Developer selected for downtown site

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The Englewood Urban Renewal Authority board of directors voted unanimously Aug. 21 to start negotiations on a contract that could bring apartments and retail to downtown Englewood.

The developer, Lakewood-based Medici Communities, has proposed a project on property that includes the Englewood Parkway/Broadway corner and the block-long parking lot that faces the 3400 block of South Acoma Street.

The Aug. 21 meeting was authority’s third session to evaluate two development proposals, one from Medici and one from Denver-based MGL Partners.

At the Aug. 21 session, board member comments included some of their reasons for favoring the Medici proposal, including their belief that the company has a better parking plan and overall design concept.

The Medici concept of the Broadway Lofts development is to construct an apartment and retail project on the site. The proposal would establish an 8,600-square-foot restaurant site on the corner of Broadway and Englewood Parkway. The five-story buildings along the parkway and three-story building along Acoma would contain 114 apartments. Less than half of the apartments would be rented at costs the local workforce could afford, and the remaining apartments would rent for market value. There would be a parking garage with 176 spaces, plus 32 surface parking spaces.

The renewal authority owns the Acoma parking lot and about half the lot fronting on Broadway and Englewood Parkway. The city owns the other half of the frontage lot.

The authority members are tentatively scheduled to meet with the city council Sept. 3 to discuss the proposal.

This process to develop the Broadway/Englewood Parkway land and the parking lot began early this year when the authority and the city council agreed to put out a request for proposal for development of the site.

White said there were 45 requests for information about the site, but only three development proposals by the April deadline. He said one proposal was eliminated from further consideration because it didn’t meet EURA evaluation criteria. He said that, while the specific details of the final two proposals were different, both proposals would develop a project of mixed-use retail and residential development, which would be allowed since the proposed development site is zoned commercial.

“Now that the authority has selected the preferred proposal, the next step is negotiating the development contract,” Alan White, community development director, said Aug. 22. “We would like to reach agreement on the details, including land purchase costs, so the developer can move forward with the project.”

Troy Gladwell of Medici said the company is pleased to be selected to for this project.

“We have a concept for the project but we want to work with the city and the neighbors to gain input for the final design. We have sometimes found the discussions have led to favorable changes to the project,” he said. “Our perception is, all the activities in Englewood and the market conditions make this a favorable time for us to build our proposed mixed-use, mixed-rental project.”

He said he expects finalizing the design and obtaining the necessary permits will take eight to 12 months. Then it will take about 24 months to complete the project.

The urban renewal authority was established in 1973 and became active in the early 1980s. The first project was flood control work on Little Dry Creek. That was followed in the 1983 project seeking to improve downtown businesses. The project built the King Soopers building in the 3300 block of South Broadway. The authority contracted for demolition of the buildings in the 3300 and 3400 blocks of South Acoma and Bannock streets for proposed retail development.

The concept was to create a project called Trolley Square in the 3300 block of South Broadway and along Englewood Parkway. Only a handful of tenants ever occupied Trolley Square, and the authority was unable to pay off bonds sold to build the project. Eventually the structure was demolished and became the King Soopers parking lot.

Since the 1980s, the Broadway/Englewood Parkway site has been an empty lot and the area from the alley to the 3400 block of South Acoma Street has been a parking lot. 

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