Split opinions on proposed redevelopment of old Post Office building in Cherry Creek North

Denver City Council to decide rezoning on Tuesday

DENVER - The Denver city council is expecting a passionate debate over the future of a vacant building in Cherry Creek North.

Ever since the U.S. Post Office moved to a smaller unit next door, the original building at 245 Columbine Street has sat vacant.

On Tuesday night, city council will decide if the area can be rezoned to allow a seven-story building with offices, retail stores and condominiums.

Leading up to the vote, council members have received more than 60 letters in support of the project and nearly the same opposed.

Many of the letters in favor of the proposal called the old building "vacant and an eyesore."

7NEWS found out that's also a description shared by those opposed to the proposal.

"We do not want to keep that post office building there. We agree the post office building is an eyesore," said Gene Hohensee, president of the Cherry Creek North Neighborhood Association.

However, the CCNNA is against the project because they feel it's too large for the area.

"We do not think that the density or the traffic is appropriate," Hohensee said. "I think we would approve a building height of five to six stories, so long as it did not have the building density that that has ... Less office space. More compact."

Just like each street through Cherry Creek North, Second and Third Avenues and Columbine Street are one-lane in each direction, with limited parking spots. CCNNA also feels the project does not support enough parking for the added business and customer traffic.

"We are in favor of smart development, not overdevelopment," said Hohensee.

Many residents have that same slogan on red yard signs throughout the neighborhood just north and east of the old Post Office building.

7NEWS also found out the opposition includes concern about the shadows a seven-story building would cast during the winter, causing an issue for ice on the sidewalk. One block away from the building is Bromwell Elementary School and a dance studio.

Residents against the proposal also cite the Cherry Creek Area Plan and something known as the "White Paper." Last summer, the city council approved a new Cherry Creek Area Plan to deal with future growth, transit and green projects. The White Paper was not included in the official plan, but gives recommendations for building height and design strategies.

The CCNNA feels the old Post Office proposal is not in line with the White Paper recommendations.

Across the street from the old Post Office building, a project at 250 Columbine Street already has city council approval. That project will include a building of offices and condos. At its highest point, that structure will be eight stories.

The makeover of Cherry Creek North continues blocks away at First Avenue and Steele Street, near Cherry Creek Mall.

Three of the corners at the complex intersection already have different projects planned. The northeast corner and southeast corners are expected to have a 12-story apartment complex. The northwest corner, behind the Wells Fargo, will have an eight story structure for office and retail.

If the council were to reject the Post Office proposal, the developer would not be able to resubmit an application for one year.

The city council meets Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m. at the City and County Building in Room 451.

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