Denver apartment project to be rebranded after being destroyed in fatal 2018 fire


The property at 1833 Emerson St. in Denver, the scene of three-alarm fire that destroyed an under-construction apartment project and killed two men last year, will be rebranded in the coming weeks as the development company that owns the property prepares to rebuild there.

The Emerson Place Apartments project near the intersection of Emerson Street and East 18th Avenue was set to be a five-story building containing 84 apartments in North Capitol Hill before its exposed wood frame ignited on March 7, 2018. The flames eventually climbed 200 feet in the air in one of the largest fires in recent Denver history. Two workers on the site that day, 37-year-old Dustin Peterson, an electrician, and 29-year-old Roberto Flores-Prieto, an insulation installer, died in the fire. Six other people were hurt.

The cause of the inferno remains unknown, according to Denver Fire Department officials.

The property has been largely quiet since investigators wrapped up their on-scene work. The only thing that remains of the Emerson Place project is a concrete pedestal. The site’s owner, Denver-based developer Allante Properties, put up a fence around the roughly half-acre site after receiving a city enforcement notice in January, Denver officials said.

This week the developer confirmed that a new apartment building will eventually be built there.

Andy Boian, representing Allante, told The Denver Post on Friday that in the next few weeks the developer plans to announce the branding for a new project on the property that will be similar to the scale of Emerson Place.

“We have rebranded it and we will announce the brand soon,” Boian said. “It’s a revolutionary idea for the city. It will be more focused on health and wellness and self-care for tenants beyond just standard apartments.”

A firm timeline for construction hasn’t been established yet, Boian said, but the new concept should be made public “within weeks.”

Boian is the founder and CEO of Dovetail Solutions, a communications firm that specializes in crisis management. Dovetail began working with Allante following the fire and has worked with the company on marketing and branding around the forthcoming project.

Building housing to specifications that promote human health is an emerging trend in the construction industry. The Lakehouse condo project near Sloan’s Lake is pursuing a WELL Building Standard certification (similar to a Green Building Standard) based on features like enhanced air filtration, a rooftop farm and windows designed to let more natural light into the building.

Allante is not required to build or demolish anything at 1833 Emerson St. as it stands now. City inspectors have responded to two 3-1-1 calls regarding trespassing on the property since the fencing went up earlier this year, once in April and again in August, officials say. In August, the inspector warned Allante to remove trash and cut down vegetation on the property. The company did so before the end of that month.

“As long as they are keeping it safe and secure, we don’t have any set timeline on when they have to put something new on the property,” Laura Swartz, a spokeswoman for Denver Community Planning and Development, said.

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The investigation into what sparked the Emerson Place fire remains open and active, Denver Fire Department Capt. Greg Pixley said Friday. In the months after the fire, investigators were able to rule out a number of potential causes including cords or temporary power units used on the site, but they “continue to work toward trying to narrow down the cause,” he said.

New construction on the property would not interfere with that ongoing work.

“The investigation on the property itself was completed not long after the fire,” Pixley said. “We were going to do that until we had every possible piece of evidence relevant for the investigation.”

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