Plans to revitalize the former Gates Rubber site south of Interstate 25 have bounced over the years, but city officials hope a new proposal for the Baker property will stick.
Broadway Station Partners is proposing to get the site sandwiched between South Santa Fe Drive and South Broadway shovel ready so developers can add hundreds of apartments, as well as office and retail space, north of West Mississippi Avenue.
“We’ve had people calling for the last three years wondering when the site would be available,” said Lisa Duker-Ingle, vice president of Frontier Renewal. “We’ve been putting them at bay until we knew what the infrastructure would look like, what the financing would look like and how this development plan would come together, so we’re now entering real conversations.”
Denver-based Frontier Renewal is one of the players behind Broadway Station Partners, along with Texas-based Chief Partners and the aptly named Colorado businessman Rocky Mountain. BSP dropped $28.5 million for the 41.8-acre brownfield site in 2014.
It’s going to take years of work and millions of dollars to transform the site comprised of weeds, pollution and trash, according to the Denver-based project team. To help the revitalization happen, BSP is asking for taxpayers’ assistance.
The Denver Finance and Governance Committee is expected to weigh in Tuesday on creating a new 85-acre urban renewal area for the site. The urban renewal area would allow the Denver Urban Renewal Authority to collect property taxes to pay for infrastructure improvements in the area. Denver City Council will have to sign off on the proposal after a public hearing.
If all goes according to plan, building on the site could start as soon as late next summer, Duker-Ingle said.
The BSP project could receive $91 million from tax increment financing as well as an additional $48 million from the three metropolitan districts in the area for a combined $139 million in assistance, according to Denver City Council committee briefing from DURA last month.
Eventually, the site could hold up to 2,589 residential units, 902,644 square feet of office and coworking space and 108,878 square feet of retail space.
“This is not going to happen over night,” said Tracy Higgins, executive director of DURA. “Once we start moving forward this is a 10-year-plus development vision that is going to be impacted by the current economic conditions as the project moves forward.”
DURA and city officials have been hopeful before about seeing the former Gates Rubber site restored. Cherokee Denver LLC purchased the site back 2001, but ran into trouble fulfilling plans to redevelop when a little economic crisis known as the Great Recession stalled development across the country.
Areas around the BSP site have already seen revitalization. The 419-unit Windsor at Broadway Station apartment complex was added in 2009 near the southwest corner of West Mississippi Avenue and South Broadway. The last major piece of the east side of the former Gates campus, east of South Broadway, was sold last year to a developer who plans to add more residential units to an area that’s recently seen new offices, housing units and a Sprouts Farmers Market.
City Councilwoman At-large and outgoing Finance and Governance Committee chair Robin Kniech said she hoped revitalization was finally on the way for the area south of Interstate 25 and South Broadway Station.
“My involvement in this site goes all the way back to 2004,” Kniech said. “It’s amazing to see how it has changed and evolved through one recession and many, many different visions. Hopefully, a set of agreements will get us to completion this time around.”
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