Den­ver snaps up rights to RTD lot

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Jon Murray Jon Murray: 303-954-1405, jmur­ray@den­ver­post.com or twit­ter.com/JonMur­ray

The Re­gional Trans­porta­tion District has given Den­ver’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fice the green light to pur­sue af­ford­able hous­ing de­vel­op­ment for a va­cant lot owned by the tran­sit agency in Five Points.

The city early next year plans to so­licit com­pet­i­tive bids from de­vel­op­ers to build con­dos aimed at buy­ers of mixed in­comes, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease. The site, now a park­ing lot, is at 2907-2915 Wel­ton St., across the street from RTD’s cen­tral rail line.

RTD’s Board of Di­rec­tors voted Tues­day to give the city a pur­chase op­tion on the land. City of­fi­cials can as­sign that op­tion to the cho­sen de­vel­oper, which would pay a price set by a fair-mar­ket ap­praisal, the re­lease says.

It’s un­clear how many con­dos will re­sult, and what por­tion will be re­served for pur­chase by buy­ers who meet in­come re­stric­tions.

Den­ver has tar­geted the site for its sec­ond re­cent ef­fort to spur af­ford­able condo con­struc­tion in a mar­ket that has seen lit­tle such de­vel­op­ment, even for mar­ket-rate projects.

The Den­ver Of­fice of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment ear­lier this fall loaned $3 mil­lion to de­vel­oper Con­flu­ence Com­pa­nies to help with the pur­chase of land for a mixed-in­come condo project next to the 41st and Fox sta­tion on the soon-toopen G Line com­muter rail.

“It takes strate­gic, proac­tive ef­forts like this to put home­own­er­ship within reach of the hard-work­ing res­i­dents of our great city,” Mayor Michael Han­cock said in the re­lease.

RTD will be rep­re­sented on a se­lec­tion panel that con­sid­ers de­vel­op­ers’ bids for the Wel­ton Street prop­erty.

“RTD is proud to part­ner with Den­ver to help fa­cil­i­tate an­other tran­sit-ori­ented com­mu­nity,” said Dave Gen­ova, RTD’s gen­eral man­ager and CEO. “We are es­pe­cially pleased that Den­ver will be mak­ing af­ford­able hous­ing a key fo­cus for this lo­ca­tion.”

A 10-year, $150 mil­lion af­ford­able hous­ing plan spear­headed by Han­cock and the City Coun­cil won ap­proval in Septem­ber. It will draw on prop­erty taxes and new de­vel­op­ment im­pact fees to ex­pand the re­sources avail­able for af­ford­able hous­ing project loans and sub­si­dies, but crit­ics have ar­gued the plan is too mod­er­ate to make a se­ri­ous dent in Den­ver’s af­ford­able hous­ing prob­lem.

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