Apr 23, 2021 - News

Governor's Park becomes new epicenter in Denver's growth debate

Photo of the Denver7 building at Speer Boulevard and Lincoln Street.

The Denver7 building at Speer Boulevard and Lincoln Street. Photo: Alayna Alvarez/Axios

High-density developers are targeting Governor’s Park in Denver's Capitol Hill neighborhood as a prime place for new projects — but not without sparking opposition.

Why it matters: The area has become the new epicenter in Denver’s ongoing old-versus-new growth debate.

Driving the news: A Denver City Council committee this week advanced a plan pushed by three residents who want to preserve the Denver7 news building as a historic landmark.

  • The use of historic designation is becoming the main tool for residents who want to fight projects in a city divided between preservation and continued urban development.
  • The designation would keep the building from being demolished and replaced by a new apartment complex. A New York-based developer is under contract to buy the 2.3-acre parcel.
  • Denver7 management opposes the designation, arguing the building’s Brutalist architecture is "dated and foreboding, offering little to the neighborhood beyond concrete walls and security fencing."

The state of play: Within the last five years, two eight-story apartment buildings have sprung up within a block of each other nearby — and more are on the way. Meanwhile, other projects are amplifying the redevelopment challenge.

  • An eight-story apartment building at 757 N. Grant St. is currently under construction, and another was recently proposed directly across the street, the Denver Business Journal reports.
  • A plan for a massive apartment complex up to 13 stories high on the lot of the old Racine’s restaurant is under city review and already stirring up opposition from a resident-led group called "Save Governor’s Park."
  • A block of restaurants led by chef Frank Bonanno faces demolition after the property owner deemed it was more lucrative to explore their option to sell.

What they’re saying: "It's disappointing, but that's all it is," Bonanno told Westword. "It's just business. Times are changing — Capitol Hill has changed."

What’s next: Denver council members want Denver7 and the residents who oppose the redevelopment plans to reach a compromise. Should they fail, the full council is scheduled to vote on the historic landmark designation next month.


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