City Council rezones West Colfax lot to pave the way for an affordable housing complex

Zoning at 4862 West 13th Ave. went from rowhouse usage to a multi-unit building.
3 min. read
4862 W. 13th Avenue in West Colfax. April 1, 2024.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

More redevelopment is coming to the West Colfax neighborhood in the form of a medium-density affordable apartment complex.

City Council approved a rezoning of 4862 West 13th Ave., changing the zoning from rowhouse usage to a multi-unit building.

Currently, the address is home to a six-plex and is zoned as U-RH-3A. On Monday, the parcel was rezoned to G-MU-3.

For my zoning enthusiasts, let’s get into the weeds. The former zoning was an urban area with rowhome designation that could go up to three stories. The “A” modifier allowed for apartment complexes to also be developed on the site.

However, per Denver Zoning Code, the “A” modifier only allows apartment complexes to be built on collector and arterial streets. This site lies at an intersection of local streets, 13th Avenue and Xavier Street. So in order to build an apartment complex, a zoning change is needed.

Rendering of 4862 West 13th Ave. Courtesy of Thinking Modern.

According to city documents and owner representative Nick Young with Thinking Modern, the plans are to demolish the existing six-plex and turn it into a three-story apartment complex with all of the units being rented to those making at least 60% of the area median income. For a family of four, that’s a salary of about $74,460.

During the City Council hearing, Young said the current plan would put approximately 28 units on the site, ranging from studios to two bedrooms.

This is the latest rezoning to occur in the West Colfax neighborhood.

Last week, a council committee approved a proposed rezoning of 1409 through 1471 N. Julian St. and 3315 through 3317 W. 14th Ave. to also make way for some affordable housing. That proposal will go before the full council late this month.

There are also development plans in the works for an empty patch of land at 1700 N. Julian St. That site once housed row houses that were demolished in 2019 and the lot has sat empty since.

Denver’s Community Planning and Development completed a review of plans for a new set of townhomes. If the plan goes through, there will be 30 townhomes in five buildings. The proposed building will be three stories and include 45 parking spaces. It’s unclear if any of those properties will be rented or sold at affordable prices.

1700 N. Julian St. in West Colfax. Jan. 30, 2024.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

During Monday’s council hearing, no one spoke during the public comment but Council President Jamie Torres noted that the redevelopment project at West 13th is what the neighborhood needs in terms of affordability.

Torres previously said she’s seen a ton of redevelopment occur in West Colfax with many market-rate and luxury units coming to the neighborhood but staying empty. Having a new building with 100% affordable housing fills a gap.

“60% AMI is definitely our workforce …That’s a meaningful number in a neighborhood where we’ve largely had market and even luxury development, many of which are very vacant right now. It speaks to the need for development like this,” Torres said. “However many [units] you build here, they are going to be really valuable units for the West Colfax neighborhood and frankly for the westside.”

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