When every bit of land must be developed

Land for hotel Screen Shot 2019-08-14 at 12.06.58 PM

It’s the mantra of the decade. The decade of growth. Yes, Denver has some big issues right now, like the bombed-out terminal at DIA and the P3 deal there that has imploded. Oh, and the mysterious room that sent the Colorado Convention Center project into a tailspin.

Even little things count: When a bit of land – like less than 6,000-square-feet of land – could help a developer build a hotel in the area of north of Union Station, this opens up a fascinating situation.

The hotel would be built at Chestnut Place at 29thStreet. New hotels have sprouted everywhere, and that’s sort of understandable.  The Metro Denver Economic Development Council’s August report on the city shows that hotel occupancy was up over 8% from May to June, although occupancy has decreased by 2 percentage points from June 2018 to June 2019.

This land has been owned by the city for almost 150 years. It may only vacate the land to sell it for $1,600 because the city has not raised its rates since 16 years ago.  Because of regulations, the land cannot become a park.

I watched the City Council’s land use, transportation and infrastructure committee yesterday, and this hotel issue was the first subject on the agenda. The issue moved forward to the full council, where I think we will see a telling conversation and perhaps a test: Do members of City Council vote to keep this land that neighbors use as a gathering space, or sell it to a hotel developer?

The links below lead to stories in BusinessDen and Denverite, to the video of the city council committee yesterday, and to the Metro Denver Economic Development Council.






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