Why is the site being sold and redeveloped?
CDOT has moved its headquarters from the Virginia Village campus to a new building in the Sun Valley neighborhood near W. Colfax and Federal Blvd. When CDOT started their disposition process to sell the property, the City & County of Denver intervened as a public agency and entered into a contract to ultimately sell the property to the Kentro Group, who won the competitive bid process. The contract requires Kentro to rezone the site from the current Campus zone district; provide at least 200 permanent jobs and 150,000 square feet of commercial space; and construct 150 units of affordable housing (at 60% Area Median Income) within the City and County of Denver or pay a fee to the City’s Affordable Housing Fund. If the City & County of Denver did not intervene and enter into a contract with these elements, the site would have been sold by CDOT to another purchaser who could develop the site under the existing Campus zoning or seek to rezone the site.
What is the property currently zoned for?
The 4201 E. Arkansas Ave. site is currently zoned Campus-Educational Institution-2 (CMP-EI2). Campus zoning allows a broad list of allowable uses including residential; multifamily; group living; office; education; cultural; arts, recreation and entertainment; day care, community services; and other uses. Campus allows buildings to 150-feet in height and 12-stories, with a 45-degree bulk plane starting at a height of 75-feet and stepping up and back along the properties’ perimeters. Campus zoning has a 20-foot setback. For more information on the property’s zoning, go to the Existing Site information Home/About link of this webpage.
What is Kentro seeking to rezone the property to and what would that allow?
Kentro is seeking to redevelop the old CDOT campus into a mixed-use “neighborhood center”. As discussed, Kentro is required to rezone the site as part of the CDOT-Denver contract process, along with other contractual requirements. As we have discussed in community meetings and other outreach, Kentro is applying to rezone the site to a combination of Suburban Mixed-Use (S-MX) zone districts in various heights stepping down as you go east/southeast into the neighborhood—S-MX-12, S-MX-8, S-MX-5, S-MX-3 and S-MU-3. The S-MX zone district allows for a mix of uses, including retail (which includes restaurants, coffee shops, other retail), which is not permitted under the current Campus zone district. Kentro’s vision is to create a mixed-use “neighborhood center” with increased walkability, activation, circulation and step-downs and landscape buffers to the neighborhood. As part of the rezoning process, Kentro has been discussing a Development Agreement with the City that would help guide certain outcomes in the development process (such as required open space, infrastructure and potentially certain design standards). Without the mixed-use zoning in place, Kentro cannot recruit retail users to the site that are key for activation, so it is very early in the development process. The rezoning is the first step in the lengthy process to ultimately attract a mix of uses that can be developed to make this site an amenity for the neighborhood.
What would happen if the site were not rezoned?
If Kentro does not rezone the site, the property would remain zoned Campus (CMP-EI2) and CDOT would still be seeking to sell the property who could seek to redevelop the site under the current zoning. Again, Campus zoning allows up to 150-feet and 12-stories of height, stepping back and up from 75-feet along the property’s edges. Allowable uses under Campus include: residential; multifamily; group living; office; education; cultural; arts, recreation and entertainment; day care, community services; and other uses. Also, if the property is not rezoned, a development agreement with the City that could provide assurances for items such minimum open space, circulation and design standards is unknown.
How will traffic be impacted and handled with the site’s redevelopment?
Traffic is an important issue and Kentro is committed to working with the City & County of Denver, the City’s Public Works Department and CDOT regarding appropriate transportation improvements and traffic/infrastructure analysis as the site is rezoned and redeveloped. Under current Campus zoning, the site could be developed with a high density of residential and office uses which would add a number of new destination vehicular trips. Under the mixed-use rezoning scenario, while the site would experience an increase in vehicle trips from its former headquarters use, the number of net-new destination trips would be decreased with a mix of uses and more pass-by and alternate mode (walk/bike/etc.) trips. As part of our community meetings, we conducted some early traffic modeling scenarios (pages 14-16 of this PDF) that will evolve and adjust with the ultimate mix of uses for the site. While traffic will increase regardless of the zoning as the site is developed, Kentro has hired a traffic engineer that is actively working with the City on all traffic impacts and considerations with the ultimate goal of protecting the neighborhood and minimizing traffic disruption.
What community outreach has Kentro performed and what feedback has been received thus far?
Kentro has held four public/community meetings between January and early May 2018 (Jan. 25, Mar. 8, April 5, May 3). At each of these meetings, a variety of input has been received on topics including Uses, Zoning, Traffic/Infrastructure, Aspirations, Concerns, etc. In addition to the four community meetings, Kentro has been meeting with a group of dedicated neighbors that formed the CDOT task force. Kentro has attended other group meetings such as the East Evans Business Association and met with Denver Public Schools about Ellis Elementary School. Kentro has attended special meetings convened by City representatives regarding environmental and traffic issues. In all, Kentro has received a wide-array of input and feedback, all of which is immensely valuable.
Below is a list of some of the main points of feedback which we’ve received and how we are proposing to respond:
What is being done to address the environmental issues on the site?
Kentro is actively working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), CDOT, the City and County of Denver and our consultants to understand the environmental components of the Property. A Special Public Environmental Meeting will be held 7:00 Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at Cook Park Recreation Center to discuss 4201 E Arkansas Ave Property.
What will happen to the Communication Tower on the east section of the Property (next to Birch)?
The Communication Tower and land/building beneath it will not be included in the sale. The State of Colorado will continue to own and operate the tower.
How can I connect with Kentro Group to learn more and provide input?
Kentro is committed to having an open door policy throughout the rezoning and development process. There are a number of ways to connect with us: