1) NE Hotel Purchase Will House Denver’s Homeless
Mayor Michael Hancock and U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, at the Travelodge near I-70 and Peoria, announced on May 6 that the city will buy the 95-room hotel to provide housing for those experiencing homelessness. The $7.8 million cost is expected to include $2 million in federal funds. Unlike group shelters, hotel rooms meet the needs of a wider population since they can house families together, even including pets, and provide privacy as well as a safe place to store personal belongings. The lodging for a portion of the residents will include mental and behavioral health assistance for those in need of those services. Funds from the tax passed by voters last fall are expected to be at least a portion of the funds used for shelter services and operations. It is hoped the hotel will be ready to accommodate about 200 people by the end of the year. A survey by Metro Denver Homeless Initiative in February 2020 found 4,171 people who were homeless, up from 3,445 in the 2018 survey.
2) Survey on the Future of Park Hill Golf Course
6,000 surveys were mailed to residents living within eight-tenths of a mile of the golf course; 1,302 responses were received with responses on what they would like to see for the future of the Park Hill Golf Course. Preliminary results of the survey were presented at the May 18 meeting of the Community Steering Committee, along with a discussion of the methodology of the survey. The top three priorities of these local respondents were: a grocery store (85%), a park with athletic fields (73%), and affordable housing (67%).
An additional survey open to all Denver residents that was posted online had 1,388 responses. 57% of those responses were from residents who did not live in the neighborhoods around the golf course. Not surprisingly, some responses between the two groups differed greatly.
With a choice to either use the site for a variety of open space/recreation purposes or keep it 100% as a golf course, the overall results for both surveys were similar, with 80% of locals and 76% of other respondents favoring open space/recreation over 100% golf course use. Natural open space also showed agreement between the two groups, with 55% of locals putting it in their top three compared to 60% of other respondents.
In the type of open space/recreation use, the two groups differed dramatically. Athletic fields were the first, second or third choice by 73% of neighbors but just 12% of open survey respondents. And local respondents chose specific uses (playgrounds, swimming pool, outdoor event spaces) but just 15% chose general park space compared to 45% of open survey responders choosing general park space.
Differences also showed in responses about other uses beyond parks/open space. 85% of locals chose a grocery store as their first, second or third choice, while 35% of the open survey showed that choice. Search DenverGov.org for Park Hill Golf Course Area Visioning Process for more information and to follow this process that may determine how much those closest to the park will influence its future.
3) Montview Plaza
Trammell Crow Residential submitted an application to Aurora for a mixed-use development with approximately 394 for-rent multi-family units, 533 parking spaces including a parking garage, and retail along Montview and Clinton. Their proposal shows some apartments above the retail on Montview, but most of the proposed units are in two larger buildings set behind (north of) the buildings on Montview, with one of the buildings facing Westerly Creek.
Aurora Planning asked the developer to resubmit plans to address requests for clarification and/or modifications. One of the comments relates to the appearance of the building shown above (the south end of the building along Westerly Creek): “The subject property is very important to the redevelopment of this area and is considered a catalytic project as outlined in the Westerly Creek Community Plan and Aurora Places…Given the adjacency of the site to Westerly Creek, please try to incorporate some more natural elements and colors into the building facades. The current black/white/gray/brown color palette does not seem to fit well with the surrounding open space and doesn’t help make the buildings stand out from any other multi-family building. This is a unique and highly visible property, so the color and material palette should ideally reflect this and draw people into the site through design.” We’ll provide more information as the plans progress.
4) New Biz(s) in E. 29th Ave Town Center: Indian Food and Doughnuts
NE residents will no longer have to drive to other parts of town for Indian food. Little India, with locations on East 6th Ave, Downtown and Highlands, will be coming to Central Park this summer at the former Berkshire location in the East 29th Ave. Town Center.
Also coming just up the street from Little India on E. 29th Ave. will be The Doughnut Club, the brick and mortar side of The Dough Bar online business that became popular for its high protein doughnuts.
5) DPS Purchase of Johnson & Wales Bldgs.
The DPS Board put the $30 million purchase of some Johnson & Wales buildings on it’s May 20 consent agenda. BoardDocs show the closing of the sale is to take place June 1. With a waiting list of more than 500 students at Denver School of the Arts every year for many years, the goal is to expand access to the school for low-income students and students of color.