Rough plans for Lutheran Legacy Campus revealed

Wheat Ridge open house draws big crowd to see what’s next

Bob Wooley
bwooley@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 9/30/21

With SCL Health’s Lutheran Campus moving to Clear Creek Crossing in the near future, Lutheran Medical Center’s Legacy Campus located at 8300 W. 38th Avenue will be transitioning to something …

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Rough plans for Lutheran Legacy Campus revealed

Wheat Ridge open house draws big crowd to see what’s next

Posted

With SCL Health’s Lutheran Campus moving to Clear Creek Crossing in the near future, Lutheran Medical Center’s Legacy Campus located at 8300 W. 38th Avenue will be transitioning to something else. But what?

The short answer, taken straight from the slides shown at the open house on Sept. 22.

“The major components include flexible mixed-use development in the center of the site, buffers and transitions to existing neighborhoods abutting the Campus, and integration of existing natural and manmade assets,” the city’s slide read. “Allowing for additional height and density at the center of the center of the site creates more opportunities for affordability and open space.”

The longer answer requires some context.

How it started

Home to a tuberculosis sanitarium beginning in 1905, the site has served the medical needs of Wheat Ridge and surrounding communities in one way or another for 116 years.

In early 2021 the City started the process of writing the next chapter for this spot. Public engagement in the form of meetings, focus groups, study sessions and surveys took place, with results — what people said they want to see take shape — being taken into consideration as the process moved forward. 

Public amenities, diversity of housing types and mixed-use zoning all polled well with the public when surveyed about what they’d like to see. Open space and quality bicycling and walking accessibility were also high on that list. 

Low height and low-density, particularly around the edges of the site were also top of mind for community members who weighed in, although they were more willing to accept taller structures toward the middle of the development. Another thing people are passionate about is retaining the Blue House and Chapel.

The Sept. 22 Open House at Wheat Ridge City Hall shed a bit of light on the future of the historic spot in the heart of the city. Neighbors got a chance to see what might be replacing the medical campus. 

However, what open house attendees got to see (and ask questions about) was just a framework. According to the city, the master plan does not identify specific users or site plans. 

“The Lutheran Campus Master Plan provides high level policy guidance as a supplement to Envision Wheat Ridge (Comprehensive Plan). The plan is intended to communicate the overall vision and goals for redevelopment, but in a fashion that retains a relatively high degree of flexibility for future developers,” according to the open house presentation.

As for the details that are sketched out by the plan: Right now, it shows approximately 33-acres of lower density residential and open space, 30.5-acres of middle-higher density mixed-use and 8-acres of lower density mixed-use. It also maintains the 6-acre Rocky Mountain Ditch that traverses the site, and calls for the integration of existing assets including topography, trees and access points.

The Master Plan draft is being finalized now, and will go back to the Planning Commission in a public hearing to be held in October. At that time, the City will request a formal motion to recommend approval of adoption of the plan as an amendment to the city’s comprehensive plan. In other words, it will not go through further work sessions in Council or the Planning Commission.

After the Master Plan process is complete, the property will be put on the market and interested developers or buyers who approach SCL or the city will be provided with the document (master plan) which lets them know what the community’s expectations are. The buyer will then have to submit a zone change application, which will in turn, go back through the planning commission with more specifics about the development, for approval.

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