The owner of a sprawling apartment complex on the Denver-Glendale border wants to nearly quadruple the number of units on the site, and the area’s councilman is expressing concern about the ‘dramatic’ proposal.
Currently, the Creekside Apartments complex at 5250 E. Cherry Creek South Drive in Denver — owned by Denver-based AIR Communities — contains a host of two-story buildings on 11.6 acres, with 328 apartments and 436 surface parking spaces.
A concept plan submitted to the city of Denver in late June, however, calls for a series of five new buildings to be constructed, with 1,232 apartments in all.
Three of the buildings would be between six and eight stories, while the other two would be noticeably taller: 15 and 20 stories, according to the plans. The taller structures would be situated along Kentucky Avenue on the western edge of the property.
Parking garages would be incorporated into the buildings, with 1,855 spaces across the project. Plans also call for 8,500 square feet of retail space within the complex.
Jeff Smith, an architect with Denver’s Tryba Architects, wrote in a June 28 letter to the city that the existing buildings “have passed their useful lifespan and will be demolished as part of the redevelopment plan.” The buildings date to the 1970s, city records show.
The concept plan was one of a host submitted to the city in June, as developers raced to be grandfathered in under previous city regulations concerning income-restricted housing.
But AIR’s proposal was highlighted last week by Councilman Paul Kashmann, who represents the district where the Creekside Apartments sit. In an email newsletter sent to constituents Friday, he wrote “that the proposal is wildly out of context with the surrounding area, and would add untenable stress to the surrounding infrastructure.”
In an interview with BusinessDen Monday, Kashmann acknowledged the area’s need for housing and said the Creekside property is “probably an appropriate site to increase the density.” But he voiced concerns about adding hundreds of additional resident vehicles.
“I have real serious questions … whether the street system in the area would be able to function in any reasonable manner,” he said.
Kashmann said the property holds R3 zoning under Denver’s Chapter 59 zoning, an older code that dates to the 1950s and covers about 20 percent of land in the city. Most land was reassessed about a decade ago to what is known as Denver Zoning Code.
He said it appears that the property owner could build its proposal under the existing zoning.
Kashmann said he would prefer to see the city “bring the property into the Denver Zoning Code in a scale that more appropriately matches the low-medium density recommendations of Denver’s 2019 rewrite of Blueprint Denver, our primary land use and transportation plan.” He indicated that five stories would be more in line with that recommendation.
Contacted by BusinessDen, AIR spokeswoman Stephanie Joslin said in a statement: “We appreciate Councilman Kashmann’s input, and we are currently reviewing and refining the proposed development plan. We look forward to reengaging with the city and other stakeholders in the future when our review is complete.”
Creekside’s website shows available studios starting at $1,225 and available two-bedroom units starting at $1,935.
AIR, whose formal name is Apartment Income REIT Corp., was formed in 2020 when Denver-based real estate investment trust Aimco split into two companies. AIR owns and manages apartment buildings, while the other company, still called Aimco, develops them.
Also in June, AIR proposed a 53-story, 596-foot residential building that would top existing structures in the 1600 block of Champa Street in downtown Denver. If constructed, it would be the city’s sixth-tallest building.