By Eric Heinz
Plans have been resurrected to rezone a property allowing for a 16-story apartment building with commercial mixed use in two lots at 3275 and 3315 Denargo St. in Five Points.
The site is owned by JV Lodo Denargo LLC, which is backed by Chicago-based Golub and Company and Denver-based Formativ. Lee Golub is listed as the applicant for the rezoning. The LLC paid about $21.6 million for the approximately 166,000 square feet of the land between two parcels in November, according to public records.
The land is adjacent to the planned 13-acre Denargo Market, which is being developed by Golub and Formativ. That purchase happened about a year and a half after an initial applicant tried to rezone the property, but that proposal was rejected by city council during its final reading.
In May 2020, owners Evergreen-based Lodo Self Storage and AFTCO LLC applied to rezone the land, but only asked for 12 stories as a maximum height. During that time, the land was under contract to be sold, but that purchase was contingent on getting the rezoning approved, according to Laura Newman, a representative of Golub.
Denver City Council voted 7-6 that month to reject the rezoning request. According to the application from that time, the proposal was to keep 10% of the units for people making up to 80% of the area median income (AMI), which is about $62,000 for one person and nearly $90,000 for a family of four. But several council members who voted against the rezoning said that amount of “affordable housing” was not enough.
Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca, who represents the district where the proposed building would be constructed, said that the process for the developers to engage the public about the project was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that she only had letters of support from people who didn’t live in the immediate area.
Denver now has a set of options for developers to choose in order to meet the city’s requirements for income-restricted housing, and Brad Weinig, a representative of the city’s Department of Housing and Stability (HOST), said the new proposal is to keep 10% of units at 60% AMI, which does conform. Newman said during the committee meeting that the firm has not filed its development plans yet and has not decided how many units could be built on the site, whether it’s between two buildings or one. She said there could be 750 to 800 units on site, meaning 75 to 80 could be set aside for 60% AMI income-restricted housing.
Denver City Council’s Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee recently forwarded the newest zoning application to the full council, but not before CdeBaca reminded committee members of the “hours of testimony” they received from the public during the first project. CdeBaca made a request to have a vote on whether to instruct the city’s HOST staff to do an analysis on the issues that were brought up during public outreach in 2020, such as that the zoning would be inconsistent with the neighborhood.
“If we’re bringing this same exact rezoning at a higher height, and height was a big issue for a range of different criteria reasons, I think we need a better analysis is coming from HOST before this gets to the floor instead of putting that same burden on the community to come out and give us hours more of the same testimony,” CdeBaca said.
Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval, who chairs the committee that deliberated the rezoning, denied CdeBaca’s request to involve HOST in a vote on such an analysis. The committee forwarded the application to the full council, with CdeBaca being the lone dissenting vote.
Jason Morrison, a senior city planner with Denver’s Community Planning and Development, said there have been more letters of support this time around, and Heart of Five Points, the registered neighborhood organization in the area, also supported the project.
The developers are also looking to be included within the River North Design Overlay District, which according to city records is required to go through an enhanced design review process.
The zoning includes the reduced minimum parking requirements within one-half mile of RTD’s 38th & Blake Station, as well as increased limitations to structured parking and designation of the Platte River for treatment as a “primary” street.