Gated community for vacant church site on the edge of Hilltop. planned

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The former church at 50 S. Colorado Blvd. has been empty for years. (Thomas Gounley Photo)

After years of talking about redevelopment, an abandoned church on the outskirts of Hilltop and Cherry Creek isn’t long in this world.

The boarded up structure at 50 S. Colorado Blvd. was sold to Denver-based First Stone Development earlier this month.

Lenny Taub

“As soon as I have the permits, I’ll tear it down,” said First Stone President Lenny Taub, calling the property “a derelict site.”

First Stone paid $ 3.75 million for the former church and its parking lot to the north – about 1 acre total, he said.

Taub said he plans to build a 20-house condominium, some of which are likely to cost more than $ 2 million. And parking for the project – called Hilltop West – will be entirely underground, meaning the ground floor will not be dominated by garages.

“The houses will essentially face each other, with a walkway running down the middle,” Taub said.

The 20 units are distributed over 10 structures with two units each. The 10 units on the east side of the property will be approximately 3,400 square feet. The 10 on the west side of the property that lead to Colorado Boulevard will be slightly smaller – about 2,700 square feet.

Each unit will have an elevator and three bedrooms, Taub said. The ground floor will have the kitchen and other living spaces. The bedrooms are on the second floor. And the third floor will have a “bonus room” that opens onto a roof terrace.

“You can use it as an office, party room or even as an additional bedroom,” says Taub

The parking lot situation is “very unique,” said Taub. He said the zoning limited the property to three stories, and he almost stepped out of his sales contract when he realized that a rooftop would count as one story.

But Taub said he had already tried to find a way to have the kitchen and living room on the ground floor instead of above the garage as is the case with many townhouse projects. So he decided to dig.

Now the plan is for drivers coming into the property from the back streets – there will be no driveway on busy Colorado Boulevard – to the parking deck and then head up into the house and neighborhood, which will be a small car-free pocket.

“That way it costs a lot more money, but we benefit from building the roof terrace,” said Taub.

Taub submitted a concept plan for the project to the city. Although some details may change, he said that based on feedback from the city so far, he is confident that his comprehensive vision will get the green light.

The existing church building dates from 1961 according to ownership records. The site has not been owned by a religious organization since 2006 when Kingdom of Faith Kingdom Center Inc. sold both parcels to Folsom Ventures LLC for $ 1.15 million, according to records demonstrate.

First Stone bought the property from a subsidiary of McKinnon & Associates under the direction of Doug McKinnon. He bought the property for $ 1.8 million in 2014, records show. McKinnon also owns several largely unused lots across Colorado Boulevard, which the city rezoned last year.

A local neighborhood group, the Cranmer Park / Hilltop Civic Association, posted posts Update on his website for years about efforts to “bring this from an eyesore to a development that the neighborhood can be satisfied with”. An official from the organization was quoted in Denverite as saying it was “a long process” – and that story has been made public in 2017.

While Taub said he will demolish the church as soon as possible, there will likely be a break between that point and the start of construction on Hilltop West. He hopes to be able to break the ground in 12 to 14 months.

Taub said he thinks the larger units could be listed for $ 2.1 million and the smaller ones for $ 1.8 million, although that could change given market conditions at the time.

“Right now, I don’t think there is any new build in Hilltop that can be bought for that price,” he said.

Taub developed in the New York City area for years before moving to Denver about six and a half years ago and relocating his focus here. He has completed numerous row houses in the Berkeley area.

In June, Taub broke ground for a five-story, 123-unit home on the 600 block of Santa Fe Drive in Lincoln Park, which could be completed in about 18 months, he said. He’ll start selling these units in the first quarter and will likely charge an average price of $ 580 per square foot.

Taub is also planning a 34-unit home on the 4300 block of Tennyson Street and has already purchased the property. He also hopes to start building a 140-unit townhouse project in Winter Park in April. The two-bedroom units, roughly 1,200 to 1,300 square feet including the garage, are likely to start at around $ 630,000, he said.

“The demand is huge,” he said of the mountain town. “It’s underpinned.”


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