Colorado Governor Jared Polis is asking the State Land Board to help provide more housing space for the state’s public teachers.
That effort has seen the State Land Board leasing out property owned by the state at 1275 Sherman Street in the Capital Hill area of Denver to a private developer.
In turn, the developer, Denver-based Mile High Development, has agreed to tear down two abandoned warehouses in order to make way for the construction of a $31 million six-story affordable housing project that will include 103 housing units.
As part of the multi-layered deal, Mile High Development is receiving up to $2.2 million in tax credits and has agreed to return some $200,000 for use by the state’s public schools.
The State Land Board oversees around 2.8 million acres in trust lands, as well as up to 650,000 square feet of commercial real estate. The trust lands are usually leased out for such enterprises as energy exploration and farming.
Revenue earned from leases is then sent back to Colorado’s public schools. In the last decade such revenue has equaled more than $1.4 billion.
Polis, in a public letter to State Land Board President Gary Butterworth, has proposed that the trust lands “could be utilized to create affordable housing solutions for teachers in Colorado.”
Exactly how much of those lands could be turned over to affordable housing development, and how many private developers would be interested in such a program, is not yet known.
According to the Colorado Department of Education, the average salary last year for a teacher in the state was almost $53,000, substantially below the $61,700 national average.
At the same time, rents in Colorado, particularly in metro Denver, are beginning at $1,700 per month for a one-bedroom apartment.
By Garry Boulard
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