ULC partners with city, county to create space for nonprofits

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7190 Colorado Blvd.
The former Adams County Human Services building will house nonprofits, a community food bank and local government agencies.

The former Adams County Human Services building in Commerce City will house multiple nonprofit organizations, a community food bank and more, thanks to the newly launched Metro Denver Impact Facility.

Urban Land Conservancy, in partnership with Adams County and Commerce City, bought the approximately 80,000-square-foot building at 7190 Colorado Blvd. for $3.8 million. It was the second acquisition made through the MDIF, aimed at preserving community-serving space, affordable housing, nonprofit facilities and schools throughout the Denver area.

The building became available when Adams County Human Services relocated to the new Human Services Center just over a year ago. Now called South Platte Crossing, the property is directly across from a future Regional Transportation District commuterrail station at East 72nd Avenue and Colorado Boulevard. It also has immediate access to Interstates 70, 270 and 76, and Highway 85.

The first leases are expected to be signed within the coming weeks. In addition to nonprofits, the six-story building will house the Tri-County Health Department and Department of Motor Vehicles. In addition, ULC will allocate an acre of the 4.5-acre site for future development of affordable housing.

“The acquisition of South Platte Crossing directly aligns with ULC’s mission to make strategic real estate acquisitions for long-term community benefit,” said Aaron Miripol, ULC’s president and CEO. “Thanks to the newly created Metro Denver Impact Facility, ULC is able to make our first investment in Commerce City. We are excited about growing our partnership with the city and Adams County to preserve additional affordable space for service-providing organizations and create opportunities for new attainable housing options.”

Metro Denver Impact Facility is a revolving source of loan capital created in partnership with FirstBank, the Colorado Health Foundation, The Denver Foundation, the Colorado Trust and Colorado Housing and Finance Authority. It will grow to be a $50 million resource to support ULC’s real estate acquisitions.

South Platte Crossing is located in an opportunity zone, an area categorized by the low-income census tract, with the median family income below 80 percent of area median income. Opportunity zones are designed to spur economic development in low-income urban communities by providing tax incentives to investors and developers.

Commerce City’s scarcity of rental space for service-providing organizations makes ULC’s acquisition crucial to the surrounding area, the organization said. ULC will own and operate four floors of the building, with Adams County owning and operating two floors and the basement.

“As Colorado continues to experience an incredible amount of growth, Adams County hopes to find a balance between welcoming new residents and preserving our existing community,” said Raymond Gonzales, Adams County manager. “We recognize Urban Land Conservancy as a critical partner for community development and preservation in our county, and have the utmost respect for the strategic leadership of ULC. We look forward to our partnership moving forward in ensuring Adams County stays ahead of the trend in keeping our neighborhoods equitable and livable for all.”

“We have a longstanding belief that we’re only as strong as our community,” said Amber Hills, president of FirstBank’s Lakewood Market. “One of the best ways to strengthen our community is through our local nonprofits, and we’re glad to see that FirstBank’s $25 million investment to the MDIF will provide much-needed operational space to several charitable causes. While we recognize that we have a long way to go in creating and preserving affordable housing, schools and nonprofit facilities, we know we’re headed in the right direction. This is one step of many towards creating a society that lifts all.”

The investment into South Platte Crossing is expected to support over 300 jobs.

“ULC’s efforts to invest in South Platte Crossing will benefit Commerce City residents and business owners,” said Commerce City Councilwoman Crystal Elliott. “ULC’s mission of preserving space for nonprofit organizations is an important partnership in enhancing the delivery of social and human services in Commerce City, one of City Council’s priorities, and demonstrates our commitment to support the needs of the community.”

ULC’s first acquisition with MDIF was Harlan Nonprofit Center, a 29,000-sf nonprofit-serving building at 363 S. Harlan St. in Lakewood that currently is home to Lutheran Family Services, a 25-year-old dental practice, and a law firm specializing in education and civil rights law. The building is located near two bus lines an a mile from Belmar.

A third acquisition involves land in Denver that will be developed for affordable for sale housing.

Featured in CREJ’s Jan. 2-15, 2019, issue

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