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A $4 million loan from Intermountain Health to fund more affordable housing in Colorado will help build a parcel of rental properties at the controversial Uplands development in south Westminster.

The Intermountain Health loan is going to the non-profit Mercy Community Capital, part of Mercy Housing, which provides innovative financing arrangements to developers of affordable housing when conventional financing is not available or affordable, according to an Intermountain Health news release.

The loan will ultimately serve low-and moderate-income communities, including the Overlook parcel in the Uplands. The news release states that this 247-unit affordable rental property at Overlook will have 182 units at or below 60% Area Medium Income (AMI), and 65 units at or below 70% AMI.

Intermountain Health’s loan will help the city of Westminster reach its goals of providing more homes for working-class families, said Westminster spokesman Andy Le.

Controversial project

The Uplands development, located west of 88th Avenue and Irving Street, drew loud opposition before it was approved by the Westminster City Council in 2021.  Oread Capital & Development called for converting 234 acres of mostly century-old farmland into 2,350 housing units.

Critics said the development would lead to sprawl, worsen traffic and strain local infrastructure and schools. Protestors were on hand in October 2023 at the development’s groundbreaking.

Oread Capital and Development said the Uplands is environmentally sustainable and will add to the city’s affordable housing stock. Plans call for the construction of 300-plus units that will be priced for those making between 30% and 80% of the area median income, according to the Uplands website.

Intermountain Health’s investment is part of its Place Based Investment, aiming to build healthier, more inclusive communities, according to a news release. 

Besides the Overlook parcel at the Uplands, the loan will also help serve people with low incomes, seniors, farmworkers, formerly unhoused people and people with special needs. 

“Bringing critical affordable housing to those most in need does not happen without partners like Intermountain Health,” said Stefanie Joy, President of Mercy Community Capital in the news release. “We are grateful for the investment Intermountain Health is making to build more much-needed affordable, inclusive communities in Colorado.”  

The investment is a continuation of the partnership Mercy Community Capital had with SCL Health, which merged with Intermountain in 2022. SCL Health first invested with Mercy Housing in 1998, according to the news release. 

The loan will provide funds for acquisition, construction, bridge, or predevelopment financing. Housing developments may include single- and multi-family units and rental and homeownership for low-income families and individuals, the news release states.

 In addition to Colorado, Mercy Community Capital has provided loans in 44 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Mercy Community Capital has also provided loans in Intermountain Health’s services areas, including Colorado, the news release states.  

Nicholas Fritz, Intermountain Impact Investing director, said in the news release that these types of investments are an added resource to the communities served by the healthcare organization.  

“Institutions like Mercy Community Capital are the lifeblood of affordable housing development,” Fritz said. “We are proud to deepen our long-standing partnership with Mercy. We view safe, healthy, and affordable housing as a prerequisite to achieving good health and are happy to support its development in the communities we serve.” 

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