While many localities talk about putting affordable housing near transit stops, metropolitan Denver is actually doing something about it. After voters passed a sales tax initiative in November to extend the region's light rail line, the mayors of seven local districts and the Colorado Housing Finance Agency, or CHFA, pledged $53 million to developers of low- to moderate-income housing near transit stations.
Half of the money will come from the private activity bonds of Denver, Centennial, Lakewood, Arvada, Littleton, Northglenn, and Westminster. CHFA then matched these contributions and agreed to administer the fund.
“When the bill passed by an overwhelming margin, the message [from the voters] was that people were really tired of being in rush-hour traffic and were really interested in light rail,” says Kristine McLain, legislative and media liaison for CHFA. “Then we began to talk about transit oriented development in earnest.”
McLain says developers who meet underwriting and qualifying criteria will apply for the financing the same way they do for other affordable projects.
Arthur McDermott, owner of McDermott Properties, an affordable and market-rate multifamily developer in Denver, plans to apply for funds for a new development near the Westminster transit station. “We're going to follow that up with a market-rate project,” McDermott says, “and then we're going to follow that up with a for-sale condo and townhome project.”