Sales will begin this summer on a development in Curtis Park, at the edge of RiNo, which will feature what may be the most affordable market-rate condos moving forward in Denver.
S*Park, which takes its name from its site, Sustainability Park, will include 91 condos and eight townhomes on one block of what ultimately will be a 2-block project on Lawrence Street between 25th and 27th streets.
The least expensive condo units, 500-square-foot studios, will be priced below $300,000.
“I haven’t heard of any other new condos priced in the high $200,000s,” said Clem Rinehart, owner of Treehouse Brokerage and Development, the exclusive broker for S*Park.
Few condos being built
“Everything we hear about is extremely expensive,” Rinehart said. “Almost everything being built or planned is going to be big and luxurious.
The locally based Curtis Park Group, which includes Rinhehart’s former partner, Jonathan Alpert, is the owner and developer of S*Park.
The group paid $7 million to the long-term owner of the land, the Denver Housing Authority.
One reason they can keep the price down is because the least expensive studio units are small, according to Rinhehart.
“We think a lot of people living in downtown apartments will be more interested in buying than renting,” Rinhert said.
And the small size isn’t necessarily a turn off for professional millennials, he said.
“I think a lot of the buyers will work downtown, really want to live in this area and they see their biggest amenity the neighborhood that they get when the step out of their door,” Rinehart said.
Beyond the introductory pricing of the high $200,000s for the least expensive units, other prices have yet to be set, he said.
The largest 3-bedroom condos will have about 2,000 square feet of space and the townhomes will be about 2,500 square feet each, he said.
The townhomes will be three to four stories tall and will include private yards and rooftop decks.
The site also will include a private, 19,500-square-foot interior park and a solar park.
“We aren’t going to be seeking LEED or any type of energy efficiency designation, but these homes will be super sustainable,” Rinehart said.
“We won’t touch anything that isn’t extremely sustainable and neither will our architect, Tres BirdWorkshop,” he said. Milender White construction, based in Arvada, is the general contractor.
DHA land-banked property
He said the DHA put out request for proposals a couple of years ago to developers for the site.
For DHA, it made more economic sense to land bank the property and sell it in today’s strong real estate market, rather than build affordable housing on it, he said.
“Finding two blocks of land that is completely cleared and ready for development in a downtown is rarer than rare,” Rinehart said.
He said there was a lot of competition for the property, from apartment developers to single-family homebuilders.
“Once a two-city block of property is put into play,
“Our proposal was by far the most dense,” Rinehart said.
“We also planned for-sale homes, which was very attractive to the neighborhood,” he said.
TreeHouse, the Curtis Park Group and the DHA all worked closely with the Curtis Park Neighbors, the registered neighborhood organization for the area, he said.
The first phase of the S*Park development will have five buildings, he said. Four of them are for condos and one for the townhomes.
Construction Defects? No worries.
Condo construction in the Denver area in recent years has dwindled to almost nothing, largely because of concerns about construction defect litigation.
“Of course, we know that is an issue,” Rinehart said.
“But our focus on going to be on building the best product we can and not cutting any corners,” he said.
In addition, they will be hiring many third-party experts to monitor the entire construction process, he said.
“We design it well, we build it well and the rest is all noise to us,” Rinehart said.
He said if complaints “big or small,” due arise after the units are built, “we also plan to be very responsive. “We see our buyers as family.”
Under the city’s inclusionary housing ordinance, at least 10 percent of the units have to be set aside of affordable housing.
The city has looked at creative ways for developers to meet that requirement.
For example, Koelbel Urban Homes is meeting its IHO requirement at the El Jebel sites in Northwest Denver, by providing affordable homes in Susan Powers’ nearby co-housing development in a former convent building in the Aria Denver development..
“We are working with the city,” to meet the affordable housing requirement, he said.
“We are big believers and supports of affordable housing,” he added.
The second half of the parcel will be developed after the first one is completed, he said.
“That might be built in the next cycle, depending on market conditions,” he said.
TheBigWonderful, a food, beer and music festival, has been using the site for the past two years.
It will host one of the last festivals on the site today through Sunday.TreeHouse will have an onsite exhibit at the festival.
“Our team is grateful to the Denver Housing Authority for granting us use of the land two years ago on which TheBigWonderful has called home, as well as to the team at TreeHouse for making it possible for us to continue to operate on that land for our May 6-8, May 14, and June 11 festival dates,” said Josh Sampson, founder of TheBigWonderful.
“RiNo will forever remain an integral part of our identity as we bring the communal spirit of TheBigWonderful to new and exciting locations across the Denver metro area,” Sampson continued.
“We are confident that the property is in good hands with the TreeHouse team and their thoughtful and environmentally progressive S*Park project.”