DENVER — Mile high home prices and rising inequality have landed Denver second in the nation for gentrification.
A new study by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition found gentrification is not only growing but impacting more neighborhoods in the city.
"What we noticed in the very beginning was a racialized impact because of the way we separated our neighborhoods originally, and the government disinvestment translated into cheaper land," Denver City Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca said.
Gentrification happens when a neighborhood suddenly becomes more affluent and pushes out long term residents.
The study found over 27% of neighborhoods in the Denver-Aurora area were gentrified. While the focus has been on Denver's Five Points neighborhood, western and northern parts of the city are now being impacted.
CdeBaca says linkage fees on developers have failed to raise enough funding for affordable housing. She says work needs to be done at the state level to change how property taxes are mandated and help keep people in their homes during the pandemic.
"The linkage fee didn't even generate the $15 million they expected it to, so here we are with an inability to impose mandates on developers because it would be interpreted as rent control," CdeBaca said.
Real estate nonprofit Urban Land Conservancy supports the actions Denver has taken so far.
"I give a lot of credit to the city of Denver they have put money into affordable housing unlike any other municipality in the metro area," President of Urban Land Conservancy Aaron Miripol said.
Urban Land Conservancy purchases land and buildings to develop long term affordable housing and business spaces.
Miripol says there needs to be a regional approach to fixing gentrification that involves many organizations with land at the center of the discussion.
"By taking land out of the equation, we can make sure it isn't going to be speculated and developed into market-rate uses," Miripol said.
Rising home values and property taxes have pushed long term residents and businesses out of Five Points in Denver. Changing the demographics of the historic black neighborhood.
There is now a petition to change the name of the popular and wealthy River North District back to Five Points.
"It's been heavy in my heart since 2018 as soon as I saw articles about it being glorified. Different states knew about RiNo but didn't know about Five Points history," petition organizer Shannon Martin said.
Martin's father owned a business in Five Points for 26 years before he died. Martin wants to change the name back to Five Points to uplift communities of color.
"When I was a kid, there were a lot of black-owned businesses down there. It was known for that," Martin said. "There is a sliver of Five Points they are investing in, but the boundaries of the RiNo Arts District are a large portion of Five Points."
RiNo Arts District sent us the following statement and said they will be meeting to discuss the petition:
"We are following the petition and listening to the concerns of the community. As one of 26 state certified art districts, we have always been inclusive of the five historic neighborhoods of Globeville, Cole, Five Points and Elryia-Swansea that we are a part of. We are focused on advocating and promoting the artists, makers, galleries and small businesses in the area through our projects and programs. These include CRUSH WALLS, RiNo Made Salons, the RiNo Support Fund, and Social Impact Grants to support organizations in Five Points, Globeville, Cole, and Elyria-Swansea that work directly with the BIPOC community championing social justice, equity, and the eradication of racial discrimination....we will continue to work with the community to ensure the Art District, as an organization, honors the rich culture and history of the Five Points neighborhood and its residents."