The Denver Housing Authority plans to show a Solar Tank terminal into parks and riverside houses

The pollution must be removed from the defunct Xcel site.

Kevin J. Beaty / Denverite

If everything goes according to plan, a decommissioned Xcel Energy facility that has processed coal, natural gas, and steam energy for the past 122 years will be given a new lease of life, home to a park and houses.

The renovation of the power plant on Zuni Street, bisected by 13th Avenue near the Platte River, has been underway since the Hickenlooper (Mayor’s) administration. The Denver Housing Authority has already acquired a piece of it and intends to officially purchase the “tank farm” that has been storing oil for $ 6.2 million in July. This is evident from documents filed with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

The land is part of a redevelopment puzzle that will turn Sun Valley, one of Denver’s low-income neighborhoods, into a dense neighborhood of homes, businesses, and parks with a mix of low-income and marketable housing.

Ryan Tobin, who is responsible for DHA’s real estate development, described the purchase as “strategic”.

“From DHA’s point of view, this has been a highly sought-after transaction to ensure successful results for all of the redevelopments taking place there,” said Tobin.

Xcel Energy's

Kevin J. Beaty / Denverite

About half of the 8-acre site will be reserved for parking, and the rest will ideally be residential homes, Tobin said. However, that depends on following state guidelines for decontaminating the long-polluted site and obtaining approval from the Denver City Council to redesign the area from industrial to residential.

Xcel has already made some effort to clean up the site, said Hollie Velasquez Horvath, who is in charge of state affairs and local partnerships. The utility has met the standards for industrial refurbishment around the facility, which was closed once and for all in 2019 after a phased shutdown that began in 2016.

But DHA will be on the hook for additional refurbishment and the removal of the large tanks on site. Asbestos and polluted floors could be an issue, Tobin said. The housing authority plans to receive a grant of up to $ 500,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency to fund the decontamination later this year.

Xcel’s Velasquez Horvath said the company is selling the land at its estimated industrialized price – not its speculative value as housing – because it will help the city and utilities become less and less interested in fossil fuels as they transition to renewable energy.

“We believe … that we have the opportunity to potentially use this land for other purposes because as we transition to a clean energy future, we know we cannot use these buildings,” said Velasquez Horvath.

Tobin said the site will optimistically be clean and operational by the end of 2022.

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