Mayor Hancock Testifies in Favor of State Senate Bill 177
Mayor Michael B. Hancock testified on March 18 at the Colorado State Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee hearing on SB-177, Construction Defects Legislation. The Mayor testified in favor of the proposed legislation, and articulated how the bill is critical to remove barriers and help Denver provide its residents with access to safe, decent, affordable housing in a time of significant growth.
“I want to thank the sponsors of SB-177 for their leadership and specifically to Senate President Cadman for your leadership allowing this bill the time and attention it deserves.
Denver and Colorado continue to be ranked among the fastest growing cities and states in the nation. In Denver, we saw 100,000 people move to our city in the past decade, and we are forecasted to see about another 100,000 in the next 10 years. People are coming to Denver and Colorado because they now see what we have seen all along, this is a great place to live, work and play. Construction and development are helping to create jobs and opportunity, positioning Denver and Colorado as the ideal place to start a business, build a career and raise a family.
The issue we are faced with now is making sure that everyone who wants to live here, including our teachers and our firefighters, all have an affordable and accessible place to live. “As the Mayor of Denver, I know that any vibrant, successful city will depend on a true mix of housing types to accommodate the needs of various populations. This includes attainably priced for-sale, multifamily homes that appeal to our growing population of young millennials, first-time home buyers and older residents looking to downsize their homes.
But here in Denver, we are not seeing this market grow like we hope. Even with the increased pace of development and a jump in issued building permits, condo development is still dramatically below pre-recession levels and well below levels in comparable cities. “In some cases, like downtown, for-sale, multifamily homes are almost nonexistent. In fact, the only Denver condo projects currently being built are at a price point that is out of reach for many. Because this option is limited to so few in our community right now, renters across the city are feeling the price pressure, pushing our city into a high-cost category and beginning to price out too many of our hard-working residents.
With the passage of FasTracks, we have made a multibillion dollar investment in our neighborhoods and communities. In Denver, there are 41 station sites that represent incredible transit-oriented development opportunities. Transit oriented development sites provide the chance to invest in a number of important goals for our city: Promoting multi-modal transportation options; Encouraging density and environmental sustainability; Offering a mix of retail uses and – notably – a diversity of housing types; and Connecting our residents with opportunities for jobs, healthcare and education; “These goals cannot be met if residents do not have the opportunity to own homes near transit.
Home ownership represents a true investment in the community, and these areas of new development in a largely built-out city should be an opportunity to encourage new home owners as part of the mix. We need their commitment and their energy. I have said before and I will say it again that I have the audacity to believe that anyone who wants to live in the city should not be forced out because of costs. That should apply to home ownership as well as to affordable rental housing. We must provide opportunity for affordable for-sale housing in Denver and the State of Colorado for those who seek it. As the economy continues to grow and we continue to add new jobs, we must have the diversity of housing available to meet the needs of these new employees.
We have observed that there is an artificial barrier to for-sale multifamily housing being built in Denver due to current laws. But the passage of SB-177 makes progress in correcting this imbalance so that the market can meet the demand in a cost-effective manner, while providing options for home owners and builders that allow them to resolve their issues before resorting to lengthy and expensive legal action.
That’s why I stand with many of you here in support of SB-177, which offers a substantive solution to a pressing impediment to construction of for-sale affordable multifamily housing. It offers a substantive solution to help keep Denver a city of opportunity for all.”