A home for cars on Uptown’s main street is destined to become homes for people

There will be stuff to do on the ground floor as well.

A parking lot with a view. (David Sachs/Denverite)

A parking lot with a view. (David Sachs/Denverite)

staff photos

Start waving goodbye to a surface parking lot at 17th Avenue and Washington Street.

The Denver City Council approved a new set of building rules Monday that allows for ground-floor retail — things like shops, restaurants and dry cleaners — on the site at 1709 Washington St.

Denverites can expect a building of up to five stories, which was already allowed. The main change is that retail is now okay, just like it is across the street.

If everything works out, the lot will be supplanted by homes on top and businesses on bottom, owner Bruce Ferguson told city council members during a December committee meeting. He’s unsure if the apartments will be to rent, to own, or a combination.

Ferguson owns Avenue Grill on 17th and uses the lot for his restaurant. But he said the car storage is not critical to his business, which is on North Capitol Hill’s urbanizing main street. The rezoning aligns with the city’s goal of making the street more walkable.

“The request is to maintain the main street character and meet the wants and needs of the neighborhood, which is a very pedestrian-friendly, community-friendly neighborhood,” Ferguson said at Monday’s public hearing.

City council members unanimously approved the rezoning.

“I’m looking forward to seeing this get developed,” said City Councilman Wayne New, who reps the district. “Boy, 17th is becoming such a great street with so much housing development and some of the best restaurants too.”

While the concept has been approved, Ferguson has no specific development plan yet.

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