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Formerly incarcerated Denver man turned developer plans to revitalize RiNo community

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Posted at 2:28 PM, Apr 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-16 19:44:37-04

DENVER – A formerly incarcerated Denver man is now investing millions of dollars to revitalize a part of the RiNo Community.

“I am a complete second chance story. And I shouldn't be here right now,” said Bernard Hurley. “I reevaluated my life after a period of time of incarceration, I ended up doing a significant amount of time.”

Hurley was released in 1990 and moved to Colorado where he started an environmental company. He eventually began purchasing land in the RiNo community and plans to revitalize it, calling it a "second chance neighborhood."

"Seeing what's possible. I feel it's also reflective to my life. It's kind of like my life has been this, and so it's completely appropriate," said Hurley.

The Hurley Project will break ground in a couple of months. Phase 1 will include 330,000 square feet of commercial space, 22,000 square feet of retail space and more than 200 multi-family units.

“We feel like this is going to really become a destination point for the city and it shows off what you can do collectively with partnering with the city, because like this promenade and the park are city projects, and then working together to try to create something really amazing,” said Hurley.

He plans to hire as many people from marginalized communities as possible to work on his project. Since he was given a second chance, he wants to pay that forward by also hiring people who have previously been incarcerated.

"You know, on the construction side, we've got the general contractor to agree to provide—they're providing apprenticeship positions. [It's] not just formerly incarcerated, but you know, anybody that that that is in a transition in their life," said Hurley. “People make mistakes. Many people need second chances. It's forgiveness. It's restoration at second chances."

He hopes more than anything to show others that you have the power to build your own future.

"It’s amazing. It's the most amazing feeling in the world to be able to pay it forward. Like I said, I shouldn't be here, but I am. And so it shows what's possible, and to encourage other people to show that you can overcome some of these really hard hurdles in your life, as long as you just keep working and work hard,” said Hurley.