A Denver developer who used to call Park Hill home is getting ready to break ground on what he hopes will become a new, $30 million neighborhood square.
Ben Maxwell plans to start construction this summer on a full-block revamp of the 2800 block of Fairfax Street in Park Hill through his firm HM Capital.
The company is planning 21 townhomes, 22 apartments, retail, restaurant and office space around a new park. All told, Maxwell said it will cost about $30 million to turn the block into a mixed-use complex he’s calling Park Hill Commons.
“Park Hill is kind of a desert: There’s one neighborhood center at about 23rd and Kearney with a few restaurants, but other than that that there isn’t much to walk to,” Maxwell said. “We kind of wanted to create an all-in-one neighborhood.”
The property Maxwell will redevelop covers two acres, spanning the entire east side of Fairfax Street between 28th and 29th avenues. The company has bought up that entire block, along with a smaller pocket on the west side of Fairfax Street, over the last six months.
But Maxwell said he has thought about the block for more than 10 years. He lived in Park Hill 11 years ago, identified it as a possible redevelopment site, and actually bought a few rentals nearby speculating that someone might come in and revamp the site he now owns.
“We figured at some point someone was going to redevelop that square.”
HM Capital started picking off lots along Fairfax in the summer of last year, city records show. Maxwell closed on the last two lots on the block’s east side in January 2017. The company paid about $5.85 million for the land.
Maxwell said his basis on the land acquisition was about $71 or $72 per square foot. That figure, he said, let them get a little more creative with what they can build on the property.
“We won’t have to max it out and build these big, ugly, square apartment buildings,” he said.
Instead, Maxwell is looking at 21 for-rent townhomes on the southern part of the block. He said they’ll come in between 1,400 square feet and 2,000 square feet, and lease at rates between about $2,500 and $3,000 per month.
Immediately north of the townhomes, HM Capital will build 22 micro-apartments. Those will average about 375 square feet. Rents will likely come in at about $875 and $950, Maxwell said.
The northern end of the block will have a mixed-use building with about 12,000 square feet of office space and 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. Maxwell said they’ll probably cut the office space up into spaces as small as about 400 square feet – think an executive suite with a little more room to spread out – unless they get one or two big tenants to fill the space.
The restaurants well have patios overlooking a park HM Capital will build, where Maxwell hopes to plan several events.
“The idea is your kids can be out playing in the park, while you’re on the patio having a beer or eating dinner,” he said.
Maxwell hopes to begin construction this summer. The townhomes and the retail/office building will come up first, with the apartments to follow. Zackery Enterprises is the general contractor and Zaga Neighborhood Design is the project’s architect.
And once HM Capital is finished with the east side of the block, they might have one more deal in the works for the west side. The firm also bought about 15,000 square feet of land at 2857 Fairfax Street for $800,000.
Maxwell said the plan is to use the site as a surface parking lot for the time being, but they could look to bookend Park Hill Commons with a third new building somewhere down the road.
“We see this as a long-term, 20- or 30-year hold,” Maxwell said. “We’re not going to build it, and then sell it to the next real estate investment trust that comes along.”