Tierra Colectiva Land Trust Increases Housing Units

By Eric Heinz

The G.E.S. Coalition’s community land trust, Tierra Colectiva, recently almost doubled the number of units it is selling to people for much less than the average market rate.

“This has been a really long process that has involved a lot of neighbors pushing it through,” G.E.S. Coalition Director Nola Miguel said. “We really had to get the partners in place, but the neighbors here that you see have been fighting for this.”

Five new units, equipped for small families, were recently added at 4401 N. Josephine St., and the land trust has already constructed six units with some duplexes. The land trust is owned by the Globeville, Elyria, and Swansea community members.

“The thing I always say is that it provides what the market isn’t providing, which right now is affordable housing, especially affordable homeownership,” Miguel said. “But there are a lot of other things a land trust can provide, like a grocery store, an (early child education) center. Those things are hard to get space for.”

Miguel said the homes are going to be sold between $190,000 to $215,000, which are intended for people making 50% to 60% of the area median income. The average selling price for a single-family home in the Denver Metro Area in October was above $660,000, according to the Colorado Association of Realtors.

 Contractors set a modular home at 4401 Josephine St. Photo by Eric Heinz

Tierra Colectiva was founded in 2016 with support from The G.E.S. Coalition and Colorado Community Land Trust since 2017. Additional units are planned for 4151 Fillmore St. and two more tandem homes are planned in Globeville, which will eventually increase the number of land trust units to 18.

Denver-based Brothers Redevelopment Inc. has been assisting with the grant that funded the modular homes. The total cost for them was $1.7 million, and Brothers acquired the land in 2019. Jeff Martinez, the president of Brothers, said the pandemic delayed getting the homes in place.

“The neighbors, I think, like what we’re doing and they’ve been really the drivers of all this, but it takes a village to make this housing happen,” Martinez said.

Martinez said $2 million was given to the coalition from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) for housing and another $600,000 was recently acquired from the Colorado Health Foundation. The goal of the land trust is to prevent people from being displaced from the area by creating more affordable options and accessible housing, real-estate, and community-ownership of land.

Tierra Colectiva is also in conversations with CDOT about reclaiming lots that were left over from the I-70 Central project, where they could potentially build new homes.

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