A long-term redevelopment plan in Cherry Creek North that calls for tearing down the Whole Foods and former Sears store has taken another step forward with a Denver City Council committee approving sale of spaces in a nearby parking garage.
The 198 parking spots, which the city would sell for $6 million, are in the garage that faces Second Avenue, between Josephine Street and Clayton Lane. The city bought them for $4.7 million in 2002 to provide parking for neighborhood workers so more on-street spaces were available for shoppers. Denver rents them out for $75 a month.
San Diego development firm OliverMcMillan wants to buy the spots as part of a major overhaul of its Clayton Lane property. The company and its partners bought the retail pieces of Clayton Lane, a collection of buildings between East First and Second avenues from Josephine to Detroit streets,for $116.7 million in January 2016, city records show.
“This is not a triggering event for redevelopment of the Clayton Lane site,” company spokeswoman Hilarie Portell said of the parking space sale. “Like any retail property owner, (OliverMcMillan) wants to manage their parking.”
The sale passed through committee last week but still requires approval from the entire City Council.
If the sale is approved, Portell said OliverMcMillan won’t change the way the parking structure operates.
OliverMcMillan filed redevelopment plans with the city in June 2017. Those preliminary documents called for demolition of the Whole Foods, the parking structure and the former Sears store on the property. In their place would rise six buildings atop a network of underground parking. That construction would create 174,105 square feet of retail space and 527 residential units between Clayton and Josephine.
OliverMcMillan has been acquired since those documents were filed and the plans remain fluid, Portell said. She said no firm development plan or schedule exists.
“It’s a huge project,” said New, who voted for the parking space sale. “In the last three to five years, of all the projects we’ve had in the Cherry Creek area, it’s the largest.”
A key will be getting Whole Foods, a long-term tenant, to agree to OliverMcMillan’s plans. The company did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.
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New said bringing in more residential space to the neighborhood should cause fewer traffic problems than other types of development. Parking and congestion have been concerns in the area for years. The city launched a six-month trial of free shuttle service connecting Cherry Creek with the Civic Center and Capitol Hill neighborhoods this fall with those issues in mind.
“I feel very good about it,” New said of OliverMcMillan’s early plans. “The main thing is making sure traffic stays on First Avenue as much as possible.”