Mar 30, 2021 - News

Denver leaders push ground-floor commercial requirement to preserve iconic streets

New construction and slot homes that have become the norm along popular Tennyson Street in Denver. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Denver leaders are pursuing plans that promise to preserve the essential character of our most historic neighborhoods while leaving room for expansion and change.

Why it matters: Amid a boom in population growth, some of the most iconic streets and storefronts that have made Denver what it is today are losing their identities to the rise of apartments and multi-unit homes.

What’s happening: Denver City Council is expected to approve a proposal that would require large development projects in the Berkeley-Regis neighborhood to allocate 75% of ground-floor space for commercial use, including shops, restaurants and office space.

  • The rules would apply to north Tennyson Street, new developments along Lowell Boulevard and part of Sheridan Boulevard.
  • Similar plans are being considered for other neighborhood business districts as well, namely Santa Fe Drive, South Pearl Street and Gaylord Street, per BusinessDen.

What they’re saying: "We’re seeing more purely residential infill going into the areas instead of the mixed-use unique character that drew a lot of us to this area," District 1 Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval, who’s pushing the proposal, told Denver7.

The other side: Opponents argue the plan could inflate the cost of construction and discourage future development, the Denver Post reports.

  • Even supporters wonder whether the latest construction means the damage is already done.

What's next: The proposal appears to be the first of more to come.

  • Multiple council members — including District 3 Councilwoman Jamie Torres, District 5 Councilwoman Amanda Sawyer and District 6 Councilman Paul Kashmann — have expressed interest in adopting similar zoning plans in their own districts.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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