The Bro Real Estate Group recently laid the foundations for a new office building in Cherry Creek.
Now, it is seeking to create a residential project in its place, possibly destroying an existing one about half a mile away.
A division of Denver-based The Bro Group has asked the city to rebuild its 50S Steel St. property, 1.4 acres from the eastern edge of Cherry Creek Shopping Center.
The property is a 10-storey office building built in 1973, as well as a large parking lot. But Bro is asking the city to increase the zoning of the C-MX-12, which allows structures up to 12 stories.
“Applicants are requesting re-zoning of the property to facilitate the mixed use of the site, and their temporary plan is to build a mixed-use building with retail and residential units on the ground floor,” documents prepared by the City Staff State.
The Denver Planning Board recommended approving the request on Wednesday afternoon, which was attended by seven members. The matter now goes to the City Council.
Bro has owned 50S Steel St. property since at least the 1990s, according to property records.
The building is signed by Keller Williams Integrity Real Estate and law firm Riggs Abney. Other tenants include Nova Home Loan and Sunder Center.
In its rebuilding application, the agency said it had begun talking to the surrounding community about possible changes in 2019 and 2020, then resumed those efforts this year “after a brief epidemic-related break.”
The company writes, “Improvements to the surrounding street view and pedestrian network are some notable examples of stakeholder-driven responses that could strengthen the impact of neighborhood fabrication (improvement).”
The app notes that several structures nearby have 12 stories or more. But the immediate property in the north has been zoned for only five stories.
Developers in Denver do not currently need to include income-limiting units in new housing projects, although this is likely to change soon. But Bro has voluntarily agreed to limit 12.5 percent of the unit to a new residential project, which earns up to 80 percent of the area’s middle-income income, according to documents prepared by city workers.
Bro is planning on a 480-unit project, which, according to documents, means there will be about 60 income-limited units. The development plan of the project has not yet been submitted to the city for review.
Bro Cherry Creek has also agreed to a “good neighborhood agreement” with the East Association. The three-page document states that the average size of the new building will be at least 900 square feet, among other things.
Steve Silver, a board member of the Cherry Creek East Association, told the planning board on Wednesday that Bro was “very involved with the community” and “very open about their plans.”
This does not mean that there is no opposition. Silver said 1,130 individuals responded to a survey by the association, and 57 percent did not support reconstruction so far.
“I don’t think it’s a strongly anti-development attitude,” Silver said. He said members of the association were in favor of other recent rebuilds, one of which was approved last year for two long vacancies on the eastern edge of Cherry Creek along Colorado Boulevard.
An attorney representing the nearby apartment complex told the board Wednesday that ownership and residents there are concerned about the impact of parking.
Mark Sevela, vice president of Bro Development, said the residential project is still being planned, but “it’s our goal to park 100 percent of the site.”
Although all the planning board members present on Wednesday supported the reconstruction, several had already expressed some concerns.
Fred Glick said he was somewhat uncomfortable with good neighborhood contracts, especially those that control the size of residential units.
“I’m concerned that a good neighborhood deal could be used that could be put in a certain neighborhood,” Glick said.
Board member Ignacio Correa-Ortiz, meanwhile, said the promise of voluntarily affordable housing did not go far enough.
“I believe 80 percent of AMIs aren’t ambitious enough,” he said.
Bro’s local residential projects include Country Club Tower II and III, 32-story apartment towers completed in 2017 in West Wash Park, respectively. The company also grew extensively outside the Denver area.
Bro’s headquarters is next to 200 Clayton St., where the company laid the groundwork for an eight-story office project last month.