State of the City Address


by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends,

Want to know what’s been happening in Arvada and what developments are likely in the future? Then here’s an increasingly popular event that you might want to take some time out of your day to attend. It’s this coming Friday and it’s the Chamber of Commerce’s third Friday breakfast meeting. The guest speaker is the Mayor of the City of Arvada, Marc Williams, who will be giving a State of the City address to the Chamber.

The breakfast will be catered at the Arvada Center and everyone is welcome to attend – you don’t have to be a member of the Chamber to attend the event. I’m not a Chamber member, but I have sat in on a number of Chamber events in recent years. Sitting in on these types of gatherings is a good way to find out what’s happening in Arvada, even if you are not a business owner.

The Mayor is an accomplished public speaker. His two previous State-of-the-City speeches at Chamber breakfasts have not only been informative, but they have also drawn large crowds. The Chamber is now billing the breakfast as an annual presentation.  Some of that popularity may be because of all the new developments taking place in and around Olde Town, and for those planned for the Triangle shopping district at Independence and Ralston Road. Urban renewal is expected to be a primary topic at this meeting.

The cost of the Chamber’s breakfast is $15, and it is well worth it when catered by the Arvada Center, which usually provides an excellent buffet breakfast. But you don’t even have to shell out the 15 bucks if you just want to hear what is being said. It’s free to just come, sit and listen.

I was surprised to see social media comments saying you had to pay $15 to attend what is effectively a public meeting. A number of Facebook comments were usually along the lines of, “Since when do Arvada (tax paying, neighborhood watch/awareness) citizens have TO PAY to attend & hear Arvada’s State of the City address??”

So when I dropped by the Chamber to make a reservation earlier this week (and pay the $15 for the breakfast buffet), I asked about that. “It’s simply not true,” I was told. As they did in previous years, the Chamber will be welcoming anyone who only wants to come and listen to the Mayor’s address without being charged a fee.

However, the breakfast is not free. To help cover their costs, you have to pay to take breakfast with the group. The Chamber representative I talked with also asked that those who are planning to attend without participating in the breakfast to make reservations as well, using the contact information provided on their website. This is so that the Arvada Center can set up enough tables to accommodate everyone who wants to sit in.

The Chamber is also asking everyone who is coming to make a reservation by noon on Wednesday, April 15th.

StateOfTheCity2015

Here is the link to the Chamber’s solicitation page for the event:

http://arvadachamber.chambermaster.com/events/details/3rd-friday-breakfast-state-of-the-city-04-17-2015-10983

Email promo announcements by the Chamber also say, “Mayor Marc Williams has a big announcement!” Now that’s got my interest.

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
The CLRC’s coverage of the previous State of the City address can be found at this link:

http://ralstoncommunity.org/2014/04/18/1430/

The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway.

Our main website is at http://www.RalstonCommunity.org or you can read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. You can write to us, call us or email us at

CLRC
c/o John Kiljan, Secretary
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

April 10, 2015

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Griff’s, the D-Note, the Olde Town Hotel Façade, the Vineyard, Ralston Creek North and More


by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends,

This post is almost entirely the notes taken by Nancy Young at the last AURA board meeting held on April 1, 2015. Nancy’s notes are reposted (with permission) from the “Let’s Talk, Arvada – Arvada for All the People” Facebook page. The photos were added by the CLRC, as were a few supplementary notes afterward. Thanks, Nancy!

* * *

2015-04-01 AURA (Arvada Urban Renewal) Board meeting notes
by Nancy Young

Farewell, Gunther Toodys and Griffs
The City of Arvada opposes reform of Colorado Urban Renewal Law
Arvada assessments are skyrocketing

5:30 pm. The meeting was called to order. Commissioners present were – Jacobson,, Cline, Parker, and Williams. Commissioners Bolin and Delaria were excused by motion. Two citizens attended.

The minutes from the last meeting were approved as written.

Ms. Phair, Executive Director of Arvada Urban Renewal, provided the development update.

New AutoZone construction

New AutoZone construction

– AutoZone has begun constructing their new building. The line that needs to be replaced is really an underground channel, requiring substantial, deep digging.

– Walmart plans to close on the property in May. Most of the hazardous material abatement is asbestos. For the underground contamination, an abatement chemical will be injected into the ground, and the location will become a grassy area.

– The “streetscape” is being negotiated at three corners of the Arvada Plaza. US Bank is willing to provide AURA a right-of-way, at no cost, to create the streetscape at AURA’s cost, by the Bank building (Independence and Ralston Road). The Bank will maintain the streetscape in perpetuity. Negotiations have begun with KFC and the former Valero gas station. The streetscape will affect parking at the former Valero gas station (W. 57th and Independence).

– In the Arvada Square, Loftus has signed a 90-day letter of intent, and AURA has granted them exclusivity for the same period. Loftus has hired an engineer, who has received permission to drill holes to test for contamination. AURA Commissioners asked whether Loftus would consider a beer garden. Ms. Phair stated that Loftus will determine for itself what kind of retail outlets would be appropriate for this location.

– PPOT (the 5-story, rental apartment building on historic McIlvoy Park) will have a “topping off” ceremony on May 5. All AURA Commissioners are invited, as are all members of the City Council. The AURA Board meeting will begin at 6:00pm that day, in lieu of 5:30 pm.

The Nine-Acre Site viewed from the corner of Grandview and Vance

The Nine-Acre Site viewed from the corner of Grandview and Vance

– The Trammel Crow TOD (transit-oriented development) is progressing at a leisurely pace. They are still seeking a grocery store for the development. Land value appraisals are needed before AURA can acquire the land and move the current RTD parking lot to the north. This will pave the way for construction to begin on this project.

– Solana Olde Town, AURA’s largest current project(valued at $83 million) is moving forward.

– The Hilton Hotel project held a second neighborhood meeting, with about 30 people attending. Four architectural renderings were presented, based on the community’s rejection of the initial rendering at the first community meeting. All four renderings were pre-approved by Hilton, as required. The rendering most liked by attendees was red stucco (giving the appearance of brick) with rounded structures at the base. A citizen also posted a request for voting at a neighborhood organization’s website. The winner was the same rendering as selected at the meeting. The developer was delighted that the least expensive option was preferred.

– The Hilton Hotel project was submitted to the City on March 16th, and AURA gave formal notice to the Vineyard Church to vacate on March 17th. The Church asked if they could temporarily occupy a portion of the former Safeway at the Arvada Square. The developer (apparently Loftus) denied this request.

Closed D-Note on Grandview

Closed D-Note on Grandview

– The former D-Note space has been leased by Mike Huggins, owner of the Arvada Tavern. The plans are to create a “German beer garden”, with German food and live entertainment. Ms. Phair noted that insiders are investing in Olde Town. She stated that Scott Spears (owner of Scrumptious) opened the new Schoolhouse Libations, and now the Arvada Tavern owner is also expanding in Olde Town.

Griff's at Olde Wads & Ralston Road

Griff’s at Olde Wads & Ralston Road

 

– Griff’s burger bar is under contract with Larimer Square. No mention was made of what kind of development might occur at that location.

Commissioners made the following comments:

Commissioner Williams
– April 17 will be the third annual State of Arvada address, at the Arvada Center and sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Breakfast will be served at 7:30 am. All AURA Commissioners were encouraged to attend since AURA has contributed to most of the new developments in Arvada.

Empty Gunther Toody's site at Wads Bypass & Ralston Road

Empty Gunther Toody’s site at Wads Bypass & Ralston Road

– “We” are working on a transaction for Gunther Toodys. (Note: It was not clear if this transaction involved the City of Arvada or AURA).

– Commissioner Williams met with the new Executive Director of CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation). Commissioner Williams emphasized the importance of the Jefferson Parkway at this meeting.

– The CML (Colorado Municipal League) met with the State House Speaker (Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D. – District 10 – eastern and northeastern Boulder). It appears that the Speaker supports the “county bill” regarding urban renewal reform. CML anticipates “killing” this bill should it be reported out of the House to the Colorado Senate.

– Commissioner Williams is cautiously optimistic that the construction defects bill will be passed this legislative session.

Commissioner and Chair Jacobson:
– If there is no business for the workshop scheduled for April 15, perhaps it should be canceled. By motion, the Board cancelled the April 15 workshop.

Staff Reports – from Ms. Phair
– BKB, the auditor from last year (and the same auditor used by the City of Arvada), has begun the audit process. They have submitted a letter outlining their plan, scope, and timing of the work.

Commissioner Williams:
– Rumors suggest that the Jefferson County Assessor anticipates that assessments in Arvada are skyrocketing, especially in NW Arvada. The first tax payment to AURA will probably be in April.

An executive session is needed to assess four land transactions, provide instructions to negotiators, and to approve the minutes from the last executive session. NOTE: The four land transactions are probably Grandview Plaza (site of now Silvis, formerly Udis), Reno Place (AURA headquarters), Gunther Toodys, and unknown.

At about 6:00 pm, Commissioner Williams motioned to enter executive session. Motion approved unanimously. The purpose of the session was to discuss four properties and provide instructions to negotiators, and to approve executive session minutes.. The public session was therefore ended.

[end of notes by Nancy Young]

* * *

The only things I would add to Nancy’s excellent notes are the following :

– AutoZone’s new building should be finished sometime in July.

– The reason so much dirt is piled up at the AutoZone construction site is because of the need to replace the main storm sewer. [This is where the Van Bibber Creek used to flow before Arvada Plaza was built.]

– Even though a new beer hall may soon be coming to Olde Town, it no longer looks like the Larimer Square developer will be building a beer garden at Ralston Creek North across from Ralston Central Park.

– Park Place Olde Town plans to start leasing some of its units early in the fall.

– The Mile High Vineyard Church must leave its current location by September 17th.

– The Hilton developer will still have to apply for a height exception for the hotel.

The thriving Arvada Tavern on Olde Wads

The thriving Arvada Tavern on Olde Wads

– The Arvada Tavern is not moving to the old D-Note site. This is a new development at the site.

– A large part of the Chamber-sponsored “State of the City” breakfast on April 17th is expected to be about urban renewal.

– Trammell Crow is still expected to first concentrate on multi-family housing in the Nine-Acre Site (in Olde Town, east of Vance) after it gets the RTD parking issues worked out. That can’t be done while part of the land is still owned by RTD.

– Trammell Crow also says that they are still working hard to get a grocer onto the south side of the Nine-Acre Site.

– Not only are property valuations (and therefore property taxes) expected to jump quite a bit this year, but because of recent storm damage, the cost of homeowner’s insurance has also been rising dramatically — as well as policy deductible amounts.

– The Larimer Square developer has till May to close on the Griff’s property and they don’t yet know whether they are going to keep the building. AURA and the City will be looking at options for reconstructing the Griff’s building if Larimer Square decides to do that.

– The potential Gunther Toody’s redevelopment is confidential news. Please don’t tell anyone.

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway.

Our main website is at http://www.RalstonCommunity.org or you can read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. You can write to us, call us or email us at

CLRC
c/o John Kiljan, Secretary
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

April 2, 2015

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

TIGERS YOUTH RUGBY


TIGERS YOUTH RUGBY

Rugby 7’s is a fast paced, fun and exciting game!

Rugby is a contact sport but take it from a veteran Football coach of 18 years it is safe. Please consider

Rugby as the benefits are countless. I welcome any and all questions especially in regards to safety.

We encourage Boys and Girls to play. Many new opportunities are springing up all over thanks to Rugby.

Colleges are now offering Rugby some of which even offer Scholarships!

Rugby 7’s will be in the upcoming 2016 Olympics!

• Practice times: Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:30 to 7:00 starting April 7th

• Practice location: Warder Elementary 80th and Carr Drive in Arvada

• Jamborees: Saturdays starting May 23rd through July 11th

• On-line registration: Link is being built through Rugby Colorado. This

will be ready soon.

• Cost: $150-$180 (still working through details)

• Included: Practice shirt, shorts, socks. Game jersey provided for use.

• You bring: Water bottle, mouthpiece, cleats. Optional scrum cap.

Contact info: Jason Robinson 720-427-8242, jrobinson@emichauto.com,

tigersrugby.com or Find us on Facebook: Tigers Youth Rugby!

THIS SEASON TIGERS IS OFERING U14 FOR BOYS AGE 13/14 and U12 COED GIRLS AND BOYS AGE 10/12

(Tigers goal is to offer all age groups age 8-High School and create a High School Girls team in the very near future so please inquire and help us grow)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Pool or No Pool? – Help Decide Arvada’s Recreation Future on Thursday


by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends,

Something important is happening this coming Thursday evening. The Apex Park and Recreation District will hold its final public input meeting on what new recreational facilities to build for the City. Shortly after that, Apex will put together a package of projects for voter approval – possibly this November. How that ballot issue goes will most likely decide Arvada’s recreational future for the next two decades. The meeting will be held at 6:30 pm, Thursday, March 26th at the Community Recreation Center at 6842 Wadsworth Boulevard.

Fisher Pool 1960's -- Apex's first recreational facility

Fisher Pool 1970’s — Apex’s first recreational facility

Apex is expected to promote a package of developments centered around a “Vision 2020” citizen’s report developed several years ago. That report recommends not building a replacement for the Fisher pool that Apex closed down eight years ago in what is now Ralston Central Park. However, that may change if there is enough support for local recreation along the central Ralston Road corridor. This meeting may be the only opportunity to do that.

Apex’s Executive Director, Mike Miles, recently said at a public meeting that the recreation district will not be encouraging further public feedback after, or outside of, this meeting.

For its part, the City of Arvada has set aside $3,100,000 in its budget to construct a recreation facility which would most likely include a pool near to where the Fisher Pool used to be located. However, to build a replacement facility would likely cost at least twice that amount, and no site has yet been identified, nor has the additional funding needed been identified.

At a joint meeting with the City of Arvada, the Apex Board of Directors said that they intended to seek public input at three meetings and bring the results back to the Arvada City Council with a ballot proposal. The first meeting was held in January and the February meeting was cancelled. This is the third, and last, meeting. The resulting study session with the Council is expected to take place about five weeks after this one – tentatively, on Friday, May 1st. Hopefully, it will be open to the public, but public comment is not expected to be allowed.

Currently, Apex charges homeowners and businesses about 5.43 mills in property tax to keep its facilities going. That amounts to about $108 a year for a typical $250,000 Arvada home — whether you use their facilities or not. However 1.73 mills of that will be expiring in 2017 (about $35/year), and it is that renewal that must go to the voters to be extended. The extension, if it passes, should bring in about $25 million in new construction monies for recreational facilities across the district.

So what should that money be spent on? Not in the south and east parts of Arvada, and not for a replacement for the Fisher Pool, according to Apex statements. And, apart from the ballot box, Thursday’s meeting may be your last chance to have a say in what we will be asked to vote on.

CandelasPoolRecCropAlthough many disagree, Apex has repeatedly said it does not believe that the public wants it to build facilities that operate at a loss, i.e. facilities where admission fees, such as swimming pools, do not fully pay for the cost of running the facility. Organized sports facilities, do typically pay for their own operating costs. (In part, that’s why Apex has become a thriving regional sports center for things such as ice hockey, golf, baseball and soccer events.)

Other cities, such as Wheat Ridge, that have an integrated park and recreation departments do not have this problem. Having some facilities operating at a small annual loss is considered the norm because of the benefits they bring to their communities. But Apex is different. The Apex Park and Recreation District is a separate and independent government agency and is not a part of the government of the City of Arvada. They are two different animals.

In preparation for the meeting, here is some reference material readers may find useful. It starts with a partial transcription of a joint Apex Board of Directors and the Arvada City Council meeting held on January 6, 2015 at the Indian Tree golf club meeting room. The discussion preceding it centered on the need to propose a project, or projects, to the public that had “sizzle” — like the Apex Center itself – one that the voters could get behind at the ballot box. Although no public comment was invited at this strategy workshop, that thought was enough for Terri Binder, as a member of the public, to rise up and speak to the group.

* * *

TERRI BINDER: Just sitting here listening to all of this, I’ve heard some really good things, like walkable communities. You know, that’s the big thing right now. Right now, I live in east Arvada. I consider it east Arvada — the old part of Arvada, and I use things that are close to me, but I will not go out to Apex. It’s too far. Now, I also like places I can walk to. I don’t like to always have to get in my car. So that’s one thing I’ve heard here that I encourage. I think that is a key thing when we’re thinking about an election.

The other things is when RTD did their FastTrack program, I was there for their “Guide the Ride” thing — which failed — but we did think about how you get people to vote for this. Well, you’ve got to give everybody something, so I was looking at these five areas of Arvada, so maybe, when you go out and talk to people, or get groups from each one of those areas, [ask] what would they like in their area?

Not the big picture, but what would resonate with them in their specific area? [interruption] And it might be different. It might be different in area one, or two, or five or whatever, because their needs are different than other needs. And that’s what we did with FastTracks. What do the people want in the areas this is going to go to? So that’s just the thought. That I really think if you are really interested in walkable communities [garbled]. Do we want people getting into cars and driving long distances?

JIM WHITFIELD [interrupting]: I just don’t know you can put a facility – well, I guess as long as it’s walkable to a bus stop, then I think we’re getting . . .

TERRI BINDER [interrupting]: Well, I think, the other thing I was going to say, people mentioned something about RTD. I think the thing about RTD being able to drive buses everywhere we want: They don’t have the money and they are not going to do it. So I mean I hate to say that, but that’s the truth. And so, I think we need to be thinking strategically about the transportation system, and how people are going to get there. Are they going to be able walk to it, take a bike to it? Those kinds of things and I think that’s why I think we need to look at area individually. And then . . .

MARC WILLIAMS [interrupting]: Well the school board’s done that. The school district’s done that for years. And, you know, that’s how they get a lot of their elections . . .

TERRI BINDER [interrupting]: Yeah, they’re getting something they want. Not so much the big picture, but what’s in it for me, what’s in it for them.

* * *

After this, Councilor Fifer talked about the money the City has already invested in making Arvada more walkable and more bike friendly.

Notes: Terri Binder is a former RTD director. She headed up the western slope’s Club 20 transportation efforts, and she is currently on the City of Arvada’s Transportation Committee.

Jim Whitfield is an Apex director and was formerly the chair of their board, and was on the board when the Apex Park and Recreation District went to the voters with single-issue ballots to rebuild the Fisher Pool in Ralston Central Park. Those passed locally, but not district-wide. You can read his notes on this meeting at http://jim-whitfield.com/?p=442

Marc Williams is Arvada’s mayor.

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
Apex’s announcement for this meeting can be found at this link:

http://apexprd.org/public-input-invited-apex-prd-master-plan-projects

[This is a corrected link.]

CLRC Ralston recreation needs survey results

CLRC Ralston recreation needs survey results

The CLRC’s own 24-page survey of recreational needs for the central Ralston Road corridor that identifies a community pool as a top priority can be found clicking on this link provided by the City of Arvada:

https://static.arvada.org/docs/Ralston_recreation_Community_Center_Report_(2)-1-201308301406.pdf

The City also has a separate web page for a Ralston Community Recreations center at

https://arvada.org/parks-and-recreation/ralston-community-recreation-center

Apex’s Vision 2020 report can be found at

http://apexprd.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Vision-2020-Board-Report-2012.pdf

but those 2020 recommendations are somewhat contradicted by other Apex needs surveys.

The 174-page National Research Center Report prepared for the district can be found at

http://apexprd.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Apex-Community-Needs-Assessment-06-11-13.pdf

And the much shorter and very readable Mind Mixer survey report, that is rich in pool comments, and was conducted for Apex can be found at

http://apexprd.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/MindMixer-Input-Report.pdf

Mr Whitfield has a copy of the work packet that the entire joint study session with the City Council used at their January 6th meeting at

http://jim-whitfield.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Study-Session-Packet.pdf

Apex Community Recreation Center (aka the Senior Center)

Apex Community Recreation Center (aka the Senior Center)

If you’ve never been to Apex’s Community Recreation Center (where this meeting will be held), you should drop by and visit. It’s your center if you live in Arvada. Your property taxes and apartment rents help pay for its operation. Some of the services it offers, such as Silver Sneakers, are free to use for some insurance plans. Formerly, it was called the Senior Center and many of its artistic activities are still senior oriented.

Here is the link for that facility:

http://apexprd.org/facilities/community-recreation-center

 

The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway.

Our main website is at http://www.RalstonCommunity.org or you can read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. You can write to us, call us or email us at

CLRC
c/o John Kiljan, Secretary
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

March 21, 2015

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Help Design the Olde Town Hotel – Deadline on Monday


by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends,

You can help decide what Olde Town’s first modern hotel will look like, but you have to speak up soon.   Last Wednesday evening, the Hilton Garden Inn developers showed the public four possible design concepts for the hotel to be located just south of the center of Olde Town.

All four proposed concepts look different than a typical Hilton Garden Inn located in other states. The designer has made a conscious effort to redesign the HGI standard model to better fit in with Olde Town’s existing architecture. And, most people attending the Wednesday design meeting seemed to appreciate that effort.

Typical Hilton Garden Inn in other states

Typical Hilton Garden Inn in other states

The designer, Brinkman Partners, is welcoming further comments from the public before they select their choice to take to the City of Arvada to start the approval process around the middle of next week. Brinkman’s Development Manager, Todd Parker, invites you to call him with your preference for their concept designs or any other thoughts you might have related to the appearance of the building. But you have to do it before the close of business on Monday, March 16th.

His direct number is 970-672-1014 and you can leave a voicemail message if he’s not in. You are also invited to try his cell phone at 970-231-0746. The 970 area code is for Fort Collins, so you might need to add a “1” to the number.

If you want to email him instead, that’s okay too. But you have to get emailed comments in a little earlier, by Sunday night. And, you have to put in a subject line that has the words “Olde Town Hotel Design” or something similar so it is not overlooked in the weekend email clutter. That email address is todd.parker@brinkmanpartners.com . [That’s a corrected email address.]

So get ready for a lot of pictures. I’m sorry about the quality, but there was no time to get the files and do the conversions needed for a high-resolution WordPress posting on RalstonCommunity.org .

Design concept #1

Design concept #1

Design concept #2

Design concept #2

Design concept #3

Design concept #3

Design concept #4

Design concept #4

The hotel's original design concept

The hotel’s original design concept

[Disclosure: My own comments were that I preferred concept #3 the best, but that number four was pretty good also. I liked the brighter colors of #3, and I really liked the design of the entryway rain cover on #3.  The flat-roof entryway in the other designs looks very 1970-ish to me.  I’m told there was almost a tie between #2 and #4, with #3 close behind for the dozen or so members of the public attending the Wednesday showing. Nobody seemed to like concept #1 – myself included. Personally, I thought concept #2 looked like a factory or warehouse and was somewhat dreary. What looks like brick in that design is actually stucco, but others thought it was more in keeping with the character of the commercial buildings in the oldest part of Olde Town.]

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
The backstory on the new hotel is covered in several CLRC articles. The most relevant one can be found at

http://ralstoncommunity.org/2015/02/14/thursday-night-meeting-on-olde-towns-coming-hotel/

And just in case you haven’t seen enough photos, here are some pictures of what the adjacent buildings surrounding the site look like – most are of the Water Tower apartments/condos. You should be able to enlarge any by clicking on them.

Of course, if you really want to be thoughtful in your comments, you can take advantage of the nice weather predicted for the weekend and drive (or walk or cycle) out to the Mile High Vineyard church and look at what is out there now for yourself.  That’s what I did last myself last weekend.

P1000747P1000745P1000743P1000739P1000738P1000737P1000736P1000734P1000733P1000731P1000730

Site aerial view

Site aerial view

And, finally, if you are interested in the church that temporarily occupies the site of the hotel, you might want to drop in and say hello while you are looking over the site. Pastor Jay Pathak is very personable and has a neat website that tells you what the church does and what to expect if you attend a service there. That website can be found at http://www.milehighvineyard.org/ .

The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway.

Our main website is at http://www.RalstonCommunity.org or you can read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. You can write to us, call us or email us at

CLRC
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

March 13, 2015

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Two Meetings on Wednesday: The New Grandview Park & Hilton Hotel Design Sessions


by John Kiljan

Dear CLRC members and friends,

These two meetings are being held simultaneously, and to keep down the email clutter, they are being combined into a single CLRC article. They are open to the public, but were not posted on the main Arvada.org website.

SOLANA PARK
At 6:00 pm Wednesday, March 11th, at the Arvada library, there will be an informal discussion on what will be Olde Town’s newest park. The small public park will be located south of the railroad tracks east of the Bypass and will overlook the new Solana Olde Town Station apartment complex scheduled for construction later this year. Currently, the area is mostly wood and scrubland, and it is closed to the public.

SolanaParkMeetingThe purpose of this informational meeting is to get public input on the park’s final design, to hear suggestions for tweaking that design, to hear suggestions for what to name the park, and to answer questions about issues such as access and safety. It should be of interest to those who live in Olde Town or in Stocke-Walter, or who frequently visit the area.

The discussion is being held by the Solana Olde Town Station developer, Jason Smith, who is with MKS Residential. Arvada City Staff may be present to answer questions, but will not be directing the discussion. The library is located at 7525 W 57th Avenue. The meeting is expected to last about an hour-and-a-half. It’s okay to arrive late.
Solana Olde Town Station is a 352-unit apartment complex planned to be located north of 56th Avenue just east of the mini-storage on the Wadsworth Bypass. The up-scale apartments will have 620 parking spaces and about that many residents. These should be some pretty nice apartments. They will be built to condominium standards and will include in-structure parking spaces.   It will also have a clubhouse and outdoor pool for its residents.

Typically, the City of Arvada requires developments such as this to either contribute to a public park fund for future park construction, or to actually build an appropriately sized public park near the facility. MKS has opted to do the latter, hence the early construction of a new park and the park discussion on Wednesday.

For such a small park, it will have some nice features that could make it very popular. Those include easy walkability to Olde Town and the Stocke-Walter neighborhood north of Grandview, free wi-fi (courtesy of Solana), play areas, shaded areas, low vehicle traffic, a protective fence to keep children off the adjacent commuter rail line (courtesy of RTD), a quiet environment (apart from the passing commuter rail train), and a nice view to the south over the Solana pool. This “pocket park” could be a nice quiet place to take a sandwich from an Olde Town eatery and watch the kids play while you catch up on your email.

The pool is for Solana residents. It will be gated and not open to the public.

There are issues associated with the park’s location: Access to the park from Grandview for both vehicles and pedestrians has not been finalized. Approval from several agencies will be required to get a proposed rail crossing put in at Saulsbury Street, and that Is not a certainty. Nor is there any obvious access to the park for the Columbine neighborhoods to the south of 56th Avenue.   There will be access available along the frontage road at the east end of the park.

If it turns out there will not be easy pedestrian access to the park, then available parking may also become an issue. Although, according to Planning Commission documents, Solana will be required to make the application to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for the Saulsbury crossing, these are mostly City of Arvada issues and the developer is not expected to be able to address them on Wednesday.

WHEN WILL CONSTRUCTION START?
Soon. The City Council has recently rezoned the land from industrial to residential. A ground-breaking ceremony may happen in April or May. The park and apartment construction should take about a year to complete and will include a re-signalization of 56th Avenue at the Wadsworth Bypass. All this will be going on at the same time as peak construction for the nearby Gold Line commuter rail station and parking structure in the heart of Olde Town.

* * *

DESIGN WORK SESSION FOR HILTON GARDEN INN
This meeting is a follow-on to a meeting held last month on the concept plans for the new hotel’s design. You can read about that meeting in this CLRC article at

http://ralstoncommunity.org/2015/02/14/thursday-night-meeting-on-olde-towns-coming-hotel/

Hilton Garden Inn concept image

Hilton Garden Inn concept image

It has links to several other articles about the hotel. And here is the notice put out by the designer looking for a little more input on the concept design before they go to the City for approval. Mr Parker says the invitation is for anyone interested in the aesthetics of the building’s design.

“In response to the Community feedback received at the Neighborhood Meeting on February 19, 2015, Brinkman Partners would like to invite you to attend a design work session to discuss the conceptual plans for the construction of the Hilton Garden Inn located on the South West corner of West 55th Ave. and Olde Wadsworth Blvd. at 5445 Olde Wadsworth Blvd.”

 “Wednesday, March 11, 2015
6:00 pm
Lawrence Elementary School Library
5611 Zephyr Street
Arvada, CO 80002

“Representatives from Brinkman Partners will be present to listen and discuss the community’s feedback.

“Questions or inquiries can be directed to:

“Todd Parker
Development Manager
Brinkman Partners, LLC
970‐267‐0954”

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
There is a lot of information about the Solana development and adjacent park in the City Council packet that approved the development. You can view a copy of that by going to this link:

http://www.arvadarecords.org/councilpacket/past_week/2015…..03-02-2015,%20Council%20Meeting%20Packet.pdf

Sorry, you have to wade through the entire Council packet to find the parts about Solana. The City’s “Arvada Records Search” feature which would have direct link is still not working.

You can also go to MKS Residential’s own website which may have updates on the project at

http://mksresidential.com/

The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway.

Our main website is at http://www.RalstonCommunity.org or you can read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. You can write to us, call us or email us at

CLRC
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

March 7, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Triangle Developments – New Developer, Fewer Rentals, More Townhomes, More Flood Problems


by John Kiljan
[updated March 21, 2015]

Dear CLRC members and friends,

Negotiations with the Buckingham group over the Ralston Creek North redevelopment have collapsed, and that will have a significant effect on coming redevelopment plans for the Triangle. Last July, the group, led by the Indiana-based Buckingham Companies, had been offered an exclusive development right by Arvada’s urban renewal authority in the part of the Triangle shopping center called Arvada Square. That’s the part located just across Ralston Road from the new Walmart Supercenter in the Arvada Plaza. Buckingham’s development proposal has been covered in an earlier CLRC article referenced below.

But at an Arvada Urban Renewal Authority board meeting on March 4th, the commissioners were told efforts to reach a final agreement with the group fell apart when Buckingham dropped out of the consortium of companies proposing to redevelop the site. This was the first public update by AURA on the Triangle since last December. AURA’s January meeting was disrupted by a citizen protest and the February meeting was cancelled afterwards.

Buckingham’s proposal had included a mix of new retail and about 350 new apartments running along Ralston Road from Garrison to Independence and overlooking Ralston Creek and Brooks Drive on the other side of the creek. The development offer to Buckingham was based upon a competitive solicitation that took months to narrow the applicants down to a single winner.

LOFTUS
The runner-up during that solicitation was a Loftus-led group of local developers. That group was also highly complimented during their development presentation to the AURA board. And negotiations have now begun with Loftus to see if they are interested in renewing their offer.

P1000084

Loftus development proposal for Ralston Creek North (click to enlarge)

That was the preferred direction of AURA Board of Commissioners at last Wednesday’s meeting, but the choice was not unanimous. Moreover, Loftus has said that they are not willing to participate in any new competition for development rights in Arvada Square. So Loftus’ participation is far from certain.

Since the rumors of Buckingham’s departure began, AURA has received unsolicited development offers for this part of the Triangle from two other groups, led by Drake and by Peregrine. The board also has an offer from the remaining two local partners from the original Buckingham group to put together a revised proposal without Buckingham. The board may well decide to hold a new competition altogether, and some board members seemed to favor doing that now.

Loftus development concept (click to enlarge)

Loftus development concept (click to enlarge)

What comes out of this is anyone’s guess, but it will start with an invitation by AURA to Loftus to renew their proposal from last July with revisions. That may happen as soon as a special March 18th meeting AURA hopes to have with Loftus. The meeting, if it’s held, should be open to the public — as the original selection meetings were in July.   Why a revised proposal? It’s because a few things have changed since last July.

FLOODS, CONDOS, TOWNHOMES AND SENIOR HOUSING
The first of those changes is flooding. At the Wednesday meeting it was revealed that the newly widened Ralston Creek channel did indeed remove many homes and almost all of Arvada Square from the risk of flooding. But not all of the shopping center has been removed from the flood zone. Flood risk is not determined by the City nor by AURA. That’s the job of the US Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA and they make their flood-plain determinations after rechannelization is complete. And that’s who the banks listen to when deciding whether to finance loans on commercial or residential properties.Ralston Creek 100-year floodplain after park reconstruction

100-year Ralston Creek floodplain after park reconstruction

Apparently, some of the land next to the creek that Buckingham was planning to build on is still in Ralston Creek’s “floodway”. How big that area is and much it will cost to mitigate that flood risk is still unknown. To find out will take another engineering study that is going to take some time and money. And none of the remaining potential developers are willing to spend that time and money if there is not a reasonable chance that they will get a development contract.

The second change appears to be from the public feedback on the original Buckingham development proposal. Although the proposal for many new retail outlets has been well received, many local residents in nearby neighborhoods, such as Alta Vista, are not comfortable with the number of new housing units being proposed. And they are just as uncomfortable with the idea that these will be for-rent-only apartments. Apartments tend to have a much higher annual turnover rate than owner-occupied housing, and that affects a neighborhood’s sense of community.

Colorado’s construction defect laws currently make it uneconomical to build owner-occupied condominiums. But lower-density owner-occupied townhomes and duplexes are still possible. Moreover, by May of this year, there is some chance the current Colorado legislature may change the construction defect laws to allow more owner-occupied condominiums to be built.

The AURA board also seems to be concerned about the demographic studies done by the City that show a very large increase in the number of seniors who will be looking for suitable housing in the coming decades. Senior housing and senior-friendly apartment units are typically more expensive to build because they require things such as elevators, carports, wider doorways and bathroom fixtures that other apartments don’t.

So, in any new proposals, AURA is now asking for an analysis of the revised floodway risk, more owner-occupied housing, some senior housing if the developer thinks the market can support it, and, if there are no changes in the current defect laws, to have  for-rent apartments built to standards such that they can later be turned into owner-occupied condominiums. These changes should also result in lower density housing development and should be welcomed by nearby residents.

But those changes may also be more expensive to implement and AURA is only allowed to provide development incentives until 2028 (12 more years) when its renewal authority expires. Urban renewal authorities only rarely get to offer development incentives for the full 25 years the law allows.

The upcoming board meeting with Loftus could prove to be interesting.

[Update:]  The board meeting with Loftus on March 18th was indeed interesting.  Although Loftus said it was surprised at the renewed offer to negotiate for Ralston Creek North, they came prepared and had a good rundown of what would have to be changed since last July’s competition.  Possible environmental problems, the need to relocate existing utilities and accommodate the part of the floodway that now runs through their earlier proposal topped the list of concerns.

Loftus said they thought that owner-occupied town-home construction was very possible, but that it would have a lower overall density than AURA had first asked for — perhaps yielding only half the original number housing units.  The board members said that they were now okay with that based on early community feedback on the Buckingham proposal.

Owner-occupied senior housing would be much more difficult though.  Such units are more expensive to build and much harder to sell.  Loftus gave examples of that kind of housing that they built earlier that took years to sell.  Rental senior housing was much easier and they would consider bringing in an expert to advise them on whether that could be feasible.

A site for a public pool or public recreation center now doesn’t seem possible.  The site Loftus had hoped to acquire for that purpose has increased in value by another million dollars.  However, the 24-Hour Fitness proposal to move into part of the old Safeway building does still seem doable.  But it would be an adults only facility.

AURA gave the nod to Maureen Phair to come back to the board next month with a proposal to start negotiations with Loftus on site north of Ralston Road.

There were no changes on the status of the Walmart development except to say that construction has already begun on the AutoZone part of the project and moving the US Bank drive-throughs.  Walmart itself now expects to begin construction some this summer. [End of update]

SO WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH WALMART AND THE OTHER URBAN RENEWAL PROJECTS?
Across the street, the latest update is that AutoZone will break ground on its new site on March 23rd.   They had to special order a new storm sewer as an unanticipated expense and AURA has agreed to reimburse IRG $200,000 to cover that cost.

Walmart expects to have all its approvals in place by May 4th and they will close soon after that. IRG will then begin their hazardous-material abatement and demolition work on the site.  That will be followed by the construction of the actual Walmart building.

Park Place Olde Town has finished much of their critical concrete work and is now concentrating on framing the rest of the building.

Solana (between Grandview and 56th Avenue) has overrun its cost projections. It will now cost MKS Residential $83.4 million to build the new apartments. They have recently received City Council approval and still hope to break ground this summer, with the first units opening up for lease this fall.

The developers for the Olde Town Hilton Gardens Inn hotel are hoping to submit their development application to the City later this month after one additional public meeting.

The latest that Marc Williams has heard on the opening of the Gold Line is that it will be sometime in the fall of 2016, although some are more optimistic about an earlier opening.

AURA has posted its Summary of Working Projects. That summary sheet is copied here. Executive Director Maureen Phair pointed out that the projects on the list represent $222 million in private investment coming to Arvada in the next couple of years. AURA project summary

AURA project summary

WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE
The CLRC has posted many articles on Arvada’s urban renewal projects that readers can find by doing a word search on our website. One recent article related to Ralston Creek North (Arvada Square) developments can be read at

http://ralstoncommunity.org/2014/12/30/changes-coming-to-the-triangle/

and you can read about Buckingham’s proposal for this area in this article

http://ralstoncommunity.org/2014/07/24/the-triangle-gets-a-big-development-boost/

Nancy Young also attended the March 4th AURA meeting and her lengthy notes can be found by scrolling through the CBA, SAW and LTA-AAP Facebook sites. Those notes also cover AURA’s streetscaping plans for this part of Ralston Road.

The Citizens for a Livable Ralston Community is an independent neighborhood association representing the neighborhoods adjacent to Ralston Road from Wadsworth Bypass to the Kipling Parkway.

Our main website is at http://www.RalstonCommunity.org or you can read even more posts on our Facebook page at “CLRC – Citizens for a Liveable Ralston Community”. You can write to us, call us or email us at

CLRC
6185 Field Street
Arvada, CO 80004

303-423-9875
jpkiljan@yahoo.com

March 6, 2015
[minor edits on March 6, 2015]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment