St. Anthony’s Hospital site sold

A site plan view of the St. Anthony's site near Sloan's Lake.

A site plan view of the St. Anthony’s site near Sloan’s Lake.

 

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 Article Highlights:

  • St. Anthony’s campus at Sloan’s Lake sold.
  • $300 million development could include towers.
  • EFG plans to maximize recycling of demolition rubble.

A master developer has completed its purchase of the St. Anthony hospital site near Sloan’s Lake, which will be redeveloped as a seven-block urban community that eventually could have as many as 1,200 new residential units and 300,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.

“We’re very excited,” said Stuart Miner, president of EnviroFinance Group, the master developer.

The amount EnviroFinance Group, or EFG,  paid to Catholic Health Initiatives of Colorado, was not disclosed. The buyer of record is EFG-South Sloan’s Lake I LLC.

 It’s possible the center of the $300 million-plus development could include a high-rise tower component, similar to the 22- and 27-story Pinnacle at City Park South luxury condominiums several miles to the east.

The St. Anthony property is currently zoned for five-story buildings, which is about a story shorter than the tallest building on the 18.85 acre site, just north of West Colfax Avenue, east of Sheridan Boulevard. The main hospital building will be demolished to make way for the new community.

While some neighbors in nearby West Highland have decried proposed five-story apartment buildings near West 32nd Avenue and Lowell Boulevard as “high rises,” some people south of Colfax and in the Sloan’s Lake area have called for more height and density at the St. Anthony’s site, said Miner.

In fact, at some neighborhood meetings, some people have pointed to the City Park towers as what they would like to see on a portion of the St. Anthony land, said Douglas A. Elenowitz, executive vice president and director of development at EFG.

“There is an ongoing conversation of increasing the height in the interior of the property, while continuing to respect the edges,” where lower-height buildings would be constructed, Elenowitz said.

“It’s hard to say how many stories the maximum height might be,” he added. “Let’s just say in general terms, we are probably talking between about eight and 20 stories.”

If zoning is granted for high-rises, it doesn’t mean they will be built, he said.

“I think a limiting factor will be the demand and economic reality of being able to finance that type of construction,” Elenowitz said. “We would like to say we would like to have something in place that is enabling taller building and not necessarily mandating them.”

It’s premature to speculate on the price or rental rates of future homes, but they primarily will be market rate units, Elenowitz said.

Demolitions he said will begin almost immediately and will take about 12 months.

St. Anthony's campus view across Sloan's Lake.

St. Anthony’s campus view across Sloan’s Lake.

A number of buildings are going to be saved,” he said. One of them is the Kuhlman building, which originally served as a dormitory for the Catholic nuns at the hospital, which opened more than 120 years ago. The Denver hospital moved to a new 224-bed hospital on a 50-acre campus in Lakewood in June 2011. The new development is four blocks north of the West Line light-rail station that is scheduled to open later this year.

Another building to be saved will be the chapel near Stuart Street that will be used as public space and for civic use. An existing 717-space parking deck also will escape the wrecking ball and will be used to serve the new community.

Plans also call for extending Raleigh and Quitman streets through the property from West Colfax Avenue to West 17th Avenue to create six full city blocks and improve access to the park.

“We are expecting roughly 900 to 1,200 residential units and 150,000 to 300,000 of commercial and retail use,” when completed, Elenowitz said.

“They’ve been very deliberate in engaging the neighborhood along the way and I think by and large the community is both supportive and excited about what an opportunity the project represents,” Ben Stetler, president of the West Colfax Association of Neighbors, said in a statement.

Denver City Councilwoman Susan Shepherd, who represents the district, said she was excited to hear the news that the property has been sold.

“The community is eager to see the property redeveloped in a way that opens up new economic development opportunities for the whole area, and enhances the character of the neighborhood,” Shepherd said.

“The neighborhood has been waiting and watching and planning for this for years,” Shepherd continued. “Having this move forward is momentous for all of the stakeholders and is very exciting.”

Another look at EFG's proposed plan for the redevelopment of the St. Anthony campus.

Another look at EFG’s proposed plan for the redevelopment of the St. Anthony campus.

She said the option for tall buildings in the center of the site has been on the table for a long time.

“All along, there has been talk of low, medium and high density applications, so this certainly is not a new idea,” Shepherd said. “If you are talking taller, more dense towers, if you will, certainly the center would be the appropriate place for them. But we have to bring this issue in front of all of the community before I would make any kind of statement of where I stand on it.”

EFG likely will sell parcels to other developers who will construct apartments, townhomes, condos and commercial and retail space, he said.

“We are primarily land developers, who prepare the land for others,” he said. “That is our main focus.”

Miner, however, noted the company does have the capability to construct buildings and may decide to build some structures on the site.

The land, Miner and Elenowitz said, is not that contaminated.

“We have spend a considerable amount of time looking at the historic uses of the buildings and the vintage of construction and it is not that polluted of a site,” Elenowitz said.St. Anthony's

Miner said his company has tackled much more polluted sites.

“We are a brownfield (highly polluted site) developer here in Denver and elsewhere,” Miner said, “and many of our projects have been much more environmentally impaired than this one.”

The biggest environmental concern, he said, is removing and disposing of a great deal of asbestos.

During the demolition, the company will take great efforts to recycle and re-use as much of the rubble as possible.

Pinnacle at City Park South.

Some people would like to see something similar to these condo towers next to City Park be built on the St. Anthony’s campus.

For example, aggregate from razing the building could be used as fill to support for foundations or streets.

“A vision of sustainability is one our core beliefs and one of our key components will be to maximize the amount of recycling and re-use of materials, keeping to a minimum the amount that goes to a landfill,” Elenowitz said.

It’s a virtual certainty that developers of residential properties will be just as green and sustainable, he said.

“The good news is that all of the folks interested in this will share our vision of sustainability.”

Interested in buying a home in the Sloan’s Lake area? Please visit COhomefinder.com

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John Rebchook

John Rebchook has more than 30 years of experience in writing and communications. As the Real Estate Editor for the Rocky Mountain News, he wrote about residential and commercial real estate for 26 years. He has won numerous awards for business stories and columns that he wrote, both as an individual and part of teams. In addition to real estate, he also covered economic development, banking and financing, the airlines, and cable TV for the Rocky. In addition, he was one of the original freelance writers for GlobeSt.com, covering commercial real estate for the Internet publication.

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Comments

  1. No. I’d keep it as is, and I’d transform it into a giant haunted house. Or a “Batman” filming location. Same with Gates.

  2. I really don’t care what they build.
    Anything (other than an oil refinery or slaughterhouse) would be better than the abandoned place that it is now.
    I assume that the 3rd developer (after these guys and the next one do the bk) will complete a “nice” project.

  3. This looks like the land plan has some real decent potential. Simple and clean. The devil is in the details though. Let’s hope that whoever develops the buildings does a nice job.

  4. I calculate about 10 acres. On what I would describe as the Spanish speaking side of Sloan’s lake. What was the purchase price? A high density development is going to put a lot of stress on that part of Colfax, which is only two lanes in each direction and would be very expensive to expand.

  5. I’m not a fan of high-rises in general, but they might work here. A lot of people would get a great view of the lake. Bring back swimming in Denver’s lakes, and I’ll put a deposit down.

  6. I would not be skeptical about the ability of a developer to attract well-heeled buyers to the “Spanish speaking side of Sloan’s lake” (yikes, what a phrase). All of central Denver–and this is close-in enough to be considered “central,” if you look at the scale of the metro area–is gentrifying, whether a person likes that idea or not.

    • I used to live in west Denver, and would run around Sloan’s lake on the weekends, the demographics of those that visit are obvious from this perspective. The south side of the lake is dominated by Spanish music playing during summer weekends, hence the description. Anything you extrapolate beyond that is product of your own perversion.

      • I don’t see anything wrong with JohnD’s comment. Most major cities have ethnic neighborhood’s. New York city has Spanish Harlem, little Italy, china town. Chicago has Polish Village and Greektown. Vancouver and San Fran have amazing Chinatown’s. Denver still has ethnic neighborhood’s and I think it’s nice. Just my opinion.

  7. In any other developed nation, Sloan’s lake would be surrounded by parks and gardens, sidewalks & cafe’s.
    Naive as the idea is, why not do so with the hospital acres?

    High rises should not be allowed at all: the view from their indoor occupants might as nice as it was for the hospital patients, but the view from anywhere else around the lake is ruined!

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