Loretto Heights rezoning request approved, moving grand reimagining for the campus forward

Construction on the site is already underway.

The historic Pancratia Hall is being renovated and will soon become full of affordable housing units on the Loretto Heights campus. Harvey Park South, Feb. 10, 2021.

The historic Pancratia Hall is being renovated and will soon become full of affordable housing units on the Loretto Heights campus. Harvey Park South, Feb. 10, 2021.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

Denver City Council approved a rezoning request for the Loretto Heights project, a crucial decision that could turn the old Catholic school campus into a premier destination in southwest Denver.

Westside Investment Partners, which bought the campus in 2018, submitted the rezoning request in January to fulfill plans for the project. City Council unanimously approved the request for rezoning, allowing Westside to build out the campus.

“We are very proud as to what we have accomplished together,” said Mark Witkiewicz, principal at Westside Investment Partners, during the meeting. “Preservation, housing of all types, open spaces, community spaces, (and) significant downzoning at the community’s request, just to name a few.”

Councilmember Kevin Flynn, who represents the district where the campus sits, lauded the project for helping provide more housing options, for including input from people who live nearby and for adding more historic preservation in his district.

The request approved Monday includes two custom zoning codes developers sought that took into consideration the campus topography and historic nature. In order to get the right zoning, developers worked with city staff to create these custom codes, which include unique allowances like building homes that face green spaces rather than streets or roads.

Developers want to include housing, ranging from apartments to townhomes, commercial spaces for places like restaurants and other types of local businesses, and green space. Developers held meetings with residents to get feedback on what locals wanted to see at the campus. They will use a small area plan adopted in 2019 as their blueprint for building out the campus.

The campus sits along Federal Boulevard and includes 15 historic buildings. It was originally founded by the Sisters of Loretto in 1891, and Loretto Heights College and Colorado Heights University were also tenants at one point.

Construction at the campus is underway. Developers are currently renovating the historic Pancratia Hall. Once completed, all 72 units at the building will be affordable housing.

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