Denver City Council Approves Redevelopment of the Central Platte-Valley Auraria District

December 18, 2018

On Monday, December 17, Denver City Council voted in favor of a Text Amendment and Map Amendment to the Zoning Code for the Central Platte Valley-Auraria District. The rezoning of this 58-acre property is a necessary step towards delivering on the Downtown Area Plan Amendment that Denver City Council passed unanimously in June. Rhys Duggan and Revesco Properties have detailed a plan to build 8,000 residential units along the South Platte River. The River Mile will feature some of the city’s tallest buildings and will offer affordable housing units at a mix of income levels.

The Text and Map Amendments are consistent with the Downtown Area Plan Amendment and embody its objectives, particularly regarding implementing its long-term vision, providing appropriate density, and fostering design excellence.

These zoning changes set the stage for making smart investments and rightly focusing density around transit while preserving air and light access along the river. The Central Platte Valley-Auraria District complements other downtown districts by encouraging an area that is highly residential, walkable, and of varying scales that will make for a well-rounded downtown neighborhood that embodies the spirit and intentions of the both the Central Platte Valley-Auraria Amendment and the 2007 Downtown Area Plan.

Like the 2007 Downtown Area Plan—which guides the Partnership’s work to create a downtown that is prosperous, walkable, distinctive, diverse and green—the rezoning process was conducted under a steering committee, co-chaired by the Downtown Denver Partnership and the City and County of Denver.

“The density, design excellence, and commitment to mixed uses, and especially to affordable housing sets the stage for the creation of a vibrant, unique neighborhood with all of the necessary infrastructure,” said John Desmond, the Downtown Denver Partnership’s Executive Vice President of Downtown Environment.

About the Central Platte Valley-Auraria District Amendment to the 2007 Downtown Area Plan:

Passed by Denver City Council in June, the Central Platte Valley-Auraria District amendment details a community vision for a complete, walkable neighborhood that connects to the rest of downtown. It calls for more and better connectivity, prioritizing pedestrian and bicycle connections; affordable housing for every type of household, including families; and the services and amenities a complete neighborhood requires, such as open space. The amendment also seeks to maximize the South Platte riverfront with respect to the Outdoor Downtown Plan, a master plan that provides visionary and actionable policies, programs and projects that will enrich Downtown’s parks and public spaces.

The Central Platte Valley-Auraria District was included in the original Downtown Area Plan but without detail or specific guidance for future development. Much of the land is surface parking lots serving cultural and entertainment venues, including the Pepsi Center, Elitch Gardens, the Downtown Aquarium and the Children’s Museum. With potential for redevelopment of the area on the horizon, city planners sought input from the community on how to guide the future of the area ahead of any development changes.

The Downtown Denver Partnership’s councils, committees and boards of directors were heavily involved in the Downtown Area Plan Amendment planning and public outreach processes. The steering committee sought input and expertise from the Partnership’s Members, councils and boards of directors. Neighborhood organizations, residents and the general public were engaged in the process through a variety of community meetings and online surveys.