THINKtank: Affordable Housing

On May 23, Invalesco Real Estate hosted its 13th THINKtank event: Affordable Housing, at Red Line Contemporary Art Gallery in Denver. We heard from a panel of affordable housing experts who discussed their experience getting affordable for sale housing off the ground in Colorado. Topics discussed included the process, opportunities, and challenges that they face. This THINKtank was a full house that included builders and developers, as well those looking to learn more about everything affordable housing-related, including: how to get involved, potential funding sources, and relevant existing legislation.

From our panel of experts who together boast vast knowledge and experience, we learned about legislation that builders and developers can take advantage of to continue to offer affordable housing in the Denver area. We learned from Jeff Shanahan, Founder of Shanahan Development, about what the process looks like to obtain funding. We learned from Stefka Fanchi, President and CEO of Elevation Community Land Trust, how to partner with Elevations Community Land Trust to get affordable housing off the ground. Michael Leahey, Founder and Principal of Castlewood Capital Advisors, discussed the benefits of working on smaller projects.

Finally, one of the most important takeaways from this year's THINKtank is the benefits for individuals who obtain housing through the affordable housing program with Elevations Community Land Trust. Becoming a property owner can help individuals to become financially stable, and to begin to build wealth through real estate. Children of new property owners benefit too; when families with children have a stable residence, children are afforded consistency in their place of education, which can be a factor leading to more academic success.   

With another successful THINKtank behind us, we can reflect on the importance of community, and on what the Invalesco slogan (Stronger Together) actually means to us. We will continue to build on the foundation of our ethos (intergrity, passion and knowledge), and will continue to develop ways to help others with the power of real estate. 

Interested in learning more about Elevations Community Land Trust - click here.

Our Panelists Background:   

Stefka Fanchi holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University and a Master of Arts in International Management with a specialization in Sustainable Development. With fourteen years experience in affordable housing, she specializes in the development of home ownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income families, and public policy development to support that mission. Stefka’s background is in large-scale nonprofit fundraising, and she has held executive-level development positions with statewide nonprofits and municipal government, including Habitat for Humanity of Colorado and the City of Lakewood. She has raised nearly $100 million dollars over the course of her career, and was recognized in 2008 as one of the Denver Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 and in 2009 as one of Midwest CEO Magazine’s Most Influential Women.

Jeff Shanahan graduated from Ferris State University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. In 2008, Jeff started an investment company called JJS Investments where he began investing in several residential properties throughout Denver, as well as a local pizzeria. The pizzeria has grown from average annual sales of $200k to a chain of successful pizzerias with four Denver locations. The five restaurants will collectively generate over $5M in revenue this year alone. In 2009, Jeff Shanahan left M.E. Group to focus on Real Estate development. Since then, Shanahan Development has entitled nearly $260M worth of multifamily, hospitality, retail, and public transit projects, which are either under construction or completed.

Michael Leahey is the founder and principal director of Castlewood Capital Advisors. Across his 20+year career, Michael has worked with a diverse group of clients, from public to private, small to large, domestically and internationally. Some of his best known clients include the US Army, and the USDA; the Cities of Golden, CO, Westminster, CO, Asheville, NC, and Bloomington, IN; the Counties of Chaffee County, CO, Buncombe County, NC, and Orange County, FL; corporations including US Steel, Liberty Mutual Insurance, General Electric, NBC and CNBC, and LDG Development; and nonprofits including the Affordable Housing Corporation, the Community Foundation, the Pacific School of Religion, Warren Wilson University, and the Asheville Art Council.


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