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Lumberyards Project Proposed for South Denver

Real estate investor Jon Cook recently announced plans to build a major urban redevelopment project called The Lumberyards near South Broadway and West Jewell Avenue in Denver’s Overland neighborhood. The site is across South Santa Fe Avenue from Overland Golf Course and includes the former Shattuck Chemical property. The project would potentially begin in 2011 with an 8-story building and would be developed over a number of years as the market allows.  At full build-out, the Lumberyards project would include approximately 1,000 residential units, about 250,000 square feet of office space, and 150,000 square feet of retail. For more details on the project including a site map and conceptual renderings, please read this article from the Denver Post.

Here’s a bird’s eye view of the site from Bing maps:

2010-01-06_lumberyards_birdseye

The southwestern corner of the project area is a quarter-mile from the Evans light rail station on the Southwest line; a bit far to be considered a true Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), but close enough for it to be considered “transit proximate”, and certainly a selling point for the project overall.

The Lumberyards will have to compete with the other big TODs that didn’t get very far along during the last boom, like the Gates project just up the road at Broadway and I-25 and Continuum’s project at I-25 and Belleview. When the next boom finally arrives, TOD may be king of Denver development, with Downtown Denver serving as the biggest Transit-Oriented Development site around.

Overall, this is a good project and one that will hopefully succeed in offering additional housing opportunities for people who may want to live in a denser, urban environment, outside of the Downtown area.

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15 Comments

  1. OJ Shakewell says:

    Would people really want to buy condos at a former Radioactive dump? They better be cheap.

  2. MarkB says:

    I’m all for improvements to a part of town that has been run-down for as long as I can remember, but I question that much retail space–the equivalent of a Super Walmart plus another couple of stores–at that location. This city, state, and country all have too much retail space, but that never seems to stop developers from building more.

  3. Ken says:

    OJ: It’s been cleaned up. After all, the Central Platte Valley had a lot of environmental issues yet that hasn’t prevented it from being a hot residential area.

  4. Levi says:

    Exciting to see pockets of urban development popping up around the transit stations instead of gargantuan parking garages. Any idea who the design team is? (master planner, architect)?

  5. Brian says:

    Its a interesting place for a development, considering its the broadway face of the DU area, but is really far from density so I think will take some time to fill in. Maybe it will get really good deals on granite countertops and such since its right next to all the building supply stores.

    The radiation issue is creepy. I still see places in Lowry that have signs stating you cannot disturb the soil on large plots of land while people are walking their dogs on the sidewalk 5 feet away. I don’t have a scientific basis for this, but I am never living on former cleanup sites because I am afraid of the governents definition of ‘clean’. I would rather renovate an old victorian or historic building which would have potential health issues of its own, is this crazy?

  6. Aaron says:

    Yes Brian, I think you’re crazy. Far worse environmental problems can exist in old homes than generally lie beneath the ground. The Lowry issue involves asbestos in the soil from old buildings the military had demolished many years ago that suddenly popped up when dirt work was beginning in some new areas…

    Asbestos contamination inside of a house is generally far, far worse than that outside. Think about the concentration of fibers in a home with relatively stale air vs. outside with constant air changes…

    Of course, I would want to know what the definition of “clean” is before purchasing a property in this development, but still, I wouldn’t be too worried about it.

    But maybe this is from having some environmental consultant experience. :)

  7. Rob C says:

    Plus, this developer already owns much of the land needed to make this a reality. I wish him the best of luck!

  8. Allen says:

    While I hope this project succeeds, I’m not entirely convinced a project like this can work. Of course it depends on the details. How much are the condos going to be sold for and what size / amenities will they have?

    But this is really in the middle of no where. It’s early post-WWII suburbia. There’s nothing in it’s immediate vicinity that’s particularly interesting or attractive. The access to downtown via light rail will be nice. But most of the job growth over the next couple of decades is expected to continue on the SE I25 corridor (1/3 of metro office space is there) along with DIA / Pena / I70 and Interlochen. Downtown isn’t expected to see robust growth. So what is going to be compelling about living here versus RINO, Belmar, Interlochen or countless other town center / TOD type projects that aren’t being built in the urban core.

  9. ScottG says:

    Allen,

    Your analysis of the area is rather off. Overland is just on the other side of Broadway from Platt Park, which is not post-WWII suburbia but mainly pre-war 20th century bungalows and Victorians. Additionally Platt Park and Rosedale immediately to the south have two of the fastest rising home values in the Denver metro area.

    It is within walking distance of Pearl Street and easy biking distance to the entire DU/Washington Park/Bonnie Brae/Gaylord street/Cherry Creek area. Additionally the Gates redevelopment will inevitably be revived in some form creating a new magnet for growth on the west side of Broadway.

    South Broadway itself is also undergoing a revival, a major project is underway to renovate that entire stretch of Broadway and as strange as it may sound, the whole Broadsterdam phenomena created by the medical marijuana dispensaries will help make the area more attractive for the creative element.

    Urbanism is really gaining momentum, and more and more people are deciding that life in an office park( the SE 125 corridor), a new urbanist island (Belmar?, come on now, its nice and all but what the hell is there to do outside of its limited confines in Lakewood) or whatever sprawlish hell that will develop along the I70/Pena corridor, is not for them.

    So I would have to say that although there is no guarantee of success for this project, its location is not its major problem.

  10. Scott D says:

    A) Super Fund cleaned up that site…which is more than anyone can say about Lowry and Stapleton.
    B) The issues at Lowry and Stapleton is the chemical seepage (de-icer and ‘Jet A’ fuel anyone?) into the soils. Outside of scraping off the top 5 feet of soil and replacing it, these problems will always be there.
    C) Access to Evans Light Rail is key but not as easy and convenient as one would hope…and relationship to DU is preposterously disconnected and not a positive IMHO.
    D) Let’s all hope things turn around sooner rather than later so this project and the Gates project can get going…those two together have a chance of making Santa Fe south of I-25 less than hideous…and that is a very good thing.

  11. Chad says:

    ScottG, I complete agree with what you said. I’m not entirely sure about the environmental friendlyness of the area, but I used to work about 1 mile west of the area and a few years ago it would have been a great place to call home. While it is a little bit south, it is still close to the Broadway bars north of the highway like 3 kings, Blue Ice, or La Rhumba, and younger adults might find it convenient towards the downtown area. I also agree that it is close to the DU and Wash Park areas (within biking distances, at least). Plus the upgrades of Broadway there make it poised to be a decent area.

    While it isn’t somewhere I would live now being in my early thirties, if I was 5 years younger it would be a serious consideration for me. I think that if Gates takes off, this area will, too.

  12. ScottG says:

    Scott D,

    This development is on the east side of Santa Fe, immediately west of and along Broadway. To get to DU from there you could get on a bike and ride down lightly traveled and attractively tree lined E Asbury Ave. for a little over a mile. The only major Street you would have have to cross is Broadway, Logan and Downing aren’t exactly daunting thoroughfares in that part of town. So while it might not be horribly convenient for students (they most likely couldn’t afford the residences anyway) it does make the amenities of the DU area very accessible.

  13. Chris Horst says:

    Ken,

    Love your blog. Long-time reader. Question about the RSS feed. Recently I’ve been only getting a snippet (the first paragraph) rather than the full content. Did you intentionally make that change.

    Chris

  14. Ken says:

    Chris, the clipped RSS feed is not something we did intentionally that I’m aware of, so we’ll look into it. Thanks. – Ken

  15. Ken says:

    Chris, found the appropriate setting and am pretty sure I fixed it. Let me know if it shows the full post now. – Ken