01 Jul Decatur Point Brings 203 Apartments to Jefferson Park

A Denver developer has started constructing a 5-story, 203-unit, high-end apartment community in Jefferson Park.

The $47 million Decatur Point community, being developed by Riverpoint Partners, may be the last major apartment community built in Jefferson Park, which in recent months has found itself as the poster child for what some consider out-of-control development in Denver neighborhoods.

Jefferson Park is in District 1, where voters overwhelmingly elected Rafael Espinoza as its new city council person.

Espinoza lives in Jefferson Park.

“I’m not sure you could get the approval for this type of land assemblage in Jefferson Park going forward,” said Adam Sands, a senior vice president at FirstBank. FirstBank, Colorado’s largest locally owned bank, is providing $30 million in financing for Decatur Point, which will cost slightly more than $47 million to build.

“This will be a great project,” Sands said. “We walked the area and we love the site. Other big projects in Jefferson Park have been very well received.”

Although developers typically are helped by barriers to entry that will limit future competition, Reid Davis, principal of Riverpoint Partners, said Decatur Point will stand on its own, regardless of what is built after it.

“I am a resident of Jefferson Park and so I understand some of the concerns of the neighborhood,” Davis said.

“As a developer, I want to see positive projects built,” Davis said. Decatur Point will fit that bill, he said.

“I think we are building a project that will be good for the neighborhood and the neighborhood will be proud of it,” Davis said. “We will never be a merchant builder that will build something just to flip. Our philosophy is to build high-quality projects that are constructed to very high term standards that we plan to own for the long term.”

Decatur Point is being built on a L-shaped, 1.33-acre site at West 27th Avenue and Decatur Street, with part of the land stretching to West 28th Avenue. Decatur Point will be built to LEED standards, but will not be LEED-certified.

Decatur Point is Davis’s first development in Denver.

He comes from a real estate family in North Carolina. Seven years ago, he came to Denver to get a real estate degree from the University of Denver.

“It was a terrible time to be in real estate, so I stayed and got my MBA,” Davis said.

Before founding his own company, he worked as a financial analysts for health care capital markets for CBRE, a commercial real estate brokerage firm. “I didn’t want to sit behind a desk all day,” he said, and found the site in Jefferson Park about two years ago.

Decatur Point will be his first development in Denver, but not his last.

5-story building on Tennyson

He also purchased the 15,000-square-foot site at 3860 and 3868 Tennyson Street in Berkeley, where he plans a 5-story, 49-unit apartment building.  The sites formerly housed Tullar Electric Motor Sales & Service and Dub Media Recording Studio. Records showed his company paid a total of $1.685 million for the properties.

“Because that is zoned U-MS-5, it has some special setback requirements,” Davis said.

He said he recently submitted plans to the city and is waiting to hear back.

The average size of a unit will be about 810 square feet on Tennyson, bigger than the typical unit in Decatur Point.

Both Decatur Point and the Tennyson project are being designed by Craine Architecture.

Davis expects Decatur Point to open in a year.

The average size of a unit will be 770 square feet at Decatur Point.

“We underwrote it pretty conservatively for just north of $2 per square foot, but by the time it opens, hopefully we can $2.30 per square foot,” Davis said.

“We will have a pretty decent mix of studios, one-bedrooms, one-bedrooms plus a den and two-bedroom, two-bath units,” Davis said. “In addition, we will have 11 walk-up, townhome style rental units.”

His father, Craig Davis, a real estate veteran from North Carolina, he said is “my mentor” and is one of a handful of investors in Decatur Point.

Decatur Point, as so many of the new, high-end rental projects in Denver, is being targeted at millennials.

“Our target are the 25 to 35 year professionals who work downtown, but don’t want to pay downtown rents,” Davis said.

“It’s going to take some education, just how close and accessible Jefferson Park is downtown,” Davis said.

He knows first hand how close Jefferson Park is two downtown.

“We have two young kids and on weekends, my wife and I will put them in strollers and we walk to LoDo in about 15 minutes,” Davis said.

Meanwhile, unrelated to Decatur Point another developer recently filed a lawsuit against the Landmark Preservation Commission and the city of Denver for a different project in Jefferson Park. (An earlier edition incorrectly said the lawsuit was against Espinoza.)

Espinoza, who doesn’t take office until July 20, on May 28, signed a petition with three other Jefferson Park residents for a historic application to save a Queen Anne-style house at 2329 Eliot St. in Jefferson Park.

Adams Development LLC wants to raze the home to make way for 18 modern homes.

The owner of the property did not want a historic designation for the house.

The lawsuit claims Espinoza pressured the city staff to break rules, by withdrawing a “certificate on non-historic status,” which it had just granted. Espinoza has denied the allegations.

A Landmark Preservation Commission has been scheduled for July 7 the application filed by Espinoza and others.  Espinoza, on Thursday afternoon, however, said the commission now will likely hear the matter in August.

If historic designation is eventually approved, it would go to Denver City Council for final approval. If that happens, Espinoza may need to recuse himself from voting on it.

“It’s a weird situation,” Espinoza said Thursday afternoon. He said he will be researching the rules on whether he would be allowed vote on the matter, if the historic designation should come before the council.


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