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.

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 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

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


April 2, 2015



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

  1. Most of the comments coming in are regarding Griff’s. Here’s a response to a Facebook post:

    “As I understand it, Jacob, Larimer Square is a developer that has had a long desire to acquire some property in Olde Town because the area is ripe for development similar to theurban developments they’ve done in LoDo in Denver. Apparently, the Griff’s property has been on the market for some time. If the purchase does go through, LS may decide to leave it as it is waiting for future development. Or, instead, they may try to do something with it now. So far, LS isn’t saying.

    I took this picture in mid-afternoon [Thursday] and it seemed like business was pretty good with the full lot and full drive-through window. But reviews of the quality of the food and service have been pretty mixed. A new owner might decide to let it sit for awhile.

    The front part of the building on Ralston Road (pictured) has some 1960s charm, but the side you see from Olde Wads is not nearly as appealing with the very dated-looking car parts masonry-block building next to it.”

    Restaurant reviews of Griff’s can be found on these links:

    and at

    –John K

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