New plan in the works for former Hilltop church along South Colorado Boulevard

Developers are getting ready to take a second shot at replacing the empty church in Hilltop.

The Universal Church at Colorado Boulevard and Leetsdale Drive in the Hilltop neighborhood, May 30, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty; denverite; hilltop; development;
The Universal Church at Colorado Boulevard and Leetsdale Drive in the Hilltop neighborhood, May 30, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) denver; colorado; kevinjbeaty; denverite; hilltop; development;
The Universal Church at Colorado Boulevard and Leetsdale Drive in the Hilltop neighborhood, May 30, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Developers are getting ready to take a second shot at replacing the empty church in Hilltop with a new residential development, according to the Cranmer Park-Hilltop Civic Association.

Members of the neighborhood association said they recently reached an agreement with McKinnon & Associates LLC to add up to 22 units to the site at the northeast corner of South Colorado Boulevard. Last summer, the neighborhood group successfully opposed the Denver developer’s plans to replace the former Universal Church with up to 54 garden-court units, calling the project too dense.

McKinnon & Associates did not return multiple inquiries from Denverite about its revised project in the Hilltop neighborhood. The developer still has to go through the city’s rezoning process and receive the green light from Denver City Council before it can start building.

The site at 50 S. Colorado Blvd. is flanked by homes to the east and zoned for single units with a minimum lot size of 6,000 square feet.

Denver Community Planning and Development had not received an official development plan or a rezoning application from McKinnon & Associates as of Friday, said spokeswoman Alexandra Foster. The company has been working on redeveloping the site since at least 2015 and has been trying to garner community support along the way.

“It’s been a long process,” said Jay McCormick, president of the Cranmer Park-Hilltop Civic Association.

The neighborhood group has been concerned about “a really massive increase in density” and adding more traffic to the area. Eventually, the association reached an agreement with the developer to cap the project at 22 units in duplexes, row houses or single-family homes. New buildings on the site can only be up to 35 feet tall, and each unit must come with two parking spaces, according to a memo from the association.

“There was a lot of back and forth but we reached an agreement for something that’s still hugely denser than what’s zoned but keeping more with the neighborhood and area around there,” McCormick said.

Sue Bollman lives in the area and was part of the group that fought against McKinnon & Associates’ earlier proposal. She said Friday she can live with the new version and looks forward to something new taking the place of the fenced-off, graffiti-tagged church.

“I’d always like for it to be a park, but in today’s world that’s not going to happen is it?” Bollman said.

Subscribe to Denverite’s newsletter here.

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or @adriandgarcia on Twitter.

Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia is on business and trends for Denverite, serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and on the board of the Denver Press Club. He can be reached at agarcia@denverite.com.