Lakehouse, 12-story condo tower at Sloans

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Lakehouse new name for 12-story tower.

Lakehouse to be built in Sloans, across from Sloan’s Lake.

Lakehouse being developed by NAVA.

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Sloan's Lake

Lakehouse will be built across from Sloan’s Lake. The architect is RNL Design.

Although construction of the 12-story 226-unit condominium tower just south of Sloan’s Lake won’t start until the fourth quarter, real estate brokers and some prospective buyers will get a first look at the Lakehouse building this week.

On Wednesday night, NAVA Real Estate Development will host a VIP party for “friends and families” and those eager to buy one of the one-of-a-kind units in the sales office still under construction at West 17th Avenue and Raleigh Street in the mixed-use Sloans development. Sloans is a 7-block community that is replacing the former St. Anthony’s hospital campus.

The next night, about 80 brokers already have said they will attend an open house for the long-awaited tower that NAVA is developing and has worked on for the past 3.5 years.

Units at Lakehouse will be priced from the mid $400,000s to more than $1 million.

Unit sizes will range from 675 square feet to 2,473 square feet.

The average sized unit will be 1,190 square feet. The HOA fees are expected to be about 40 cents per square foot.

Seventy percent of the units will have two bedrooms and 25 percent will have one bedrooms. Penthouses will make up the remaining 5 percent.

Units will feature floor-to-ceiling windows, which will be more difficult to provide under recently adopted new building code rules.

The tower, on a 2.2-acre site, also will feature about 7,500 square feet of ground floor retail space.

Lakehouse is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2018. NAVA has the 2.2-acre site under contract. It plans to buy the parcel right before construction starts. The architect is Denver-based RNL Design. Houston-based Munoz + Albin is collaborating with RNL.

Lakehouse also will include a three-level, 400-space parking garage.

Lakehouse also lays claim to being the first registered International WELL Building Institute multifamily project in Colorado.

Lakehouse

An aerial view of the Lakehouse. It shows the swimming pool, the Wellness center health club and the urban garden area.

Dee Chirafisi and Kevin Garrett, of Kentwood City Properties, who are listing the project, will begin taking orders from buyers next week.

Starting next week, the sales center for Lakehouse, will be open from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. The center, with a wooden exterior reminiscent of a traditional lake house,  is at 4202 W. 17th Ave.

“I think this product will be appealing to a pretty broad-based market,” said Trevor Hines, CEO of NAVA.

Brian Levitt, president of NAVA, agreed.

Lakehouse to appeal to many buyers

They both expect that buyers will include young professionals and empty nesters.

“I think we will have a lot of interest from people who are living in downtown apartment building and would rather live in a condo building,” Hines said.

Levitt said he also think a number of buyers will be those downsizing from large single-family homes in suburbs such as Highlands Ranch

“There are a lot of people who want to live by downtown, but not in an urban jungle,” Levitt said.

The proximity of Lakehouse to Sloan’s Lake will be a huge draw, he said.

“We have heard from people in Portland, Chicago and New York who are moving to Denver who live on water,” Levitt said.

“They want to live by a lake again,” he said.

Sloan’s Lake is the largest lake in the city and is a huge amenity.

Lakehouse

Another view of the Lakehouse, scheduled to open in late 2018.

He said there might even be a handful of buyers moving from a place like New York, who even have young children, he said.

Condo developments have come to almost a complete standstill in the Denver area, because of the threat of construction defect lawsuits.

“As Trevor has said, we know there is no silver bullet,” to resolve the issue, Levitt said.

“It does put an additional burden on developers. All we can do is hire the best people, spend a lot of time on the engineering and process, and, in the case there is a problem, we will obviously stand behind it and do our best to resolve the issue,” Levitt said.

The potential for litigation, “is a risk we are very acutely aware of,” Hines said. “I think we will be giving buyers the best bang for the buck and we are spending money in all of the right places,” to reduce the threat of a lawsuit.

They even spent a great deal of time on picking the name, which only recently was branded as Lakehouse.

“We spent a lot of time thinking about it and came up with many different ideas,” Hines said.

“We decided what people really cared about and identified with is its proximity to the lake,” he continued.

“Being on a lake makes this really special. The project could be re-imagined as a lake house where people feel calm, relaxed and in touch with nature. We felt the name, Lakehouse, really captured the spirit of that.”

Levitt noted that many people have fond memories of attending camp along a lake as children and Lakehouse will remind them of those good times.

As a WELL building, Lakehouse will have better air quality and purer water than found in a typical building. It also will emphasize things such as fitness, natural light, comfort and nourishment.

To that end, they have hired a Golden-based company called Agriburbia, to build and maintain a rooftop garden near the swimming pool and recreation center.

Residents can buy shares in the garden and pick their own produce. There even will be a juice bar in the 7,000-square-foot health club, where they can fix themselves a healthy drink on the spot with the freshly picked produce.

Even being across from Sloan’s Lake contributes to wellness, as residents will be encouraged to use it for walking, biking and jogging.

Will WELL sell?

Will a WELL certified building make a difference to buyers?

“That is the big question,” Levitt said. “People, I think, I have come to expect energy-efficient, sustainable construction. I think buyers will want to live in a place where they have better air and better water and a healthier environment.”

Making it a WELL building adds 1 percent to the cost, he said.

In any case, they aren’t embracing wellness as a marketing tool.

“We’re doing this because we think it is the right thing to do,” Hines said.

In addition to being a WELL building, Lakehouse will be an Energy Star-certified building.

Sloan’s itself a selling point

Another thing they like is that the Lakehouse will be one of the anchors in Sloans, which also will include an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, retail, offices and other housing options.

“That is very important to us,” Levitt said.

“If you look at places like Belmar and Lowry and Stapleton, they are all master-planned communities. Having the first-run movie theater and all of the retail that Lakehouse residents can walk to in this 7-block community really made this a place where we want to be.”

Sloans also is an asset to the area, Hines said.

“We think this is an area that is really under-served in terms of retail, dining an entertainment,” he said. “We think this will be a true town center and we are happy to be contributing to what Denver wanted this site to be.”

Lakehouse

A map of Sloans.

Although Hines and Levitt believe their tower is in the right place and coming on line at the right time, not everyone has embraced it.

Last year, the Sloan’s Lake Neighborhood Association, with plaintiffs who live near the lake, sued the Denver City Council over the zoning decision to allow the 12-story Lakehouse. They argued that the city ignored an earlier task force recommendation to put the tallest buildings close to West Colfax Avenue and not close to Sloan’s Lake.

Several months ago, a judge dismissed the lawsuit and the registered neighborhood appealed.

Larry Ambrose, vice president of the SLNA, said he doesn’t object to having tall buildings on the former hospital campus, but he said the tower is on the wrong side of the development.

“Having a high-rise across Sloan’s Lake is our worst nightmare,” Ambrose said. He said the lawsuit will likely will be consolidated with a similar one opposing an apartment community by Hines, just to the east of the tower. Hines, based in Houston, is headed by Gerald Hines, Trevor’s father.

Ambrose said if the neighborhood ultimately loses at the appellate level, they might take it to the state Supreme Court.

Lawsuit hasn’t gone away

Denver attorney Greg Kerwin this week has agreed to be the pro bono attorney for the SLNA, Ambrose said. Kerwin has unsuccessfully fought development plans in Lowry and Crestmoor Park, which some neighborhoods thought were too dense and would create too much traffic and congestion.

Hines said while NAVA is not directly involved in the lawsuit, they would like to see it go away.

“We don’t think it has any legal merit and we do not think it has any hope of succeeding,” Hines said.

“But the broader problem is the lack of trust,” he said.

For example, some neighbors believe the building will be constructed right next to West 17th Avenue. In truth, the building will be setback at least 30 feet from the street, he noted.

Where the sales office is today, will eventually be a plaza, so the building won’t start until about 40  or 45 feet from 17th Avenue.

Developer listening to neighbors

Also, the zoning allowed them to build 45-foot tall buildings along the edges, but they voluntarily downsized them.

“We realized the neighboring houses are primarily two-stories, so to keep the buildings closest to the houses at a similar scale, we are keeping the height to 25 feet, when we could have built 45 feet,” Hines said.

He said they are continuing to reach out to neighbors, as well as City Councilman Rafael Espinoza, who represents District 1.

“We’re trying to address everyone’s concerns as best we can,” Hines said. “We want to keep the lines of communications open. We want to be good neighbors and we think we will be good neighbors. We want everyone to be happy.”

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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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