A contested five-story apartment and mixed-use development in Lowry has been cleared for takeoff.
Denver City Council on Monday night approved a rezoning proposal to allow up to five floors of development on the eastern edge of Boulevard One, one of the last developable plots at the former Lowry Air Force Base.
Under its new zoning, the eastern edge of Boulevard One could host buildings up to five stories, with portions of 1st Avenue and Quebec Street limited to just three stories. The new zoning opens the door for an apartment and commercial project that the Lowry Redevelopment Authority (LRA) is shopping around to potential developers.
“We’ve done some preliminary outreach to commercial developers both for mixed-use parcels and apartments,” said Hilarie Portell, an LRA spokeswoman. “We have not made a final selection, and it will take some number of weeks for any selection to occur.”
At issue Monday was an 18-acre slice of the Buckley Annex, which covers 70 acres bounded by Monaco and Quebec streets, and 1st and Bayaud avenues. The plot stretches west from Quebec Street.
LRA envisions it as a mixed-use, town center-type development. With the site rezoned, the LRA still will need to pick out a developer. Coming up with a site plan and getting it approved could take several months, Portell said.
“It’s a good year away before we’ll be able to go vertical,” she said. “A lot of groups are interested in the retail space, and I keep having to tell people it’s going to be at least a year, hang in there.”
The LRA is a nonprofit master developer created by Denver and Aurora to oversee redevelopment at the former Lowry Air Force Base.
Boulevard One plans call for 450 apartments, 120 single-family homes and 225 townhomes, and about 200,000 square feet of commercial space. The bulk of the apartment and commercial construction will be at the 18-acre plot rezoned Monday night. About four of those acres are set aside for a park.
Portell said those 450 apartments could be built in a single complex or several.
No apartment developers have bought into the Boulevard One development, but single-family homes have popped up at Boulevard One. Portell said the first sets of rowhomes will break ground soon.
Infinity Home Collection was the first of 11 homebuilders to start construction, and general manager David Steinke said Monday he has an interest list 150 shoppers long for Infinity’s lots.
Steinke expects to sell Infinity’s first four homes by year-end and said each will fetch more than $1 million. He said buyers are flocking to Boulevard One on the promise of a coming commercial center within walking and biking distance.
Boulevard One is taking the place of the former Air Force Reserve Personnel Center and Denver Center of the Defense Finance and Accounting Services. At its height, the 70-acre plot hosted about 3,000 employees. The Air Force left the Buckley Annex in 2011.
The rezoning application passed 12-0 Monday night after about two hours of public comment on the issue. Of the 31 people who spoke, 23 were in favor and eight were against the project. Opponents were concerned about building heights and increased traffic.