Construction of a controversial six-story apartment complex near Olde Town Arvada moved a step forward following City Council’s approval of the project’s preliminary development plan.
Developer Trammell Crow’s project, Olde Town Residences, met opposition from the community, and initial plans for the Grandview Avenue site were rejected by City Council in January The project drew public ire because of its height, proposed architecture, a perceived lack of parking and a land purchase price commonly referred to as the “$30 land deal.”
Council approved revised plans for the mixed-use development, which will include 252 apartments, March 19 on a 6-1 vote.
The Arvada Urban Renewal Authority has worked for more than a decade to transform an old RTD park-n-ride lot south of Olde Town to complement future transit-oriented development. Trammell Crow’s proposal gained traction shortly after the Olde Town Hub — a prominent stop along the impending RTD G-Line light rail — was completed in February 2017.
However, the proposal for Olde Town Residences quickly faced resistance from Arvada residents, who voiced concerns about the building’s height (nearly double the city’s limit), architectural design (criticized as incompatible with Olde Town character), and purchase price, which allowed nearly 9 acres assessed at about $6 million to sell for $30.
A grassroots watchdog organization dubbed Arvada for All the People initiated a charter amendment opposing the project last summer and circulated petitions for community signatures.
At a five-hour public hearing Jan. 22, City Council rejected Trammell Crow’s proposal on a 4-3 vote. Opposing council members said the architectural design was incompatible with area buildings and the proposed parking was inadequate (350 parking spaces for 350 bedrooms).
Council members told Trammell Crow they would consider a revised proposal, and the developer returned with modified plans less than three weeks later. The updates include four fewer apartments, a total of 30 fewer bedrooms and 15 additional parking spaces. Also, the buildings are set further back from the road and nearby railroad tracks.
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The building will be up to 200 feet from the street in some spots, Trammell Crow senior managing director Bill Mosher said. That change should reduce fears that the complex will interfere with local views of the Front Range, he said.
Councilwoman Nancy Ford was the only council member who opposed the revised project, saying she did not believe it would fit Olde Town’s identity. Trammell Crow representatives noted the new plans call for materials and design elements already used in area buildings.
“Trammell Crow came back, I think, with a much better product. I think they really listened to both the citizen input and also what Council’s concerns were with the initial vote,” Mayor Marc Williams said in an interview with Awesome Pod, the city’s community podcast.
Williams said he believes the development “is greatly going to benefit our community for decades and decades.”
The mayor estimates the project will generate almost $600,000 annually in sales tax and other tax benefits, a result of people who will live in the new complex and shop in the community.
“I almost got emotional,” Williams said during the podcast, referring to the project’s approval. “This has been a long, long road.”
Trammell Crow expects to break ground on the project next year. City officials say it marks the beginning of bigger plans for the area. The next two phases will include retail development and possibly a hotel or grocery store.