In our effort to catch up on infill updates before the end of the year, we recently published three posts covering 16 projects—twelve residential (in two parts) and four non-residential—that have been completed in the past few months. Now we begin a series of three posts (once again, two for residential and one for non-residential) taking a look at the many new proposed projects that we have not yet covered here at DenverInfill. We have limited these proposed projects to just those located within a 1.50-mile radius of the historic D&F tower at 16th and Arapahoe since that is the geographic extent we use for our periodic Development Summaries. In early January, we will publish our December 2019 Development Summaries and then later in January we will begin catching up on projects outside of that radius in urban core districts like Cherry Creek and the 38th & Blake station area.
Before we begin though, a bit of explanation about proposed projects is necessary. Real estate development is a lengthy and complicated process, so the term “proposed” covers a lot of territory. A proposed project can be anything from a back-of-a-napkin sketch to a fully designed and approved project poised for construction—and everything in between. The city’s development review process is fairly involved and requires many different types of submittals and approvals. But from our project-tracking perspective here at DenverInfill, there are three milestones in the city’s development review process that provide critical information on a project’s status and physical characteristics.
Concept Plan. The first milestone is the filing of a Concept Plan application with the city. City planning staff review the project concept and have a conversation with the developer about feasibility, zoning and design issues, and other factors the developer will have to take into consideration before the project can move on to the next step. At this Concept Plan stage, project details like gross square footage, number of floors, or number of residential units are preliminary and subject to change, and any renderings at this point are focused mostly on the project’s general mass, form, and scale. Projects we cover on DenverInfill that are at the Concept Plan stage will be indicated as such, and you shouldn’t get too attached to a proposed project at the Concept Plan stage, as many projects never move beyond this point.
Site Development Plan. The second milestone is the filing of a formal Site Development Plan (SDP) application, a set of detailed technical documents that includes a site plan and land survey, utility and grading plans, architectural building elevations, landscaping plans, and other requirements. If a developer submits a Site Development Plan to the city, it means that not only was their Concept Plan approved but also that the developer is confident enough in the project to spend the time and money to prepare these detailed submittals. Projects we cover on DenverInfill that are at the SDP stage should be taken as fairly serious proposals; however, some projects will stall at this point and never move on. Also, it usually takes months from the filing of an SDP application to getting the final SDP approved (with resubmittals along the way not uncommon), so during this time, project details like unit counts and design elements may still be in flux.
Building Permit. Finally, the third milestone is the filing of a Building Permit application, which includes the submittal of detailed construction drawings and related technical documents. Projects that reach this stage have a high probability of moving into construction, but not always. Like the step before, the Building Permit review process takes time and is almost always iterative in nature, with several resubmittals needed until the city approves every design component to be compliant with building codes. A developer can begin the Building Permit review process while their SDP is still under review, but they cannot receive a Building Permit until their SDP has been formally approved. Renderings made available at this point usually reflect, more or less, what the finished project will look like.
OK, with that out of the way, here is Part 1 of our Proposed Residential Roundup, with information on 12 new multifamily residential developments located generally in the northern and eastern parts of the downtown area.
Capitol Square Apartments. A Site Development Plan was submitted on November 18, 2019 by Mile High Development for a project called Capitol Square Apartments at 1275 Sherman. Located at the southeast corner of 13th and Sherman, the projecxt would add 103 homes, all affordable at the 60-80% area median income level, in a six-story building. The site is currently owned by the State Land Board, which is looking to use this publicly owned land to help with Denver’s affordable housing issues. Here’s a good Colorado Sun article on this proposal. The project would include about 4,700 square feet of ground-floor retail and 69 parking spaces. Below are three renderings, courtesy of project architect, KTGY, along with a Google Street View shot of the run-down buildings currently on the site.
Colfax and Downing Apartments. On September 27, 2019, a Site Development Plan application was submitted to the city by Norris Design for the southeast corner of Colfax and Downing. Developer Kairoi Residential has plans to develop at that location a seven-story apartment building with 333 homes, about 6,200 square feet of ground-floor retail, and 375 parking spaces on one underground level, according to the SDP. The site is currently a Ramada Inn hotel. Since September’s SDP application, a Transportation Plan was filed in October and a Stormwater and Sanitary Plan was filed in November, so the proposal is showing signs of progress.
Castle Broadstone. A new Concept Plan was filed on July 15, 2019 by Shears Adkins Rockmore Architects for a project called Castle Broadstone for the historic Sports Castle property at 10th and Broadway. Back in February 2019, we reported on the first proposal for this site since the Sports Castle closed, a 16-story, 511-unit apartment building proposed by Wood Partners. That project didn’t advance, so a new developer, Alliance Residential (owner of the Broadstone brand), is apparently taking a look at the site. According to the Concept Plan application, the project would include a 13-story tower with 295 homes located north of the historic building facing Broadway, and a 13-story Senior Living tower facing Lincoln located east of the historic building. City records show a resubmittal of the Concept Plan is required.
CITY PARK WEST
1614 Lafayette Condominiums. A Concept Plan was submitted to the city on December 4, 2019 by Studio PBA on behalf of Generation Development for a proposed project in City Park West at the northeast corner of Lafayette, Park Avenue, and 16th Avenue. The development would include 47 homes plus about 4,700 square feet of ground-floor retail and 44 parking spaces in a five-story building. The site currently consists of a small commercial building, parking lot, and vacant parcel. The Concept Plan is still under review.
Vario. Along Brighton Boulevard between 29th and 31st streets is a large mixed-use project being developed by Mass Equities and designed by OZ Architecture called Vario. The 7.8-acre development consists of several phases, the first of which is already underway at 3060 Brighton: the adaptive reuse and renovation of an existing industrial structure at the corner of 31st and Brighton into a modern 74,000 SF office building. The second phase, 2900 Brighton, includes the construction of 459 homes and 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail in two nine-story apartment buildings at the corner of 29th and Brighton. That phase is now in the Building Permit review stage. The next phase, 2950 Brighton, includes over 100,000 square feet of office space in a six-story building with ground-floor retail. The final phase, 3000 Brighton, includes a seven-story office building with around 200,000 square feet of office space and ground-floor retail.
Below are several renderings of Vario, courtesy of Mass Equities and OZ Architecture. The first two show an overview of the entire Vario site and development phases. The second pair of images includes a rendering of the adaptive reuse 3060 Brighton phase and a photo we took of the building back in March 2019 just as construction was getting started. The third pair shows the 2900 Brighton residential buildings from the corner of 29th and Brighton and the amenity deck from the rear of the building. The final pair of renderings shows the 2950 Brighton office building from the corner of 30th and Brighton and the last phase, the 3000 Brighton building, from across Brighton Boulevard.
2750 Blake Condominiums. A Site Development Plan application for a condominium development at 2750 Blake Street was filed in July 2019 by OZ Architecture on behalf of developer Formativ, and the Building Permit review process was initiated just a few days ago on December 19, so the proposal is progressing through the review process. According to city records, the 2750 Blake Condominiums project would include 26 homes in a five-story building. Below is a preliminary rendering, courtesy of Formativ and OZ, along with a Google Street View image showing the site as it exists currently.
AVA RiNo. A Site Development Plan for a 246-home apartment project at 2600 Lawrence has been under review since April 2019. Known as AVA RiNo, the project is being developed by AvalonBay Communities and designed by Studio PBA. AVA RiNo consists of three 3-story buildings organized around two outdoor courtyards on top of one level of underground parking on the vacant block bounded by 26th, Lawrence, 27th, and Arapahoe streets—formerly the “phase two” site for the S*Park development to the south. In September 2019, the Building Permit review process was initiated and, since then, a number of construction documents have been submitted for review, so it appears this project is heading toward construction.
2950 Arkins Court. On September 30, 2019, a Site Development Plan was submitted by Holland Partner Group for an eight-story, 365-home apartment development located at 2950 Arkins Court. The roughly triangle-shaped property sits behind INDUSTRY Denver and enjoys a view of the South Platte River over what will eventually become the River North Promenade. The project would also include 230 parking spaces and 18,500 square feet of ground-floor retail. The project’s SDP remains under review.
Denargo Market Phase 4. The transformation of the former Denargo Market property continues as a Site Development Plan application for Phase 4 of the large redevelopment site was filed with the city on October 28, 2019 by Kimley Horn on behalf of the developer. The Phase 4 site is located immediately to the east of Denargo Market Phase 3—currently under development by Argyle Residential—on the south side of Wewatta Way just east of Broadway. According to the SDP, the Denargo Market Phase 4 would rise 16 stories and include 336 homes, 425 parking spaces, and a ground-floor restaurant/retail space of about 4,000 square feet. In early December, the city required a resubmittal of the SDP, so this project’s design will continue to evolve into 2020.
2175 California. A Concept Plan was submitted to the city on November 20, 2019 by Christopher Carvell Architects on behalf of the developer, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, for a seven-story residential development located at 2175 California next to the Mercury Cafe. The site is currently a surface parking lot. The project is envisioned as having administrative offices and some parking on the ground floor, assisted living units on the second and third floors, and 64 apartments on floor 4 through 7. A few weeks ago, the city requested a resubmittal of the Concept Plan, so this project remains very early in the development process.
19th and Chestnut. On July 3, 2019, a Site Development Plan was submitted by developer Pando Holdings for a 12-story residential development containing 222 homes along with 2,000 square feet of ground-floor lobby and amenity space, a rooftop amenity deck, and 14 parking spaces. The property sits at the end of 19th Street next to the railroad tracks northwest of Chestnut Place. According to a BusinessDen article in July, the project will consist of about 90% studio (micro) apartments. Pando Holdings was the developer of The Economist project in City Park West that also features high-efficiency units with little to no parking. The SDP remains under review with the city.
UNION STATION NORTH
2980 Huron. The parcel at 2980 Huron, occupied by an old one-story warehouse, is the largest remaining undeveloped site in the Union Station North district. In November 2018, a Site Development Plan for a 13-story residential building was submitted by the owner at that time, but the project didn’t advance. However, the property was acquired in September 2019 by CA Residential and, through a new joint venture with Cottonwood Communities, the project is now moving forward. Not only is the SDP back under active review by the city, but a Building Permit application was submitted to the city by project architect Shears Adkins Rockmore on October 17, 2019. The development is envisioned as a 13-story apartment tower containing 299 homes along with structured parking, a pool, fitness center, and lounge.
This wraps up Part 1 of our roundup of recently proposed residential projects in the Downtown Denver area. Part 2 will follow soon and focus on projects on the southern and western sides of downtown.