On the site of the former St. Anthony Central Hospital campus, a new kind of living experience is rising through the dirt and rubble.
On the 18-acre campus, directly south of Sloan’s Lake and north of West Colfax, between Stuart Street and Perry Street and just a few blocks east of Lakewood and Edgewater, apartment and office buildings, townhomes and retail opportunities are coming together in a new development called Sloans Denver.
“The goal was to create a lot of income points, with a cross section of housing options,” said Cameron Bertron, executive vice president with EnviroFinance Group, the Denver-based development group that is the site’s master developer. “We wanted this area to be a neighborhood of front doors, even with retail coming in.”
St. Anthony moved to Union Boulevard in Lakewood in 2011, and for several years the former location sat empty. EnviroFinance purchased the property in 2013, and started holding neighborhood meetings to get a sense of what neighbors wanted to see in the area.
“Driving to work along the east end of West Colfax, it seemed like they were tearing down buildings all the time,” said Colleen Rapp, who lives nearby in Lakewood and has taken a great interest in the project. “It’s incredible once you see what it’s going to be. It’s going to be such an improvement and make the area so much better.”
EnviroFinance held dozens of meeting with residents, Bertron said, and the company heard that people were looking for open space and a variety of housing and retail options.
“It is a fairly dense development, but we thought we could embrace that and do something new with housing and retail together,” he said. “It was after these meetings we decided to go mixed-use, learning toward residential, and mixed-income housing, leaning toward market rate.”
Upper-scale developers like NAVA Real Estate and Trammell Crow Residential are bringing in luxury condos and apartments with the Lakehouse and Alexan at Sloans, while the Denver Housing Authority will be converting the one St. Anthony building that wasn’t demolished into affordable housing for seniors. The Alexan is already open and about 80 percent leased, according to Paul Suter, with Suter Media Relations.
The Perry Row townhomes by Propsect Developers are currently being built and will bring 64 two-to-three bedroom townhomes to the area.
“These homes have a very ‘lock-and-leave’ vibe, where everything is taken care of,” said Deviree Vallejo, a broker with Kentwood City Properties. “The benefit of this site is everything is new. You can walk outside your door and have a lot of retail in a block or two, and it’s just a few blocks away from the W Rail line.”
On the retail side of the project, the biggest draw is the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, currently under construction and slated to open in early summer. The Alexan has room on its first floor for businesses, and most of those will go to restaurants like Sloan’s Tap and Burger, which is already open.
“We wanted an approach that was different from places where there are large anchor tenants,” said Jonathan Bush, a principal with Littleton Capital Partners. “We’re looking to create a retail district that offers food and entertainment options to complement all the housing.”
There is one office building at Raleigh Street and 16th Avenue, and businesses like LoHi Physical Therapy are ready to move in.
“In addition to physical and occupational therapy, we do a lot of community clinics around running and wellness,” said Karen Voss, co-owner and occupational therapist at LoHi. “We’re looking forward to bringing our running programs to a vibrant, active community that already uses Sloan’s Lake.”
Even though the development is not in Lakewood, its proximity to the city still makes it a benefit for the community, said Robert Smith, Lakewood’s economic development manager.
“The interest we’re seeing shows there’s a desire for this kind of development moving west,” he said. “A rising tide lifts all shifts, and the Sloans’ residents will be spending time in Lakewood.”
Sloans Denver will be a hive of activity until the project is completely finished sometime in early 2019, but many are eager to see what the future holds.
“Things are changing, but when you can build good things like this, I think they should be celebrated,” Rapp said. “This will help everyone in the area.”