Denver Metropolis Council approves the rededication of the Denargo Market

The mixed-use buildings will comprise more than a thousand residential units.

Denver City Council has approved an application to rededicate a block of land in the RiNo Art District in Five Points, which will allow developers to build around 1,000 residential and commercial space on around 13 acres, or nearly 10 soccer fields.

The council voted 12-1 to approve the rededication on Monday. Councilor Candi CdeBaca has voted against.

The changes affect four parcels between the junction of Broadway on Brighton Boulevard and the South Platte River. These include 2650 Arkins Ct., 3205 Denargo St., 3280 Denargo St. and 2700 Wewatta Way in an area surrounded by apartment complexes and industrial premises.

The space, which is currently fenced and empty, has been zoned for residential and commercial buildings with a maximum height of 75 feet, and even 220 feet in some parcels.

The zoning approved on Monday would still allow mixed-use buildings, but would increase the maximum elevation to 250 feet at 2,650 Arkins Ct. and allow some buildings between the four parcels to rise to 110, 150 and 200 feet, with the lower heights closer to the river and the higher heights more in the center of the development.

An aerial view of the packages in RiNo on Arkins Court, Denargo Street and Wewatta Way as part of the rededication application.  Courtesy of the city's planning office.

The developers, Formativ, based in Chicago and Golub & Co., based in Chicago, plan to build between 1,000 and 1,400 residential units and include commercial space between 1.25 and 1.5 million square feet. The packages belong to JV Denargo LLC.

CdeBaca, who represents the country where the rededication was approved, said there are elements of the project that would be great if they occurred. But zoning approval would set the bar low in an area it said the council had been told it needed more affordable housing.

“The need is so much greater there that I don’t think it meets the criteria for promoting the common good in this area,” said CdeBaca.

More than 20 people spoke at a public hearing on the project, with the majority supporting the rededication request. The rededication was recommended by the city’s planning department, which, among other things, cited approval of consistency with larger plans for the city and area.

The council also approved a development agreement between the city and the landowners.

The agreement, which was passed on the same 12: 1 balance sheet, includes a “voluntary” commitment by developers to provide affordable housing to ensure that 15 percent of all units built are affordable housing. While the agreement includes the word “voluntary,” developers must stick to the plan. Senior urban planner Scott Robinson said at least one of the parcels will be specifically developed as an affordable housing project under this agreement. This project will include at least 40 affordable housing units and supportive housing for young adults.

“These youngsters live in this neighborhood,” said councilor Robin Kniech, citing the provision of housing for younger people as one of the reasons she supported the reallocation.

The location is at the confluence of the New and Old Denver.

The largest property is directly across from the Crossroads Shelter for Men with Homelessness, which has existed since the 1990s. Last fall, the city cleared a large homeless camp that had been built around the fenced-in perimeter of the site. It is surrounded by several relatively new apartment complexes, including luxury apartments called Denargo Market. The area was once home to this market, which when it opened in 1939 was the King Soopers of its time. According to the Denver Library, a four-alarm fire destroyed it in 1971.

Alex Staples, 27, has lived in a nearby apartment building since March. He would love to see green spaces on the grounds of Arkins Court, which is basically what the property now has behind some fences, albeit not quite as well maintained as he imagines it to be.

“I would like to see some more grass,” said Staples.

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