1) Target and Five Other Tenants Announced for the Exchange at Boulevard One in Lowry
A small-format Target will occupy approximately 30,000 square feet of retail space in the Exchange at Boulevard One, located at First and Quebec in Lowry. The small-format Target offers “a specially curated retail experience” for Lowry and nearby neighborhoods, says Marshall Burton, president and CEO of Confluent Development in a press release. Five other tenants, along with Target, were announced in mid-October—two restaurants, a coffee shop, yoga and a medical office: Mod Pizza – 2,750 sq. ft.; Sushi Ronin – 2,000 sq. ft.; Logan House Coffee – 1,850 sq. ft.; and SCL Health – 15,700 sq. ft.
The Exchange at Boulevard One, co-owned and co-developed by Confluent Development and Kelmore Development, is a 175,000 sq. ft. development. The first phase, at 135,000 sq. ft., broke ground in April 2019 and is anticipated for an on-schedule completion in spring 2021. The development will have about 500 parking spaces, including a 231-stall underground parking garage, bicycle and scooter parking, and electric car charging stations.
2) Stanley Virtual Reality Installation
Aurora is the first stop in North America for the Academy Award®-winning virtual reality installation c, which invites viewers to quite literally walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Telling a story that engages viewers with powerful visuals while examining the human condition is something of a specialty for its creator, Mexican director Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Roma, Birdman, The Revenant, Amores Perros to name a few). Without giving away too much, be prepared for an immersive experience that offers a fresh perspective on immigration. Be sure to take time to read the individual stories at the end, which challenge some popular misconceptions. The experience focuses on Central American and Mexican migrants—although the southern border is the point of entry for migrants from all over the world. Tickets are timed, and only one person goes through at a time. Sponsored by Denver Center for the Performing Arts and the Stanley, tickets are sold online only at https://carne.denvercenter.org/. The installation runs through Jan. 30, 2021.
3) The Future of Park Hill Golf Course
When Westside Investment Partners purchased the 155-acre Park Hill Golf Course in July 2019, its sale came with a “conservation easement” that specifies the land can only be used as a golf course. The advocacy group Save Open Space (SOS) believes the conservation easement means the unused golf course must remain open space in perpetuity. The City and Westside believe, with the approval of City Council, the land can be better used in other ways. In Nov. 2019, the City and Westside made an agreement that the community would have three years to give public input on future uses of the land and then put a redevelopment plan to a vote of City Council.
At a virtual media event on October 22, Westside announced the latest step toward that plan. Kenneth Ho, who leads the project for Westside said, “The number one thing we’ve heard is that the neighborhood really wants to lead and have the neighborhood voice heard in terms of what the property becomes.” The event was the formal announcement that The Holleran Group will join the Westside ownership team and work specifically on community outreach and engagement in developing a plan for the golf course. Holleran is a social enterprise group dedicated to empowering communities to create solutions for sustainable wealth. “Equity equals opportunity,” said Norman Harris, co-founder of The Holleran Group; they will focus on “a socially equitable approach to development that not only assures that our neighborhood has the loudest voice in the process, but that the neighborhood shares in the economic benefits.”
Ho said he has heard a desire for redevelopment that includes a grocery store, affordable housing and economic opportunities for those who live in the area. “We believe that the Park Hill golf course represents a unique opportunity and challenge to revitalize both the spirit and the economy of Northeast Park Hill. The sheer size of this property really provides unique opportunity to do that.”
4) Covid: New Technology, Masks & “Shrink Your Bubble”
The Colorado Exposure Notifications app developed by Apple and Google went live on Sunday, Oct. 25. The service can alert users if they have been near someone who has been positively diagnosed with Covid-19. When users enable the service, their smartphones will share anonymous tokens with other users through the phones’ Bluetooth technology. If another user tests positive for Covid-19 within a 14-day period and uploads their results, users at risk of infection will receive an alert of potential exposure. Learn more at addyourphone.com.
With Covid cases in Colorado reaching their highest since the pandemic started and hospitalizations rising, the director of Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment on Oct. 23 asked Colorado residents to “shrink your bubble” and “please take every effort to reduce contact with members of other households.” And on Oct. 16, Mayor Hancock announced that through Nov. 16 in Denver, face coverings must be worn when outdoors with people other than those from the same household when social distancing is not possible. And the number of people allowed to gather in unregulated settings is reduced from ten to FIVE.
Just a quick correction regarding the note above about Park Hill Golf Course land. SOS Denver believes the prior owner forfeited all development rights in perpetuity in exchange for $2 million in Denver taxpayer money, a fact known to the current owner before they purchased the property in 2019. Former Parks and Rec Executive Director under the Webb administration, James Mejia, stated on Brother Jeff Fard’s broadcast last week that he thought at the time this conservation easement would be enough to protect that land from development in perpetuity, and regretted not being able to do more to ensure that today. As Mayor Webb, The Denver Post Editorial Board, Denver Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Greater Park Hill Community and Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation have all urged the city, we believe the land is ideally suited to become a wonderful city park that would serve both the immediate community but also offer easy access via foot, bicycle, bus and train. Infill redevelopment on both sides of the property (not involving any displacement of existing housing) is in the pipeline or readily available, placing further urgency on preserving the mature trees and existing pathways for recreational and health needs of the community. Even the city has admitted that the conservation easement can be modified to remove the golf course use restriction. What they won’t admit is that “development” is not a use that can be added to a conservation easement.