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Transformative Development

Speakers and Session Participants

Topics discussed with our program partners included…

  • Incorporating participatory design and community input into the development
  • Understanding how CoA zoning and code roadblocks affect deal financing
  • Debt, tax credits, TIF/TAD financing
  • Equity (working with impact investors, community investors and philanthropy)
  • Designing equitable capital stacks for housing and mixed-use projects
  • Reimagining exits via community ownership and permanently affordable models

Local Zoning Policies have a major impact on smaller infill developers. Building affordable multifamily and mixed-use sites on vacant and underused sites often requires zoning variances, which can be difficult, time consuming and resource-intensive to obtain. Restrictive zoning ultimately becomes a barrier to developers and reduces the available amount of land available.

True affordable housing often does not fit the lending criteria for traditional banks, leading community developers to rely on CDFIs and their more patient repayment terms. However, many CDFIs are unable to provide working capital, predevelopment and land acquisition financing, which are the some of the cohort’s most common pain points that prevent project launch.

High costs of capital often stymie projects before they can get off the ground. Being forced to fit transformational projects into traditional lending structures leaves developers reliant on market-rate investments that cede ownership or having to compromise affordability to meet market pressures. Both debt and equity become unaffordable, inhibiting developers from breaking ground.


2021 Cohort Report

At the conclusion of the program, the collective organizations co-authored a report of challenges for neighborhood-scale developers of color and recommendations for advancing equitable development.


2023 Transformative Development Report