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The Lafayette Urban Renewal Authority (LURA) is the lead public entity promoting Old Town Lafayette's revitalization. LURA works in partnership with the City of Lafayette, private property owners, and businesses to remove blight, rehabilitate existing structures, attract new mixed-use development, and improve streetscapes to create an inviting and vibrant downtown.
Urban renewal is a tool used by local governments across the country to address the deterioration and conditions of blight within urban areas. Urban renewal can be used for development and rehabilitation when blighted conditions act as a barrier. It is a method for restoring economic vitality and improving the health and safety of urban areas.
Blight is a legal term used to determine whether a neighborhood or commercial area can qualify for redevelopment or rehabilitation through urban renewal. Not every home or building in an urban renewal area is considered blighted. Some areas that qualify for redevelopment may have well-maintained homes or businesses interspersed among deteriorating structures and other conditions of blight. It is important to remember that the term blight can often feel subjective or vague. Because of this, Colorado Urban Renewal Law defines "conditions of blight.” To learn more about what is considered blight, please refer to Urban Renewal Definitions C.R.S. 31-25-103
Tax Increment Financing is a public financing tool used to subsidize municipal economic development projects, including removing blighted conditions, infrastructure, redevelopment, rehabilitation, and other community improvement projects. When a TIF district is established, the amount of property and sales tax generated is set as the district’s base amount. As redevelopment takes place, any tax collected above the base amount is reinvested into the area to fund urban renewal projects and improvements.
We work in partnership with the City of Lafayette, private property owners, and businesses to ensure all redevelopment or rehabilitation efforts continue to attract visitors, fuel economic vitality, and emphasize the uniqueness, diversity, and historical value of Lafayette. LURA is working to make Public and Baseline Roads and Simpson Street welcoming places for those within our community and from neighboring communities to spend their days and evenings.
LURA’s involvement is important because projects have unique challenges when blighted conditions are present. Contamination can burden previously developed sites through years of neglect, requiring significant work to restore their potential. The tax increment financing available through urban renewal allows communities to invest in thoughtful projects by filling the investment “gap” where properties or buildings are hindered by blight. Without urban renewal, it would be harder for property owners to tackle the challenges associated with redevelopment or rehabilitation.
LURA works with private property owners, businesses, tenants, and the City on development, redevelopment, and rehabilitation projects in the Urban Renewal District. As part of this work, LURA will enter into an economic development agreement to provide loans or grants with the "tax increment” to fund a portion of the investment. The tax revenue must be used on improvements that advance the urban renewal plan and provide public benefits, such as site clearance, streets, utilities, parks, the removal of hazardous materials, building improvements, or acquiring real property. Since each project is unique, LURA will evaluate projects on their consistency with the urban renewal plan and the potential revenue relative to the cost of improvements.
In 2022, LURA launched the Old Town Façade Improvement Program, which provides matching grants to business and property owners who wish to make exterior improvements to commercial and residential buildings within the Old Town Urban Renewal District. The LURA Old Town Facade Improvement Program enhances and preserves the unique character of Old Town Lafayette, improves the economic vitality and marketability of the downtown, and creates an inviting downtown environment that will encourage visitors to stay in Old Town for extended periods of time. To learn more about this competitive grant program and how to apply, visit www.LafayetteCO.gov/facade-program
There is no additional assessment of properties within an urban renewal area and no increase in the mill levy with the formation of the district. The value of the property improved by new construction or rehabilitation rises. Properties that are not rehabilitated generally remain unaffected or experience an increase in value because of improvements to nearby properties or because public improvements have added a general benefit to the area. The development community often perceives properties located within an urban renewal area as valuable because of the availability of financial incentives which are not available outside the district.
Owners and businesses benefit from public and private commitments and investments through association and proximity. LURA provides financing for projects that further revitalize, create jobs, improve property values, generate new tax dollars, and ensure investment in public amenities such as infrastructure and public art.
Urban renewal projects can include the redevelopment or demolition of an existing building but may also include the rehabilitation of existing structures. Rehabilitation of existing structures can assist with retaining and expanding small businesses and enhance the unique character of Old Town Lafayette.
The Colorado Urban Renewal Law authorizes tax increment financing (TIF) for 25 years. The TIF revenue starts collecting for the defined area when the urban renewal plan is formally adopted. While the TIF will expire after 25 years, the Urban Renewal Authority may continue to use funds and remediate blight within the urban renewal area for as long as funds are available.
LURA believes public input is vital to revitalizing Old Town Lafayette. The Authority looks forward to the public’s help, guidance, and assistance in determining the community’s vision within the district. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of the month at 5:30 pm at City Hall. For more information, contact LURA Executive Director Brigid Keating at (303-661-1262) or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.