Zocalo, Emily Griffith Foundation team up



  • Zocalo plans an apartment tower of about 20 stories near the Brown Palace.
  • Zocalo is developing the tower on behalf of the Emily Griffith Foundation.
  • Zocalo begins construction next year, as Emily Griffith Technical College celebrates 100 years in Denver.
Zocalo will develop an apartment tower of about 20 stories across from the Trinity Methodist Church in downtown Denver.

Zocalo will develop an apartment tower of about 20 stories across from the Trinity Methodist Church in downtown Denver.

Zocalo Community Development plans to develop about a 20-story building that will bring about 200 of mostly affordable and workforce housing across from the Trinity United Methodist church in downtown Denver.

Zocalo, widely regarded as one of the most socially conscious developers in Denver, is collaborating with the Emily Griffith Foundation on the high-rise, mixed-use project that will bring educational and job training opportunities as well as housing to the site at 1811 Lincoln St.

Records show that Emily Griffith Foundation paid $14 million for 98,700 square feet for parcels at 1811 Lincoln St. and 1820 and 1830 Broadway.

Zocalo arranged the financing through Citywide Banks and transferred the property to the Emily Griffith Foundation at no cost, explained David Zucker, founder of Zocalo. The acquisition includes a five-story, 320-space parking garage at 1855 Lincoln St. that was built in the mid-1980s.

The seller was the Avanti Group of Florida. Earlier, Avanti sold a nearby parcel for the 27-story, 354-unit luxury Skyhouse Denver apartment tower that under construction across the street from the Brown Palace and the Trinity church.

“Our building will be right across the street from the Trinity United Methodist Church, which is a beautiful building, but we also are basically across the street from Skyhouse,” Zucker said.

The new apartment tower probably will have an additional 300 or so parking spaces, Zucker estimated.

Zocalo will develop the apartment tower for the Emily Griffith Foundation.

David Zucker, founder of Zocalo Development.

David Zucker, founder of Zocalo Development.

Zucker estimated that about 20 percent of the units in the new tower will be for market-rate apartments, with the remaining 80 percent for affordable and workforce housing for those earning 50 percent to 90 percent of the area median income.

An architect has been chosen, but hasn’t yet been publicly identified, Zucker said.

“We are building a mixed-use, mixed-income project that will do a number of things. First, it will support the long-term financial capacity of the foundation, which was formed to provide financial support for the Emily Griffith Technical College,” Zucker said.

The foundation provides funds for everything from staff to scholarships at Emily Griffith Technical College, he noted.

“Second, the project will serve as a community impact development hub that will create opportunities for those hoping to move from lower-income to middle and upper-income opportunities,” Zucker said.

No one does that better than Emily Griffith, he said.

“In its almost 100-year history, well over 1 million students have gone through Emily Griffith, which has probably had the single biggest impact on creating a significant middle class in Denver and the in the Denver area than any other institution for those with lesser incomes,” Zucker said.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2016, coinciding with Emily Griffith’s 100-year anniversary. Construction would take about two years.

The Social Enterprise Hub probably will have about 12,000 square feet of retail space for Technical College students that want to receive hands-on training. while pursuing some of the more than 50 certificate programs at the Technical College like cosmetology, culinary arts and nursing.

Emily Griffith also will provide a workforce development center and a day care/early childhood center that it will run.

The acquisition and future developments expands the pioneering, award-winning partnership between Emily Griffith, Denver Public Schools and the Downtown Denver Expeditionary School by Denver Public Schools immediately across the street at 1860 Lincoln St.

“Our goal would be that many of the families living in the tower would be taking advantage of Emily Griffith courses. Maybe their children would be enrolled in the DPS Expeditionary School while the parents learn a skill at Emily Griffith,” Zucker said.

Emily Griffith Technical College has moved to 1860 Lincoln St. Zocalo is working with the Emily Griffith Foundation nearby on a mixed-use housing project.

Emily Griffith Technical College has moved to 1860 Lincoln St. Zocalo is working with the Emily Griffith Foundation nearby on a mixed-use housing project.

Alby Segal, president of the Emily Griffith Foundation, said this development is an important milestone.

“With this purchase and future development, the Emily Griffith Foundation has taken a big step toward a financially sustainable future and an increased role in the support of Emily Griffith Technical College,” Segal said.

“Our intention is to be a catalyst for economic growth and social enterprise in the rapidly growing neighborhoods to the north and east of downtown,” Segal continued.

“We are excited about the continuing partnership with Zocalo Community Development,” Segal added.

Some of Zocalo’s other developments include: Cadence Union Station, 2020 Lawrence Street, Solera Apartments and RiverClay Condominiums.

“Over the past century Emily Griffith Technical College has contributed immeasurably to the growth of Denver’s middle class,” said Iván Anaya, a development manager for Zocalo.

“Zocalo is excited to collaborate with the Foundation on an innovative, reproducible project that will increase the foundation’s capacity to support the technical college in an unprecedented manner,” Anaya continued.  “Community impact projects such as this embrace Zocalo’s commitment to serving community through real estate development,” Anaya said.

Zucker said that Citywide deserves special praise for providing financing for the ddal.

“This is not a typical deal where you just check off boxes,” Zucker said.

“You needed a bank that really understood our goals and what we plan to accomplish. Citywide gets it.”

Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com. DenverRealEstateWatch.com is sponsored by 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.

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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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