Broe Real Estate Group recently opened a new office building in Cherry Creek.
Now he’s looking to potentially demolish an existing building around half a mile away and build a residential project in its place.
The company, a division of The Broe Group, based in Denver, has asked the city to rezone its property at 50 S. Steele St., a 1.4 acre site across from the east end of the Cherry Creek Mall. .
The property houses a 10-story office building built in 1973, as well as a large car park. But Broe asks the city to increase the zoning to C-MX-12, which allows structures up to 12 stories high.
“The applicant is requesting a rezoning of the property to facilitate the mixed-use redevelopment of the site, and their tentative plan is to construct a mixed-use building with shops on the ground floor and residential units above,” state documents prepared by city staff.
The Denver Planning Council recommended approval of the request on Wednesday afternoon, with all seven members present voting in favor. The case now goes to the city council.
Broe has owned the property at 50 S. Steele St. since at least the 1990s, according to property records.
The building is topped with signage for Keller Williams Integrity Real Estate and the Riggs Abney law firm. Other tenants include Nova Home Loans and SonderCenters.
In its dezoning request, the company said it began talking to the surrounding community about possible change in 2019 and 2020, and then resumed those efforts this year “after a brief hiatus related to the pandemic.”
“The improvements to the surrounding streetscape and pedestrian network are just a few notable examples of stakeholder comments aimed at strengthening the impact of the development (on) the fabric of the neighborhood,” the company wrote.
The app notes that several neighboring structures have 12 or more floors. But the property immediately to the north is zoned for just five stories.
Denver developers are currently under no obligation to incorporate limited income units into new housing projects, although that will likely change soon. But Broe has agreed to voluntarily restrict 12.5% of units in a new residential project on the site to those representing up to 80% of the area’s median income, according to documents prepared by city staff.
Broe is envisioning a 480 unit project, according to the documents, which means there would be around 60 limited income units. Development plans for the project have not yet been submitted to the city for review.
Broe also entered into a “good neighborly agreement” with the Cherry Creek East Association. This three-page document indicates that the new building would average at least 900 square feet, among other things.
Cherry Creek East Association board member Steve Silver told the planning board on Wednesday that Broe was “very engaged with the community” and “very open about their plans.”
This does not mean, however, that there is no opposition. Silver said 130 people responded to a survey conducted by the association and 57% so far have not supported the zoning change.
“I don’t think it’s strictly anti-development sentiment,” Silver said. He said association members were in favor of other recent zoning changes, including one approved last year for two long-vacant sites at the east end of Cherry Creek along Colorado Boulevard.
A lawyer representing a nearby apartment complex separately told council on Wednesday that the property and residents were concerned about the impact on parking.
Marc Savela, Broe’s vice president of development, said the residential project was still in the planning stages, but “it is our intention to park 100% of the property on site.”
Although all members of the Planning Council present on Wednesday supported the rezoning, several expressed concerns beforehand.
Fred Glick said he was somewhat uncomfortable with good neighborly agreements, especially those that regulate the size of residential units.
“I’m concerned that a good neighborly agreement could be used to influence who can be housed in a certain neighborhood,” Glick said.
Board member Ignacio Correa-Ortiz said the voluntary commitment to affordable housing does not go far enough.
“I think 80 percent of MAI is not ambitious enough,” he said.
Broe’s local residential projects include Country Club Towers II and III, 32-story twin apartment towers completed in West Wash Park in 2017. The company is also expanding widely outside of the Denver area.
Broe’s head office is adjacent to 200 Clayton St., where the company launched an eight-story office project last month.