Nothing like losing sleep over 17th and Newton

17th and Newton Screen Shot 2019-06-24 at 9.31.13 AM

No, it wasn’t a bad dream… or was it?

For months, there has been talk about Zocalo Community Development’s plans to build a hybrid project south of Sloan’s Lake Park. Of the 320 units, half would be market rate condominiums (16 stories), and half would be affordable rental units (4 stories).

Last night, that project got the go-ahead from Denver’s City Council, after a public hearing of almost four hours, with more than 40 speakers. Some were concerned, and some were happy. I guess those were the people wearing the YIMBY T-shirts, showing their support for the affordable housing component.

A few months ago, before this project became a hot topic, I drove over to the Sloan’s Lake neighborhood to see how work was progressing on a luxury development called Lakehouse. It looks great, but there is so much other development that it seemed as if the neighborhood had been totally transformed. So adding in the 17thand Newton mega-project will have a major impact on the surrounding neighborhood, though the lure is the term “affordable housing.”

The theory is that a market-rate condo building will help support the affordable rental unit building. The project will be built on what is now a parking lot. The most recent information I could find was that the condo building would be designed by Shears Adkins Rockmore Architects, which is designing numerous multi-family projects in the city. JG Architects’s John Gagnon would design the other half of the project; that architect designed the Solera project in lower downtown, also a Zocalo project, which has its ups and downs. But that firm’s website is being updated, so I am not sure about the status of the architect.

I know we need affordable housing, but divvying the project up between two buildings will be interesting to watch in the future, in terms of the impact of neighbors in that part of the city. I sense the wave of the future.

There are plenty of links to coverage this morning, in Westword, The Denver Post, and Denverite.

Also, links below lead to a video of last night’s City Council meeting (start the public hearing at about 1:42), and a video of a City Council committee meeting in late April, where this project was discussed and passed on to the full council. At that meeting, David Zucker, Zocalo’s Principal and CEO, said he considered the project “a spiritual commitment.”

And, of course, the dueling con and pro guest columns in The Denver Post, a June 11 piece co-written by the head of the Sloan’s Lake Neighborhood Association, and 3 days later, a guest column by Zucker touting the project.

Guest Commentary: Proposed development on Sloan’s Lake offers “poor doors” instead of affordable housing

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