The Denver City Council has rezoned a pair of properties in the Denargo Market section of RiNo, two years after rejecting a previous request for the same lots.
The council voted 11-0 on Monday, with two members absent, to rezone 3.82 acres at 3275 and 3315 Denargo St. from industrial zoning to C-MX-16.
The latter allows mixed-use projects up to 16 stories. The site is currently home to a self-storage facility and a warehouse.
The rezoning was requested by Chicago-based Golub & Co. and Denver-based Formativ, which purchased the property last November for $21.6 million.
In 2020, Texas-based Cypress Real Estate Advisors, which was under contract to buy the site from a previous owner, asked the city to rezone it for up to 12 stories. The firm wanted to build two buildings with 650 total apartments.
But the Denver City Council voted 7-6 that May to reject the rezoning request. Cypress had voluntarily agreed to restrict 10 percent of the units to those making up to 80 percent of the area median income. But several council members who voted against the rezoning said that amount of “affordable housing” was not enough.
“I do not believe it is consistent with our planned goals, especially around equity and housing and health and safety and connectivity,” Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca, who represents the district, said at the May 2020 meeting.
Golub and Formativ had paid $86 million in 2019 for 13 acres near the property.
“When that map amendment was voted against 7-6, the owner of the property approached our team to see if we’d be interested in purchasing this property given the significant investment we were making in this area for years to come,” Golub executive Laura Newman told council members Monday evening.
The latest rezoning request was similar, but not identical, to the one the council previously rejected.
Golub and Formativ sought 16-story zoning, while Cypress sought 12 stories. In both cases, the developers agreed to make 10 percent of the units income restricted. But Golub and Formativ agreed to reserve the units for those making up to 60 percent of the area median income, or AMI, compared to the 80 percent offered by Cypress.
“For the additional height, we’re committing to a deeper affordability level,” Newman told a council committee in August.
Prior to voting on Monday, Councilman Paul Kashmann asked how many units would be developed at the site. Newman previously told a committee that the company could build up to 800 units, but in her response Monday only said that the mix of uses and number of units was still being determined.
In May 2020, when he voted against the previous rezoning request, Kashmann expressed frustration with the 10 percent commitment, saying: “I have a problem where we keep taking this 10 percent number, like it comes from the sky, from God.”
On Monday, however, he voted in favor of the new request and its 10 percent commitment, although he still expressed frustration.
“I don’t see how the hell we’re going to get ourselves out of our affordable housing crisis with those numbers,” he said. “I appreciate the low AMI a great deal.”
Absent from Monday’s meeting were CdeBaca and Councilwoman Robin Kniech. In August, CdeBaca posted on Twitter that she would only support the rezoning if the additional four stories were all designated as income-restricted, and there were also more affordable units on the other floors.
In addition to their holdings in Denargo Market, Golub and Formativ also own a site by RTD’s 38th and Blake station in RiNo. And Golub and New York-based Rockefeller Group own the former Greyhound block in downtown Denver.