While those within the affordable housing industry are well aware of the myriad of positive impacts that a new development can have on individuals and a community alike, some doubt still persists in the realm of public opinion. Negative associations with gentrification, or otherwise changing the demographics or cultural background of an area, can create interpersonal and institutional barriers to affordable housing solutions. While safe and affordable homes of all kinds are beneficial, it is by embracing the heritage and history of a community that new developments can be most effective in their mission.
Karl’s Farm, a sprawling 64-acre parcel of land in Northglenn, Colorado, has this initiative at heart. While aiming to create a modern, equitable and diverse neighborhood in one of the fastest-growing areas of the country, it also seeks to pay homage to the family-run business that invigorated the area in the first place. This mission is even reflected in the finest details, including street names such as “Creamery Lane”, “Dairy Street”, and “Karl’s Drive”. Though the plans outline a truly modern development, the heart of this neighborhood remains in its humble history.
Originally a functioning dairy farm founded by Bud and Fern Hinkhouse in 1947, Karl’s Farm became a local staple for offering both fresh dairy products and a wide array of community activities to residents for 65 years.
Though the farmstead itself closed in 2012, it is through the Karl’s Farm neighborhood that its spirit will live on at the planned Karl’s Farm affordable housing development. In fact, members of the Hinkhouse family played an integral role in ensuring that the core values of this development matched those of the family that started it all.
In the aim of creating a “diverse housing stock for all ages, socioeconomic demographics and family types,” as per the city of Northglenn’s website, Karl’s Farm will be home to a state-of-the-art affordable housing development boasting over 164 affordable homes designed specifically for seniors. Future residents will benefit from the same values-driven administration and design as all other Karl’s Farm complex developments. In much the same way that the original Karl’s Farm represented a one-stop shop for not only fresh dairy and produce, but also recreation and community engagement, the combination of dedicated spaces for local businesses, recreational areas and more will honor and echo this legacy. The neighborhood will continue the mission of Karl’s Farm to make life convenient and fun for all.
“We know finding affordable housing is an ongoing challenge for many Coloradans, and we are very pleased to support this innovative neighborhood,” said Jill Edwards, Director of Community Development at Charles Schwab Bank.
Perhaps the best part? All aforementioned amenities and so much more will be created with a “development character that reflects a common aesthetic and helps memorialize the heritage of activities that once occurred on the property,” as stated in the core values laid out by the city of Northglenn. With a set of values forged by the very family that put the area on the map and a developer who understands the importance of preserving and enhancing the land’s heritage, Karl’s Farm will represent a transformative evolution in the history of this community landmark.
“Our team worked to integrate the needs of the city into the larger theme of the master planned community,” said Eric Grodahl of DBG Properties. “We are excited to be able to provide age-restricted affordable housing, a first of its kind in Northglenn, to a very special larger development for the city.”
This important model for successful integration of affordable housing developments is placed in an area in desperate need. Low-income seniors in Colorado currently have very few options for high-quality and affordable housing. According to a study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, nearly 14% of Coloradans are living off the state minimum wage of $12.32 or somewhere near it, while it’s estimated that a wage equivalent to $27.50 an hour is needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market prices. Meanwhile, Colorado Public Radio reports that “…many Coloradans are living on the edge of homelessness and making agonizing choices between keeping a roof over their heads or seeing a doctor or eating a meal. No part of Colorado has been immune to that instability in housing.” All of these issues are compounded by advanced age, which can cause greater need due to medical issues, disability, isolation and lack of employment, among many other roadblocks. Karl’s Farm is an important example for safe, dignified, and equitable housing for seniors in a state that needs it more than ever.
The important example set by the revitalization of this community land is only possible due to the commitment of Charles Schwab Bank, which invests in projects like Karl’s Farm in Colorado and across the country.
“Karl’s Farm will provide not only safe housing, but access to community and a variety of local amenities to seniors in an area of the country that is in great need of affordable housing solutions,” said Alison Anderson, Senior Vice President — Acquisitions at CREA. “I want to extend my thanks on behalf of CREA to our colleagues at Charles Schwab Bank, DBG Properties, Shelter America Group and all those involved in bringing this important development to fruition.”
Karl’s Farm residents will enjoy the following community features and amenities:
- Integrated parks, green areas, and nature trails
- Close and convenient public transportation to downtown Denver, CO, Boulder, CO, and the Denver Airport.
- Access to high-quality local public schools and universities
- Community workspaces with updated technology for personal projects and education
- On-site retail, restaurants and services
- Swimming pool
- Bike shop
- Dog washing station
Financial Support & Partnership: In addition to $18.9MM in low-income tax credit (LIHTC) equity provided through CREA Corporate Tax Credit Fund 73, LP, Karl’s Farm has received financial support through $21.5MM in tax exempt bonds and a $22.7MM Construction to $22.3 Permanent Loan from Citibank, N.A., as well as $22,300,000 issued by Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA).