provides affordable housing right next to a station that will deliver easy access to employment, training and additional services.

The project’s history can be traced to June 2011, when ULC bought the property at 2140 S. Delaware St. for $1.2 million, using the TOD Fund. In May, the parcel was sold by ULC to Medici, which was awarded $1,045,505 in annual low income housing tax credits (LIHTC) from the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA).

Medici then began construction on the building, which offers 7,100 square feet of commercial/retail space in addition to its 50 apartments.

“Developments like this require a collaborative effort between neighborhoods, businesses, elected officials, city departments and market rate and non-profit developers,” Miripol says. “Through an extensive community engagement process, we were able to be transparent in our plans for development, and in the end, have the support necessary for a successful project.”

Miripol adds that the area currently lacks place-making elements that spur the gathering of people, as well as help forge neighborhood identity.

“Redeveloping this underutilized site will support the city of Denver’s vision to enhance the station area’s sense of place, which encourages people to live, work and comfortably walk, bike or use transit to access parks and services, all while businesses thrive in a community where neighborhood character is maintained,” he comments. “Evans Station Lofts will transform Delaware Street into a safer, more inviting place to live and work.”