Constructed in the early 1950s on the site of the former Ferry Brickyard, the Dahlia Square Shopping Center was the commercial and community hub of Northeast Park Hill for more than two decades. The supermarket anchored center featured locally owned shops, restaurants, and a roller skating rink among other amenities. For a period, the center was the largest African American owned shopping center in the U.S.
But as regional shopping patterns shifted in the 1970s and 80s towards larger format centers located on major thoroughfares, Dahlia Square struggled. By the 1990s the center was dilapidated and less than 15 percent occupied. In 2001 DURA and the City created the Northeast Park Hill Urban Renewal area to help effect redevelopment of Dahlia Square, as well as the nearby Holly Shopping Center.
Plans at the time called for a new commercial center that would front the more heavily trafficked Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and a mix of new housing units. But predevelopment due diligence revealed that many of the abandoned mining pits (left over from when Ferry was mining clay for bricks) contained landfill material and the project, no longer economically viable, was halted.
DURA and the City’s Office of Economic Development worked with community leaders for more than two years to identify the resources necessary to remediate the site and develop a vision for the area. DURA issued a request for proposals and in early 2005 selected the local team of Brownfield Partners and ARCADIS to acquire, abate, demolish, and remediate the numerous environmental issues hampering the site. The more than $7 million project to ready the site for development was funded through a mix of federal and local grants and loans.
With site remediation underway, DURA issued another RFP, this time to select a developer to help fulfill the community’s vision for the site. in 2008, Oakwood Homes acquired the site from Brownfield Partners, fully repaying the outstanding HUD loans on the project and setting the stage for a new era at Dahlia. While the economic climate has slowed Oakwood’s timetable for redevelopment, the new 12,000 square foot Park Hill Family Medical Clinic opened on the site in 2009, and plans for additional site-wide infrastructure supporting more than 100 new housing units are expected to get underway once the local housing market has recovered.
Meanwhile, McDermott Properties LLP, approached the Northeast Park Hill Coalition in early 2010 and announced it was applying for financing to build an affordable senior housing complex at Dahlia Square. After working with DURA to obtain private and public financing, McDermott Properties broke ground at the site in October 2010. Phase I of the Dahlia Square Senior Apartments complex, which will include 128 affordable housing units for seniors, is expected to be complete in August 2011.
Redevelopment of the former 8-acre shopping center in to a mix of for-sale residential and the Park Hill Family Medical Clinic
Oakwood Homes and Denver Health & Hospitals
$7.4 million in grants and loans for acquisition, demolition and environmental remediation
Tax Increment Source:
Property and Sales Taxes
July 30, 2026