A Montbello organization wants to build a massive community center and housing project on land it bought from RTD

Montbello Organizing Committee announced this week they’ve bought a former RTD site. They hope to make it the future home of a community center anchored by a grocery store.
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A concept design for the Hub in Montbello. (Courtesy of Montbello Organizing Committee)
Esteban Hernandez

Montbello Organizing Committee said this week they bought a former RTD Park-and-Ride site on Albrook Drive, where the organization wants to build a neighborhood hub anchored by a grocery market and affordable housing units.

The organizing committee said in a release they closed on the sale on a 1.39-acre lot at 12300 East Albrook Dr. on Monday. The site is a portion of the former Montbello Park-n-Ride, which closed in April 2016 after operating for nearly 30 years. Executive Director Donna Garnett said the plot was purchased from RTD for $600,000. RTD spokesperson Laurie Huff also confirmed the sale and price.

The sale is a big step toward a vision Garnett and others have been crafting since 2017 when they began planning for a massive community space in Montbello centered around a food market. The project is called Montbello FreshLo.

Garnett said negotiations with RTD for the property started in 2018.

"This vision came from the community," Garnett said, adding their plans could be replicated by other neighborhoods in Denver trying to stave off gentrification concerns and support their communities. "It's really important for communities to take control of their destiny and I feel like that's what we're doing."

Organizers envision a facility called the Hub including a grocery store and cultural center with 96 affordable housing units. The multi-floor concept design shows a ground-level grocery store and community center, with several floors of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The organization will begin providing more info about their plans to the community in the upcoming weeks to get feedback on the project.

The project has an estimated $40 million price tag. Organizers said it would be funded through grants, investments and tax credits. The Hub would provide three major needs in the neighborhood, including access to healthy food options, space for community engagement and affordable housing.

The project has a timeline Garnett called aggressive: Groundbreaking and construction would start in early 2021, with tenants and people living there by 2022.

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