Shepherd thinks tower is under parked


  • Councilwoman Susan Shepherd addresses parking at apartment tower.
  • Board made right decision, because of its narrow scope.
  • She would like to see West 35th Avenue turned into a “bicycle boulevard.”
Eden Manor has been renamed as Julian32 at Highlands Square.

Eden Manor has been renamed as Julian32 at Highlands Square.

Councilwoman Susan Shepherd “is very concerned” that the former Eden Manor high-rise apartment building in West Highland doesn’t have enough parking.

However, she said the Denver Board of Adjustments for Zoning made the correct decision last month when it ruled that it did not need more parking, despite its purchase earlier this year by a private developer who plans to phase in market-rate apartments to the 12-story building at West 32nd Avenue and Julian Street.

Shepherd said the board looks at a “very narrow” set of facts in determining whether the use had changed enough that it would require more parking spaces.

The West Highland Neighborhood Association had filed an appeal with the board, unsuccessfully arguing that since being built in 1962 it had primarily served senior citizens, many of whom did not drive, while as a market-rate building it did not have enough parking spaces for the 114-unit building.

“I do think it is under-parked,” Shepherd said. “But I don’t have any leverage,” to require the developer, Mark Nealon, to add more parking spaces.

The building has an estimated 57 parking spaces, according to Steve Kite of the WHNA.

Shepherd said she thinks the lack of parking spaces at the building, renamed as Julian32 at Highlands Square, would pose a bigger problem than if RedPeak ends up developing three nearby parcels into luxury apartment buildings.

RedPeak would need to provide one parking space per unit under the current zoning code for proposed buildings north of West 32nd Avenue on Lowell Boulevard, Meade Street and West Moncrieff Place.

“I don’t know, maybe we need to look at a new ordinance requiring more parking for buildings like Eden Manor, when they are sold,” Shepherd said.

“This could be a much bigger issue than this single building,” she said. “I would like to know how many building citywide would be effected.”

Shepherd said her biggest priority on the council is to improve the “bikeability” and “walkability,” not only in District 1 that she represents, but the entire city.

And she said that when she met with Nealon earlier this summer, after learning he had bought the building, he was sympathetic to her passion to encourage “multi-modal” transportation alternatives beyond cars.

“He owns a number of buildings besides this one, and he said that he does things like include bike racks and bike storage in his buildings,” she said.

She said maybe he could designate a space for a car-share at his West Highland building to encourage renters to use alternative modes of transportation. Nealon has not yet returned calls from

Meanwhile, Shepherd said that she is looking into turning West 35th Avenue into a “bike boulevard,” which could help traffic in the area and the environment by encouraging more commuting by bikes.

A bike boulevard, she said, is a specific way of making streets more accommodating and safer for bicyclists, while still allowing cars on them. Fifteenth Street in downtown is an example of a bike boulevard.

“Thirty fifth is a good candidate because it doesn’t have a lot of car traffic on it,” Shepherd said. “I think the bike boulevard would go at least from Sheridan to Federal.”

It could be a “year or two,” before 35th is transformed into a bike boulevard, she said.

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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, covering commercial real estate for the Internet publication.

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  1. IMO, creating some special accommodations for bikes would do almost nothing to reduce the need for parking at that building. I think economic need will force the new building owner to create more parking, I do not think government intervention is necessary.

    • JohnD,
      Your theory is pretty good, but in this case, I think the added retrofit parking spaces will be a little too expensive. Developers are seeing costs of $15k-$30k per space nowadays. The average renter won’t pay the added $100/month for a space.

      Recently an apt. building in my neighborhood was completed with .75 spaces per unit. Their lot is never full, so that tells me .5 spaces per unit should be OK for most market rate buildings.

      Car2go is the perfect solution for those renters. It basically costs $0.38/min., which means the average errand is only $5. I do hope they start offering a 4 seat car for those times I need to take the whole family.

      • Kevin, I believe you are making a reference to my proposal from the other thread, which I will cut and paste here: “The solution I would pursue would involve both eliminating some of the ground floor square footage and turning it into covered parking (possibly as a temporary solution). And secondly buying what looks like a duplex on the other side of Julian, and building a 3 story parking garage there.”
        I don’t know the mix (%1 bed vs. % 2 bed) of either this building or the one you reference, which makes a comparison difficult for me. And I don’t know the location of the apartment building near you, I would assert that a downtown Denver apt building would need less parking, I do not consider the Highlands downtown. As far as the cost of constructing new parking… the expected market rent is something like $400/month greater than its current senior only use rate, it seems to me the owner must have factored in the cost of adding more parking before he bought the building, if he was expecting to get market rate rent. You and Dave are big fans of the Zip Cars et al. I know they are somewhat popular in dense urban areas like Boston, and NYC, but I don’t think west Denver is dense enough for their target market, I could be wrong. You must move a lot faster than me, it takes me at least 25 minutes to drive to, shop, and drive back home.

        • My analysis. Your mileage may vary.

          1. You don’t currently own a car and are thinking about living at Julian32.
          2. You take the bus, walk, bike to work.

          Buy a car
          Annual cost is: $6360
          $20K purchase and finance for 5 years at 0% with annual cost of $4000.
          Insurance for $1000.
          Gas (5000 miles/year at 25 mi/gal at $3/gal) is $600.
          Miscellaneous maintenance $400
          Additional monthly rent of parking space is $360.

          Use Car2Go + Enterprise
          Annual cost = $3942
          4 trips per week for grocery shopping at 38¢/min x 20 min each way is $3162 per year
          Rent a weekend car from Enterprise for $50 x 15 weekends is $750
          Membership fee = $30 lifetime

          • @DaveB I think your $4,000/year amortization is at least double of real world for a Car2go level comp. Perfectly good used compact cars can be found for under $4,000. And your calculation fails to account for the value of the time of the person locating said vehicles.

  2. Sheridan to Federal along 35th creates more of a ‘playground’ for bicycles, not a viable thoroughfare or transportation alternative. It’s too short a span. For commuting or getting cross town, we need long distances of safe streets, like from downtown to Golden, without having to stop at every intersection.

  3. Two important things about Car2go:
    1. You can stop the clock on the car rental the second you park. Then you go in and shop. Chances are that car will still be there for an hour. If not, another one is around the corner.

    2. You can park in any metered space in Denver for free with no time limit.

    So if you’re headed to the CBD or Cherry Creek, you can save almost all the rental cost with parking savings. Your “looking for parking” time and feeding the meter time is also reduced. It’s a game changer.

    I also love the idea of bike boulevards. East 16th Ave. is a great local example.

    • I can understand how Car2go would be desirable to a segment of the population including but not limited to students and retired people. We can all agree that I am not in the segment that finds it desirable. We evidently disagree on how big of a segment of the population would use Car2go as their primary vehicle. Off Topic: Why the h#!$ should everyone else be subsidizing Car2go customers with free parking at meters? How I am benefiting from their share a car decision?

      • JohnD: Car2Go pays the City of Denver for each car it has in its fleet, in exchange for people being able to park at meters for free. As I recall, it pays a little over $2K per year, per car. Maybe a reader knows the exact amount.

        • What is worse for the 25 year old guy on a 1st date, picking up the girl in the glorified golf cart(cars2go) or ending the date back at the retirement home?

  4. As someone who lives on W. 34th and who uses 35th all the time to get to various places, I absolutely HATE the idea of a “bicycle boulevard.” It already has plenty of cyclists; a “boulevard” would only attract more urban hipsters who don’t know how to ride bikes in traffic. No thanks.

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