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Downtown Denver Residential Developments: July 2014 Update

It’s been six months since our January 2014 review of the status of Downtown Denver’s many multifamily residential projects, so it’s time for an update!

First, a quick note about our tracking criteria: Projects included in the map and tables below are those that are (a.) new construction multifamily residential—rental or for-sale, (b.) ten units or more, (c.) completed, under construction, or proposed since January 2012, and (d.) located within a 1.5-mile radius of a geographic central point (17th and Arapahoe) in Downtown Denver. Projects outside of the green circle but within the extent of the Google Earth aerial image are not shown. A project is included in the Proposed category if (a.) a development application has been filed with the city, (b.) the specific project location is known, and (c.) the number of units is known. We have not blogged yet about several of the projects in the Proposed list as renderings and other details are not yet available. Don’t forget to check out our Project Map on the right sidebar for all the infill projects we’re tracking here at DenverInfill.

Below is our July 2014 Downtown Denver New Multifamily Residential Developments map. Click on the map image below to view in a new window at full size (2400 pixels wide), or use the following link to view and download the map as a high-resolution PDF file (about 3 MB) that you can share with your friends: July 2014 Downtown Denver New Multifamily Residential Developments Map

2014-07-21_downtown-denver-new-multifamily-developments-July-2014-map

Next is our table with the project details. Click on the table to view at full size or click here for a PDF version.

2014-07-21_downtown-denver-new-multifamily-developments-July-2014-table

Since our January 2014 update, six projects (light blue) totaling 674 units have been completed. This results in a sum of 3,656 multifamily residential units that have been completed within a 1.5-mile radius of the center of Downtown since January 2012.

Only two townhome projects (light green) totaling 32 units moved from Proposed to Under Construction within the past six months. Nevertheless, there are still 3,764 units currently under construction in Downtown, so a slowdown in the number of new projects breaking ground within the past six months may be a reasonable “wait and see” reaction by the market. Assuming all of the developments under construction are completed by mid-2015, the Downtown Denver area will have gained almost 7,500 new housing units in a 3.5-year timeframe.

Nevertheless, while the number of recent project groundbreakings has been minimal, there was no shortage of new proposed projects since January. Highlighted in light purple, twelve new multifamily developments totaling 2,203 units were either publicly announced (such as 17W and SkyHouse) and/or have been submitted to the city planning department, giving us a total of 5,113 residential units on the drawing board for Downtown Denver. Not included in this total (or in our list) are several more multifamily housing projects that have been submitted to the city for review, but for which we haven’t yet confirmed either the exact location or the unit count. That means the number of proposed units in our 1.5-mile radius area may be closer to 6,000. Of course, some of these developments are destined to never get off the drawing board. It will be interesting to observe over the next six months which of these proposed projects break ground!

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17 Comments

  1. UrbanZen says:

    Great summary, thanks Ken! It looks like the boom is finally slowing in Highland, and shifting to Golden Triangle and Uptown. I imagine this is a result of both the increased price of land in Lower Highland and the move towards apartments almost exclusively due to the construction defect mess.

    • Jeff says:

      I don’t think it is slowing in “Highland,” especially Lower Highland. You’ve got some things along the 38th corridor, and then a big project at 28th and Vallejo/Wyandot where the school just vacated should be getting started. There are also numerous townhome sites either under construction or about to start construction (one on Zuni is already being marketed), as well as all the construction along Platte St. There’s also the new mixed use on Umatilla between 29th/30th. Actually about as much construction in Lohi as I remember having lived in the neighborhood for 3 years now…

    • Jeffrey says:

      Urban, I keep hearing this, possibly from you? I don’t follow the logic, however. The purchaser of a building, which he/she will want to rent out units, should be just as concerned with construction defects as an individual purchasing a condo. Either way, if defects are an issue it affects the value of their investment. So why would defects be, as you suggest, an issue for condos only? Doesn’t make sense to me.

      • UrbanZen says:

        Yes, but remember we’re talking about a developer of a building vs. a purchaser of an established building. In a new for sale multi-family development, a small number of the occupants can come together and sue the developer directly via the HOA for repairs. A lot of these suits happen outside the construction warrnaty period, and can be for non-code violation issues. In Colorado, your chance of being sued is nearly 100%. The developer could always try to recoup some the award they are ordered to pay from the GC, but contractor’s are skilled in using change orders, schedule delays, and design flaws as a potent defense. In a rental development, any battle over shoddy work is directly between the developer and the GC. And my guess is the developer is holding some retainage until the warranty period expirees. Any major code violations would be discovered during this time. Then down the road it becomes the developer’s prerogative to fix something or not (outside what might be stated in the rental agreement or something life threatening). Even further down the road, any new buyer of the apartment building would have an inspection performed, then it’s caveat emptor.

        • Jeff says:

          Urbanzen, do you have a source for the statistic of it being nearly 100% chance of being sued? There were condo developments on the drawing board that got shelved or scrapped during the recession. Seems like the defect litigation has a negative impact, but I would imagine national lending rules and practices that changed are as much or more to blame.

          Developers are still building “multi-family” all over town in the form of attached townhomes, so its not all apartment construction.

          • Dan says:

            I’m no expert in this matter so maybe I shouldn’t reply, but from what I gather the construction defect laws in Colorado are some of the most penal in the US. I believe the developer can be sued for 3x the cost of replacement and many cases have seen such a reward to the plaintiff. The many developments that were shelved during the recession have not come to fruition because of the number of cases that were brought about and subsequently awarded damages during the last few years post-recession. The insurance costs associated with a new condo project make it extremely cost-prohibitive, thus the lack of development.

            Also, I believe the laws are different for townhomes vs condos. Or at least builders have worked with lawyers to develop some sort of unique associations(or lack of HOAs) to avert construction defect laws.

            All that said, I’m surprised nobody has taken a chance on a condo project downtown.

          • UrbanZen says:

            They mention the lawsuit rate in this article, along with the fact that only 2% of the housing stock being built in Colorado is for sale condo, vs. 20-25% nationally:

            http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/blog/capitol_business/2014/03/colorado-construction-defects-bill-is-on-its-way.html?page=all

  2. Dan says:

    One of your best pieces of information, Ken. Concise and thorough and useful. Please continue.

    I have overheard several conversations (of people who look like the target rental market for this area – millennials) that they love the location but the price is way outside what they are willing to pay. I would expect the future may reflect this by both lowering the rental rates and by moving new housing development to lower cost areas like RiNo. We may experience a rental glut in this area until the market adjusts. The other pending influence is the completion of the East, Gold and 225 Fastrax lines which will connect more lower cost suburbs to the entertainment district. I’m guessing, but I suspect only about half the rentals in this area also work in the area, and that portion of the market my be nearly saturated. At some point the professionals working in the area raise families, and the area is not very conducive to that – yet.

    • TakeFive says:

      Except all those dots make my eyes cross. Seriously though Ken does a great job tracking all this stuff.

      Interesting additional comments.

  3. Andy says:

    I noticed that Downing St Townhomes at 22nd and Downing aren’t on here. I think they meet the criteria. They’ve finished the demolition of Randall’s and appear ready to begin work.

    http://www.21downingtownhomes22.com/

  4. Downtown Resident says:

    As a newcomer tthis is really interesting. You certainly can sense this kind of energy around you, cool to see it quantified. It would be great to see more condos though. Does anyone know the current population in that same ring?

  5. Andy P. says:

    Looks like the townhomes (8 of them? 12?) at 13th and Emerson are also missing and would fall inside the radius. Not sure of the name, though.

    Great work on all of this. I note the missing development not to call you out but just to add to all the great data you’ve collected.

  6. Ron Ariba says:

    I am quite amazed as most people at all the new residential projects, however there is no mention of any of major retail department stores in the 1.5 mile radius of 17th and Arapahoe Street. When will we see a major retail department store, target, grocery store, movie theater, etc? What I have heard even the King Soopers at the Elan at Union Station is not a sure thing.

    • Kyle Dobbins says:

      King Soopers will be open within a year at Elan according to the King Soopers signs on the outside of the construction project. There is also 17W, which is supposed to have a grocery store across from the station itself. Of all the proposed projects, this is the one that I think Denver needs the most.

  7. Ryan says:

    I know this is outside the scope of this specific article, but I just about a proposal to tear down much of the shopping center at Broadway and Alameda to build a large amount of apartments and condos. I’d be interested in more information about this development given the significant impact it could have on the South Broadway neighborhood.

    Anyone with greater search engine skills than me have the goods?

    • Randy says:

      While I agree that you’re probably right about the opportunity at Broadway & Alameda, I think it is doubtful to happen in the short term.

      On the other hand, just south of there, the old Gates factory is finally coming down and opening up a huge TOD opportunity.

      Hopefully, the Gates property will be properly developed (more housing, retail, office, etc.) and that will naturally lead to additional development connecting that area to SoBo.

    • JerryG says:

      The long term plan is to eventually redevelop that whole area south of Alameda and west of Broadway. The property owner has indicated that the plan would be to keep the retail there but just coordinate moving them into new buildings as they are developed. The net gain is mostly residential with some office and maybe a hotel or two. In addition, a fair amount of park/open space will be added. This will be done in phases with phase 1, two residential buildings near Alameda station, already underway. No timeline has been established for completion, so it may be a while. In the process, the existing street grid will be introduced. More info can be found at: http://d4urban.com/our-projects/