D4 Urban to redevelop Denver Design District & Alameda Marketplace? What about Gates/Cherokee?

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The Denver Post has an article talking about some new development plans popping up on Baker's southern end. "D4 Urban LLC" is a partnership formed by Chris Waggett, Warren Cohen, and Jim Frank in February of this year. The general development plan for this area was approved in May of 2009.

layout of new space

As this image shows, the northern extremes are slated to stay roughly as they currently are: big box stores we all love to hate and hate to love. The area around the Alameda station will be "transportation" which might mean moving some of the industrial uses elsewhere and increasing that transit-oriented uses. A large swatch of parking lot space in front of the current Sam's Club area and extending over to Broadway is labeled "Main street & residential" which means a lot of things, but basically retail and residential. Centered around Center Ave. would be an updated design center and education area. And we end at the South with an office area which is a totally logical use of such a high-traffic area.

Functionally it's a very similar vision to the one laid out for the Gates/Cherokee project which has been dead-ish for a few years.

What impact on Gates/Cherokee development

Back in 2009 we wrote about how the Cherokee development partners was abandoning its claim to some land in the very southern tip of Baker south of I-25 that includes the Gates Rubber Factory. They abandoned it as not commercially viable. Presumably if there is a duplicate project built a few blocks north there will initially be less demand for the Gates plot to be rebuilt since it will take a while for the D4 Urban property to fill with tenants.

So, this new vision for the space north of I-25 seems like it will delay any work on the Gates property. Of course, that assumes that the D4 Urban concept does actually go ahead and in the Denver Post article

Waggett stressed that redevelopment of the site would not begin until market conditions are favorable and financing can be obtained. The team is working on a plan to do the project in phases so existing tenants see as little disruption as possible.

This could be another vision that fails to come in to timely fruition much like the Gates redevelopment was born and has now seemingly died.

20110423_102036_design.jpg62.9 KB


the key word is "decades" ...

the key phrase in the Denver Post article is "Over the next few decades ..."

the map shown is highly simplified; when complete, the northern end will be radically different from today's giant parking lots with isolated big box stores; major retailers like Albertson's will remain, as the article notes "in a different format" — they will mingle with commercial and residential uses within multistory buildings fronting the sidewalks of a reinstated street grid; parking will be mostly out of view, while pedestrian amenities and usable open space will be greatly increased

the existing "Denver Design Center" area (the southern portion) was renamed "Denver Design District" in the midst of the recent planning process; the latter is also the name the developers and the city-approved General Development Plan gave to the entire area south of Alameda; this news makes it seem as if the Denver Design District is now moving faster than the partially-completed projects at the former Gates plant; because of the phasing the developers describe, however, the big boxes may be among the last things to change