Columbia Ventures Opens Viña Apartments in Denver, CO

Published on May 04, 2022

Permanent Large Scale and Deep Affordability Achievement in Elyria-Swansea Neighborhood

Columbia Ventures has created a new, landmark community in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood of Denver that’s under dramatic displacement pressure due to rising prices. Featuring 150 units of quality housing with a significant medical clinic and ancillary retail, the development is a permanent commitment to workforce and affordable housing.

“We’ve now carved out the first phase of this community just steps from the 48th & Brighton National Western Center Station RTD station,” said Columbia Ventures’ Managing Partner Dillon Baynes. “And it delivers—half of the apartments are targeted at teacher and first responder incomes (80% of area median income), and half target incomes at the 30% and 50% of area median income levels. This is real affordability.”

Viña Apartments offers units ranging from studios to three bedrooms with a suite of modern amenities.

“The City and County of Denver is proud to partner to deliver affordable housing, enabling households of all income levels to benefit from mass transit for generations to come,” said Britta Fisher, executive director of Denver’s Department of Housing Stability.

Columbia Ventures worked closely with the community and neighborhood stakeholders to ensure that the development will serve the needs of families teetering on the edge of displacement and looking for quality affordable housing options in the area.

“The community provided input on everything from unit mix to levels of affordability, to muralist selection and desired uses for the retail space,” according to Diana Stoian, who developed Viña on behalf of Columbia Ventures. “Most importantly, we were able to partner with Tepeyac Community Health Center to ensure affordable housing is paired with quality healthcare, which will ultimately lead to improved health outcomes in the community.”

Early entitlement work and acquisition by Denver based Urban Land Conservancy (ULC) yielded a unique public private partnership through a 99-year renewable land lease. ULC utilized the Metro Denver Impact Facility (MDIF) a dedicated revolving loan source made available through FirstBank and other Colorado-based foundations., as well as a $1.5 million loan from the City and County of Denver, to acquire the property. The $57 million development has been four years in the making.

“This is an important milestone because it demonstrates the power of collaboration between three distinct partners and the community,” said Baynes.

Public finance partners for Viña included Denver’s Department of Housing Stability (HOST), Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, and the Colorado Division of Housing, which enabled deeper levels of affordability. HOST provided a $3,750,000 cash flow loan to support construction.

Future phases will provide additional housing, retail, and offices and are expected to break ground in 2023.

Tepeyac Community Health Center, a community health center currently operating at capacity in the Globeville neighborhood, will expand its core medical, dental and behavioral health services at a 24,500 square-foot facility at Viña at the end of this year. Tepeyac has been a trusted medical care provider to the community for more than 27 years.

“Many of our patients are essential frontline workers who are an integral part of our economy and live with disproportionate health risks, like COVID-19,” said Jim Garcia, Chief Executive Officer of Tepeyac Community Health Center. “Our families often need a combination of services and resources that we will be able to offer in our new, and significantly larger, clinical facility.” 

Viña is the latest city-supported affordable housing development to open in Denver. A total of 1,202 affordable units that have received city financing are currently under construction at 25 sites throughout Denver. An additional 779 income-restricted units are in the planning stage.