New marijuana tax could help Denver spend $105 million more on affordable housing

Hancock described the marijuana industry as “stepping up” and asking to be part of the solution.

Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration on Monday announced a proposal to double the city’s production and preservation of affordable housing in the next five years, raising up to $105 million of long-term debt while increasing annual spending.

The change could include an increase in the local sales tax on marijuana.

“We have heard the public, city council and the Housing Advisory Committee in their desire to see a greater investment in affordable housing,” said chief financial officer Brendan Hanlon.

The goal is to increase the preservation and creation of affordable housing units — from about 3,000 units to at least 6,400 over the next five years. Thousands of the units would be new construction, while others would be renovations or redevelopments of current units.



Welton Street isn’t Cherry Creek yet, but businesses are adjusting to a whiter clientele

Welton Street’s residents have changed as Five Points has gentrified. Businesses, faced with a different local clientele, can adapt or try to attract people from outside of the neighborhood.

The 715 Club and Rosenberg's Bagels and Delicatessen on Welton Street, March 15, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; denverite; kevinjbeaty; colorado; five points; welton street;
The 715 Club and Rosenberg’s Bagels and Delicatessen on Welton Street, March 15, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

As gentrification sweeps across Denver, few places show it quite like Welton Street in Five Points, where the tension between the neighborhood’s history and new development is on prominent display along one strip.

On its face, gentrification is simply an economic function, the physical manifestations of investment and development in an underserved area. These changes however are not purely cosmetic and can come with a host of consequences that disproportionately affect minorities and low-income folks — people who typically reside in areas primed for heavy gentrification.

On Welton Street, gentrification has transformed a once predominantly black residential area into a luxury apartment-lined strip longtime residents can hardly recognize. The demographics in the area have changed nearly as quickly as the structures themselves.


Former gallery space at Colfax and York will become a bakery, ice cream shop and exercise studio

“It’s just a great little jewel box on a corner.”

2260 E. Colfax Ave, March 26, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) commercial real estate; colfax; denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty;
2260 E. Colfax Ave, March 26, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The nearly 90-year-old building that sits on the corner of Colfax Avenue and York Street has been vacant ever since Abend Gallery moved downtown in May of 2017 — windows papered over and little sign of movement.

But now, there’s movement. And actual signs about the future.


Denver prepares for Elitch Gardens’ next ride in Central Platte Valley

Elitch Gardens first opened at its downtown Denver location on a cool May day in 1995

Mike Peak, a carpenter for Hensel Phelps construction, works on concrete forms for the Kiddieland Pond wall, at the new Elitch's. (Steve Groer/Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/RMN-058-9021)
Mike Peak, a carpenter for Hensel Phelps construction, works on concrete forms for the Kiddieland Pond wall, at the new Elitch’s. (Steve Groer/Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/ RMN-058-9021)

Elitch Gardens opened at its downtown Denver location on a cool May day in 1995, after seven years of planning and 11 months of construction.

Leaders at the time wanted to give the historic amusement park more room to expand than the center’s former home near West 38th Avenue and Tennyson Street in West Highland allowed. Two decades later, city officials are planning what to do with all the extra land around Elitch Gardens and Theme Park.