Elitch's development project could redefine Denver skyline

"Our Colorado" looks at the future along the river

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DENVER -- Development is coming to the Elitch Gardens property, and if developers have their way, it could redefine the Denver skyline.

Revesco Properties filed a plan with the City of Denver earlier this week for “The River Mile” project along the Platte River. It includes a layout of more than a dozen proposed buildings, some which would be among the tallest in Denver.

Currently, the tallest building in Denver is 56 stories high, followed by 52-story and 50-story buildings. 

The River Mile plan calls for a 59-story hotel and other mixed-use buildings clocking in at 51, 49, and 46 stories, according to the plan obtained by Denver7. 

The plan is a very early step in a very long process, and the city hasn't reviewed it yet. It could also change, based on what the city will allow. 

“If the owners decide to develop, that’s when we say what’s appropriate. It guides that development,” Denver city planner Steve Nalley said.

The “it” he’s referring to is an update to the Downtown Area Plan Amendment, which would look ahead at planning and zoning within the area bounded by Speer/I-25/Auraria. 

“If you look at the rest of Denver, which is mostly built out, there’s a lot of development pressure and they’re tired of that pressure,” Nalley said about the decision to develop. 

The city would be looking for connectivity, open space, affordable housing, and other options to be included in any new development before approving any rezoning or major projects.

“We don’t just say, 'well, what should this development be?,' it’s, 'what should this place be,'” he said.

According to the plan, the River Mile Project would start by building on current Elitch Gardens parking lots and building a parking garage. Eventually, the development would spread to the land along the Platte that’s currently occupied by the theme park. 

“This is a long-term plan for the property. It’ll take about 25 years to build out, and when that time does come - when Elitch’s moves - don’t worry, we will find it a better home,” Rhy Duggan of Revesco Properties said in a video highlighting the new development. 

So it’ll still be years before rollercoasters are replaced by residential living, and a lot has to be done before a hotel is built over a hot dog stand, but it looks like this stretch of “Our Colorado” is going straight up. 

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