Council approves Olde Town project

Michael Hicks
mhicks@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 2/16/21

Olde Town Arvada will be home to new residences soon. The Arvada City Council, by a 5-2 vote, approved Trammell Crow Company’s request for a conditional-use permit for the development of a …

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Council approves Olde Town project

Posted

Olde Town Arvada will be home to new residences soon.

The Arvada City Council, by a 5-2 vote, approved Trammell Crow Company’s request for a conditional-use permit for the development of a 252-apartment building in the mixed-use transit zoning district along Wadsworth Parkway and W. 56th Avenue.

The lot, which sits currently vacant, would also house a 128-room hotel and 15,000 square feet of retail and restaurants south of the apartment complex and across 56th Avenue. While the apartment complex will have an underground 386-space parking garage, retail parking would be surface level.

Councilmembers Lauren Simpson and Nancy Ford voted against the request, while the planning commission recommended approval for the project last November by a 6-1 vote.

City Council originally voted against the development in January 2018 before approving it two months later. However, a Colorado Court of Appeals decision overturned that approval.

The group Arvada for All the People sued the city for violating open meeting laws while also contending that it violated a portion of its land development code. While the court of appeals ruled that the city didn’t violate open meetings laws, it did misinterpret its code forcing Trammell Crow to restart the development approval process.

Bill Mosher with Trammell Crow Company said that the goal is to open Olde Town Residences along with the nearby hotel and retail in a “similar time frame,” though no specific timeline has been finalized.

One-third of the property has been allocated for open space, including a courtyard and the addition of 57 trees to accompany those already on site. There will also be seven townhomes along Vance Street.

“This project achieves all of (the criteria), some very easily and others are achieved through very good use of design, in particular how the design has evolved over a long period of time and gotten better,” Councilmember John Marriott said.

Simpson, the District 2 representative for where the project sits, noted that while she supports the hotel and retail accommodations, that residential use would be new to this particular area. Furthermore, the mass and scale of the proposed structure isn’t something currently in that corridor.

Ford, meanwhile, addressed the need for more mixed housing as outlined in the city’s comprehensive plan, while also expressing concern for having more construction, in general, that may not be needed.

“I feel that this project is going to have an adverse effect on our city through congestion,” Ford said. “I feel like it is actually going to diminish our Olde Town.”

Councilmember David Jones admitted to having struggled with this project as well, as he previously had voted against it initially and later for it. But he noted that Olde Town has evolved throughout the years and change, such as a project of this magnitude, is hard to sometimes accept.

Residents were split in their opinions. Some opposed it, stating that it would have an impact on the Olde Town Historic District while severely hampering the unique view toward the west across Grandview Avenue.

Others, however, supported the project because of the critical need for affordable housing in the area while also being centrally located where residents could support not only Olde Town businesses but also have convenient access to RTD’s G-Line.

“The view to Grandview is something we’ve been very sensitive to while designing our project,” Mosher said. “We’ve gotten a lot of responses from the public.”

Not only was the view on the northwest corner from 56th Avenue to Vance Street kept open to protect the sightline toward the west, but Mosher added that an ADA-accessible walkway will be constructed from the courtyard toward Grandview Avenue and Olde Town.

The apartment complex will only be accessible from 56th Avenue with retail properties constructed on the south side of Vance Street.

Tina Lashbrook with Trammell Crow added that the property will have a shared dog park and offer a quality pedestrian experience courtyard. She said a traffic study of the area showed no adverse impact to the region.

Mosher noted, however, that the group hadn’t analyzed what kind of impact residents would have on the RTD rail system or what the contributions would be to Olde Town businesses.

No specific rate was provided for what the cost of rent will be for housing, but Mosher said the price will be tied in with the average median income of Jefferson County residents. He added that 50% of the units could be occupied by tenants who make less than 100% of the average median income, while some units could be occupied by those who make more than the average median income.

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