A Concept Plan for a 16-story residential tower at West 13th Avenue and Cherokee in the Golden Triangle was submitted to the Denver planning office on February 26, 2020. The roughly half-acre parcel is currently an ugly surface parking lot, one of several in the vicinity that creates an unpleasant environment for pedestrians. Below, the site is outlined on a Google Earth aerial image and accompanied by a Google street view photo:

According to the Concept Plan document submitted to the city, the developer is Houston-based Xenia Development and the architect is Preston Partnership. Adelaide Real Estate is the applicant. The 16-story project is described as having 217 homes, 6,600 square feet of ground-floor retail, 161 vehicle parking spaces and 109 bicycle parking spaces. The site’s zoning requires a minimum 0.75 parking spaces per residence and the proposed ratio (161/217) equals 0.74, basically right at the minimum.

While no rendering of the project was provided in the Concept Plan submittal, a floor-by-floor description indicates the project would stack as follows: The ground floor includes the commercial space, building lobby, parking garage entry, and other resident services; floors 2 through 5 are all parking; floor 6 includes indoor/outdoor amenity spaces plus residential units; floors 7 through 14 are all residential; and floors 15 and 16 include a mix of residential units and indoor/outdoor amenity spaces.

Keep in mind our standard disclaimer: The first step in the city’s development review process is the filing of a Concept Plan application with the planning office. 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. Therefore, the project’s design and specifications at this Concept Plan stage are preliminary and may change significantly before formal plans are submitted to the city for review.

While it is encouraging to see that the project is proposed to have the minimum required vehicle parking, what may be concerning from a design perspective is the exclusive use of parking on floors 2 through 5. The zoning currently on the property does not require above-grade parking to be wrapped by other uses to shield the parking from street view. The consequence of that can be seen in the recently completed Civic Lofts project just down the street, which has multiple parking-only levels above the ground floor that resulted in an undesirable design. Hopefully, the architects at Preston Partnership will do better. On a positive note, the City is currently in the process of doing a major update to the zoning code for the Golden Triangle, which will likely result in a requirement that all above-grade parking must be fully screened from street view by other uses.

It is great to see the continued evolution of the Golden Triangle from a patchwork of parking lots to places for people.