It has been said that there is "no land left" in other areas of Denver. Now, developers are wasting no time in getting over to 41st and Fox. The property owners in the area, in the Sunnyside neighborhood, have requested for the city to rezone the area for taller structures, hoping to allow growth of the businesses there. But why are developers so interested now? This entire plan is discussed in an article on Denverite's website.
Niles Emerick says, “This [the new development] is on the southeast corner of the neighborhood bordered by railroad tracks, bordered by the 38th Avenue underpass, and then I-70 to the north. So really three of the four sides are not necessarily going to be too negatively impacted by that kind of development.”
So, why would developers be interested in this unflattering area of land? Turns out that the area is still a prime location.
But what makes it prime?
Principal City Planner Dalton says,“It’s the first stop out of downtown on the G Line, it’s visible from both I-70 and I-25 with decent highway access. You’ve got the river amenities and the parks nearby, in a fairly central location to the metro area.”
Now individual developers who want to change the area, something the city also wants, have to apply for a rezoning before they can break ground.
So far, there are plans for a 300-unit affordable housing complex, a 12-story residential building, a five-story loft building with commercial spaces, 132 units of residential housing and a coffee shop, plus more to be determined.
Developer Michael Mathieson says rezoning and developing this area is worth it, especially because the city’s other hip areas are mostly bought out.
“If you look at Tennyson Street, there’s not much land left. RiNo, there is some land, but it’s owned by a lot of different developers, and here, a lot of the original owners are still there. So developers are like, ‘This is where we can go get land,’ and then it’s in a great location,” he said.
Neighborhood groups haven’t opposed any of the changes yet on the record. United Community Action Network and the Globeville Civic Association filed letters of support in one case. At the area’s most recent rezoning, the only public comment was in favor of the zoning change.
Niles Emerick, co-chair of Sunnyside United Neighbors Inc.’s Planning and Community Development Committee, says most neighbors in SUNI seem to be excited by the potential redevelopment. A SUNI survey with a couple hundred responses even found that most people agree with the city’s plan. It all comes down to the very specific location.
“This particular location isn’t one that the neighborhood has been proud of — and that hasn’t drawn anyone to the neighborhood,” Emerick said.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad spot for development says Developer Michael Mathieson.
“Sunnyside is just an aesthetically pleasing area,” said Mathieson. “It’s on a hill, so if you look at the views, they’re totally unobstructed views of downtown and the mountains.”
“You’re not going to have a RiNo or a LoDo, or even as dense as a mixed use as you have on Tennyson. It’s more like a Gaylord type-area, where you have a block of stuff. It’s not incredibly well traveled, it’s not like a main thoroughfare,” said Principal City Planner Dalton.