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DENVER -- The Denver City Council approved the Loretto Heights Small Area Plan Monday, paving the way for new development.
“I think this is the best small area plan the city of Denver has ever created,” neighbor John Joseph Niemann said.
The plan makes way for higher density housing like apartments and condos along South Federal Boulevard and traditional, single-unit homes on the west side. The iconic administration building would become a community hub with commercial and retail space.
“I think the plan as a whole is a great vision for what the community wants to see, specifically open space, affordable housing, the need for closed campus to now be opened up to the public so it will become a community asset,” Niemann said.
There are concerns about preserving the 120-year-old campus as well as the effect all the new development would have on the area.
The city says 2,500 new people would eventually move in.
Some neighbors are worried about traffic.
Xochitl Gaytan with the Harvey Park Community Association believes the development could gentrify the area. She is against building any high rises on the property.
“By not allowing these buildings to be constructed higher, you are also looking at restricting the number of penthouses and number of units that can be priced very, very high,” she said.
The Developer, Westside Investment Partners, says they are committed to preserving the administration building and cemetery and say there was a covenant included in the sale prohibiting the administration building from being demolished.
But many want the campus to become a historic district. They plan to watch the developer closely to make sure promises are kept.
“Our next steps will be to hold city council accountable and ask them to set measures in place to hold the developer accountable,” Gaytan said.
This is just the first step of many for the developer to break ground. They still need to get zoning documents, historic preservation and site plan approvals. It could be many months or years before any new construction takes place on the site.