Sprawling Loretto Heights campus in south Denver back on track for development

The former Lortetto Heights campus in Harvey Park South, Nov. 2, 2017 (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The former Lortetto Heights campus in Harvey Park South, Nov. 2, 2017 (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

Local investors are stepping in to buy and develop the historic Loretto Heights campus. Westside Investment Partners has been selected as the “master developer” and has the 75-acre property under contract.

The announcement comes just more than a month after Colorado Heights University’s previous attempt to sell the property fell apart.

“They’re very far along, and they’re going to have a quick closing,” said Councilman Kevin Flynn, whose southwest Denver district includes the former school.

The developers intend to build dense residential and commercial space on the campus, as BusinessDen reported this morning.

“I’m imagining some sort of commercial and retail along Federal (Boulevard) and different mixes of types of residential, meaning there’ll likely be some apartments and some for-sale in various configurations,” said Westside principal Andy Klein in an interview with Denverite.

“It’s definitely going to have an urban feel to it.”

Under its current zoning, at least 40 percent of the campus must be kept as open space, according to Flynn. However, the developers likely will pursue a rezoning, which would require a vote by the Denver City Council, according to Klein.

The developers will be meeting with community groups and elected officials as they create a master plan for the land, he said.

“Obviously, we’re hoping to be respectful to the communities nearby. You don’t want multi-story buildings abutting single-story residential,” he said. The developers also will study traffic connections as they plan.

Councilman Flynn has met with the land buyers, he said. They’re committed to preserving the Loretto Academy building, an adjoining chapel, and the nuns’ cemetery, according to the councilman.

“No one wants to dig up dead nuns, least of all me,” said Flynn, estimating that such an action would come with at least 1.5 years in purgatory.

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