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Englewood moves upwards, seeks to emerge out of Denver’s shadow

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Veteran developer Peter Kudla knew downtown Englewood well as a regular at the bingo nights hosted by Elks Lodge No. 2122. But for years, the city remained a place he passed by, but without focus. , was concentrating on landless places, built places and tired for lack of a better word.

While looking for new opportunities, Kudla was inspired by Englewood. Disused parking lots, strip he malls, commercial lots were everywhere and offered a low cost way to acquire land. Downtown Denver and the Denver Tech Center, major employment hubs, were about 20 minutes away. The city had a unique character that appealed to the younger generation. And it was time to reinvent what city officials wanted.

“This is a land of opportunity,” he remembers when he began to look at the city in a new light and put effort into it.

After completing a condominium just east of Craig Hospital about five years ago, along with several smaller condominium projects, Kudla now has three projects for sale in what he calls Inglewood’s “industrial district.” We are.

His company, Metropolitan Residential Advisors, will build a four-story building with 66 condominiums at 3690 S. Jason Street at an average price of $350,000. Nearby, another of his four-story buildings with 62 condos averaging $400,000 is planned on the site of a former strip mall at the intersection of West Ithaca and South Galapago. And one block west of him, Kudla is considering building Huron Street Townhomes, which will consist of 24 three-story townhomes averaging 1,700 square feet in size and averaging a price of $625,000.

The risk of building condos is higher given the state’s history of construction defect lawsuits, but Kudla said the process of reinstating rights to allow builders to fix the problem is more sophisticated. , says insurers are becoming more aggressive in underwriting projects. He also believes the market needs more housing types that people can afford. Not just an apartment, you need a condo.

Kudla came up with a term for what he and other developers are doing in Englewood and other construction areas – asphalt fielding or asphalt. If developing undeveloped land is a green field and bareing a large industrial lot like the Gates Rubber site is a brown field, then asphalt is the big parking lot, the empty strip Mall, taking abandoned commercial land and planting it with more densely packed housing that stretches upwards.

In a landlocked city like Inglewood, making better use of already developed parcels and adding density is the only way to grow again.

After disapproving condo and apartment permit applications in 2018 and 2020 and just 108 in 2019, the city greenlit projects representing 479 units last year. We have approved an additional 231 units and have permits for another 912 condos and apartments pending review.

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Between 1970 and 2017, the city added 4,523 apartments in projects of 50 units or more, with 1,781 currently under construction or proposed, according to Apartment Insights. When they are built, it represents a 40% increase in the number of units in a larger, denser development.

Cary Bruteig, who closely tracks metropolitan apartment development trends for Apartment Insights, said Englewood is centrally located, with old commercial lots ready for redevelopment, transportation corridors including a light rail station, and provide an employment base for large hospitals. Development costs are “very low” compared to other cities, and the planning department is more supportive than others.

“We expect developers to continue to look for redevelopment opportunities in the city for the reasons above,” he said.

In January 2020, the city and the Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce rolled out the Downtown Matters Plan to create a more cohesive vision for the heart of Englewood. The plan he focuses on three areas. The former Cinderella City Mall site, known as Englewood CityCenter, and the area around the Swedish Medical Center and Craig Hospital was called the “Medical District.”

Hilarie Portell, executive director of the Englewood Downtown Development Authority, said:

Unlike Denver, which has seen major hospitals head to Lakewood and Aurora, Inglewood has maintained by accommodating Swedish and Craig expansions. They are a key employer in the city and a key driver in the early stages of downtown Inglewood’s redevelopment, especially along Old Hampden Avenue, where many large apartment and condominium projects are being launched.

“In talking to senior staff and executives at Craig and Swedish, one of their biggest concerns is finding quality housing that is close by and relatively affordable,” says Golden’s Confluence. Companies CEO and Founder Tim Walsh said. “A lot of the housing stock in Englewood is old, especially the apartment complexes.”

Confluence has purchased an acre of land to host the Johnson Adult Day Center at 3444 S. Emerson St. The one-story building will be replaced with a 14-story tower that will house 240 apartments. Emerson Until fall 2023.

Walsh, a resident of Golden, said he hadn’t spent much time in Englewood, but after scouting Emerson’s place last summer, he’s come to appreciate the city’s densification, especially when it comes to suburban apartment densification. I immediately saw the possibilities. Metropolitan areas have to deal with housing shortages.

“There is always resistance to high-density projects because people think they will increase traffic,” he said.

But the reality is that many Emerson residents are more likely to visit one of the two hospitals or the surrounding businesses that support them. Others are more likely to work from home, and apartments are designed to accommodate that.

New to the densification trend, Wolf said Englewood has fallen behind Denver in some of its requirements. When Confluence built his ZIA Apartments in Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood, he had to provide every resident with 0.85 parking spaces. Still proved too much. Englewood, perhaps hesitant to let go of the vestiges of car culture, per car he needs 1.7 parking spaces, which Walsh hopes to bring down to 1.2.

ENGLEWOOD, Colorado - JULY 14: Mural adorning the south side of Corona Cent Loft, a product of K2 Residential Solutions, on July 14, 2022.  (Photo Credit: Andy Cross/The Denver Post)

Andy Cross, Denver Post

A mural adorning the south side of the Corona Street Loft, a product of K2 Residential Solutions, taken on July 14, 2022.

denver brother

Inglewood’s founding, like Denver’s, was tied to the discovery of gold in 1858 along Little Dry Creek rather than Cherry Creek. The city’s founders plowed Broadway, the road that connects the two cities. As was common at the time, housing construction boomed after World War II, with affordable housing built to house returning soldiers and their families.

“We have maintained a level of independence that brings pride to our community,” said city administrator Sean Lewis. “That sense of history underpins the community. We’re not a suburb. We were a city as much as Denver was a city. We’re a little quirky, a little gritty.”

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