Homes and businesses will replace parking lots, a Burger King and a strip mall on West Colfax

It’s a whopper.

A strip mall and a Burger King on West Colfax Avenue across the street from the Auraria RTD station on November 23, 2020.

A strip mall and a Burger King on West Colfax Avenue across the street from the Auraria RTD station on November 23, 2020.

David Sachs/Denverite
staff photos

Eventually, that Burger King smell synonymous with the nexus of east and west Denver will be no more.

Apartment and condo buildings rising to seven stories with ground-floor commercial space is now allowed to replace the drive-thru, parking lots, and several other businesses — chains and local shops — on West Colfax Avenue between Kalamath and Lipan streets following new building guidelines unanimously passed by Denver City Council on Monday.

Some of the businesses in the strip mall have closed, but the developer will work with the open ones if they’d like to open up shop in the new development, said Joe Swensson with The Opus Group.

The rezoning comes with a written agreement from the developer to rent 28 of the 280 homes for less than the market rate for 99 years. Those homes will be priced for people who make between 60 and 80 percent of the median income, or between $54,000 of $70,650 for a household of three, according to the city’s housing department.

Buildings will be allowed to rise to 12 stories and are meant to make the area, which is anchored by the Colfax at Auraria RTD light rail station, more walkable, city planners said.

Denver’s planning department received 18 letters in favor of the rezoning and two against it, according to city documents. People who supported the plan said they liked the idea of transit-oriented development and a more urban, walkable area that is attractive to businesses. People who opposed the development said they were concerned about how the project would mesh with the low-lying, single-family homes in Lincoln Park/La Alma.

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