DENVER - Denver City Council is heard arguments about a controversial zoning change in Cherry Creek Tuesday night. A vote whether or not to change a zoning rule in the area to allow large redevelopment projects is expected later in the evening.
The crux of the issue is the old post office known as the Case Building. Developers want to build a seven-story, 90,000-square-foot building in that spot that will have office space, retail shops, residential units and two levels of underground parking.
However, some Cherry Creek residents are not happy with it. They say the building is just too big and doesn't fit proportionately with the quaint area.
"This is one of the most unique and desirable areas to live in out of the whole country. We've received calls every day about people seeing if there's a place to live in Cherry Creek and in Denver, and this is the most desirable for business as well for residential. We want to make sure it's preserved, and again, what we want is balance. We just don't feel like this project is balanced. It's strictly a real example of over development," Wayne New, former president of the Cherry Creek North Neighbors Association, said.
Residents also worry that if they let this one go through, it will be opening the flood gates for more projects like this. As of now, about 15 projects are slated for the area over the next few years, and more than 1,300 residential units are expected to be added to the 10-block area within the next year.
"We're gravely concerned about the size of this project and mostly it being a precedent for other development in Cherry Creek North. If this size of building becomes the standard for Cherry Creek North, then it will become a mini downtown and completely destroy the character of this neighborhood and really destroy the balance we've achieved over the years between commercial development and the quality of life our residents enjoy right now," New said.
Residents are also concerned about the growing problem of traffic and parking in the area.
"We're concerned about the amount of traffic that will be generating. As you look at the old traffic on Columbine, especially around Whole Foods [and] Second and Third [avenues,] it's tremendous traffic now. It's ... congested. We're so afraid that the accumulative traffic from this project will be a detriment, and traffic will go into the neighborhoods as well as the country club and Cherry Creek North neighborhoods," New said.
The project developer for the Case Building is Jim Sullivan. 9NEWS contacted Sullivan and he said "he respects all the opinions of the neighborhood association and does not want to comment until after the city council meeting [Tuesday night]."
Developers and some city officials agree that this redevelopment is vital in keeping the area healthy because it is now competing with other similar places like Belmar and Highland.
Tuesday night, the City Council will meet at 5:30 p.m. to discuss and vote on whether or not to approve a zoning change to allow these large projects to proceed.
Officials say they expect to the meeting to go into the morning hours.
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