Redevelopment Will Create Diverse Housing Mix on Former Convent Site
The Denver City Council approved the Marycrest Urban Redevelopment Plan, which was presented by the Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) to council on Monday. Passage of the plan creates the Marycrest Urban Redevelopment Area, allowing for the use of tax increment financing (TIF) to support redevelopment efforts throughout approximately 20 acres situated at the northeast corner of West 52nd Avenue and Federal Boulevard.
As a convener of public and private entities in the pursuit of urban revitalization, DURA has underwritten the financing gap for the Marycrest project. The City of Denver’s Office of Economic Development will provide DURA with approximately $4.9 million, which will be repaid through TIF collected as a result of redevelopment.
Marycrest Land, LLC, an entity formed by Urban Ventures, LLC and Perry-Rose Development Co., will lead redevelopment efforts, and the project will result in approximately 18 developed acres with about 360 new residential units, a 50,000 square foot parcel for commercial development, and preservation of the existing 18 resident Warren Village housing, a provider of transitional housing for women and children on site.
Since 1938, the Marycrest Campus has been the home of the Convent for the Sisters of St. Francis, as well as the Marycrest High School for Girls and other smaller yet related buildings. When the high school closed in 1986, however, the campus began to deteriorate, and the site has become largely vacant and antiquated. A study in October 2011 found the campus to be blighted, setting into motion the creation of the Marycrest Urban Redevelopment Plan.
“The Marycrest redevelopment is a great example of our commitment to working with the private sector and the City of Denver to redevelop a property that may otherwise remain underutilized,” said Tracy Huggins, executive director of DURA. “Through thoughtful investment in projects like Marycrest, DURA and the City strive to foster neighborhood stability, improved quality of life, and economic sustainability for Denver’s citizens.”
The residential development will include a mix of affordable and market rate rental units, affordable and market rate for-sale units, and co-housing. About 96 of the planned residential units will be senior housing, complementing the existing Harmony and Serenity Assisted Living facilities on the site. Additionally, the Sisters of St. Francis will continue to maintain both housing and offices on the site. According to Susan Powers, President of Urban Ventures, LLC, “there are not many opportunities in Denver to build a new neighborhood that is so close to downtown but also has the remarkable setting of Marycrest. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with DURA and the City on what we believe will be a model for future neighborhood development in cities.”
“Similar to other DURA projects, Marycrest has a rich history that we aim to preserve, and the redevelopment plan embraces the site’s legacy of community improvement and environmental stewardship supported by the Sisters of St. Francis,” Huggins said. “In this way, the redevelopment draws from the property’s rich past while envisioning the future of what communities can be—connected, inspiring, affordable, diverse places that use resources efficiently and creatively.”
Horizontal construction at the Marycrest site will begin in spring 2012.
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