- Emmaus seeking to rezone property in West Highland.
- Land would be used for a 2-story medical office building.
- Development is controversial. Some neighbors support it, others hate it.
- A link to sign up for design input on the medical office building is at the bottom of this blog.
The Emmaus Lutheran Church, which has been involved in a controversial rezoning of its property at West 32nd Avenue and Irving Street for about a year, is seeking community input on the design of proposed two-story medical office building it would like to build on a portion of the site.
Participants in the design review will discuss, give input, and share ideas about the new building’s exterior appearance, landscaping, exterior lighting design, and shared valet parking arrangement.
“The design review will give neighbors an opportunity to be part of creating a valuable new resource for their community,” said Sundari Kraft, communications director for the Emmaus project.
“The people who live in northwest Denver are deeply engaged and involved, and we’re excited to have conversations with them about how best to integrate the new building into the existing neighborhood,” Kraft said.
The design review will be facilitated by AndersonMasonDale Architects, which would design the new facility.
Northwest Denver residents who would like to participate in the design review can sign up on the project’s website.
Emmaus: Long history in West Highland
Emmaus has been part of the West Highland neighborhood in northwest Denver for more than 100 years.
It wants to change the zoning and redevelop the 39,079-square- foot north portion of that property.
That site includes a closed two-story school building, an attached office wing, a storage building, and an asphalt lot.
The new medical office building is proposed to have 26,000 to 28,000 square feet of space with a footprint covering 13,000 to 14,000 square feet.
It would have about 77 parking spaces, almost three times as the city requirement of one parking space for every 1,00 square feet of office space.
The idea is that parking would be enough for patients and those working at the new facility.
The site, during the citywide zoning in 2010, was rezoned as U-SU-A, which zoning for single-family homes.
Emmaus seeking to have it zoned U-MS-2x.
The church is seeking to develop a medical facility on the site to provide it with a steady stream of income.
It has a letter of intent from the Lutheran Medical Center that would be affiliated with the new medical office building.
The center is proposed to provide prenatal care, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, family practice/primary care and internal medicine for the elderly and those with more acute needs. It would include extended hours family practice with MRI and X-rays capabilities.
However, abortions would not be performed at the facility, as that is against the tenets of Lutheran Medical. Nor would it be served by ambulances.
On March 3, the Denver Community Planning and Development posted the Emmaus rezoning application.
“That means it is very early in the process,” said Andrea Burns, spokeswoman for the planning department.
“It is in the pipeline,” she added.
Although it is early in the actual rezoning process, it has been a matter of controversy and divided opinions for much longer.
Last May, about 20 people who live within 200 feet of the site submitted identical letters to the city in support of the redevelopment.
Emmaus a “good neighbor”
“I like what I heard and I am favor of what the church is proposing to do. The Church is a good neighbor,” according to identical language in each letter.
Others worry that if it is developed into a medical facility, it will bring noise and more traffic to an already congested intersection.
The West Highland Neighborhood Association has called for a traffic study to measure the impact of the proposed medical office complex.
The area already is congested and dangerous and the facility would make a bad situation worse, Brandi Baldschun, who lives next to the Emmaus site, said at several WHNA meetings. Some opponents also worry that the church could sell the land to a developer that would only be driven by profit. Church officials, however, have promised not to sell it, as they want it to generate income for it basically forever.
A grassroots group opposition group that has launched a petition opposing the Emmaus plan called Zone it Right West Highlands, currently has 78 supporters.
Do you want to participate in the design process? In that case, go to Neighborhood Medical Care in West Highland.
Interested in buying a home in West Highland? Please visit COhomefinder.com.
Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com. InsideRealEstateNews.com is sponsored by 8z Real Estate. If you would like to be a sponsor of InsideRealEstateNews, please contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com or 303-945-6865. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.