ARVADA, Colo. — A developer has been working on a project to turn two homes in Olde Town Arvada into 14 three-story condos and two retail shops. 

Keane Palmer, a manager with the developer, Denver-based Brick Investments, said he's worked hard to keep the development in line with the character of Olde Town. 

But some business owners and residents in the neighborhood feel the two homes currently on the property along Grandview Avenue have a historic value that is essential to the district's character. Others said they are tired of the rundown homes and are ready for any improvement. 

The three-story project, called Grandview Station, has been in the works for years and Palmer said it's finally nearing approval: 

  • Arvada city ordinance places a two-story standard on buildings in the historic Olde Town district. The city's board of adjustments approved a variance in February to allow the project to have three stories. 
  • It was then reviewed by the city's Design Review Advisory Committee, which recommended approval of the project on Aug. 15. 
  • Five days later, the director of community and economic development also approved the project. 
  • Now, the proposed development is under review by city staff. 

If staff approves the site plan, construction can proceed at that time. If appeals are filed, that will change the timeline and the process. 

Longtime Olde Towne business owner Lori Drienka said she plans to file such an appeal. Drienka has owned Eli Ashby Healing Arts Center at 7401 Grandview Ave. in Arvada for 14 years

Drienka also sits on the board of the Olde Town Arvada Business Improvement District.

"I would like to see the historic houses saved," Drienka said Sunday. "If that can’t be done, I would like to see a development that’s appropriate to our district, one that is in theme with the historic buildings."

If an appeal is filed, the project will go to the planning commission within 45 days. From there, someone can appeal the planning commission's decision. If that were to happen, the project would have to go to the city council, which would make the final decision. 

"I have considered that – just leaving and letting it go because I’ve been here for over 14 years," Drienka said. "But my passion is behind the historic district and what this would do to it." 

Drienka said she feels the public has been left out of the Grandview Station development process. 

"What I’m getting is that people are saying, 'Oh my gosh, we weren’t aware. Why we were not informed about this?' And that's really wrong," Drienka said.

Drienka said she's working to raise awareness. She made flyers, she started a petition, and she hosted a concert Sunday night to help fund her appeal against the development. She named the concert, "Oh Hell No."

"It's named after the reaction I got from people that I talked to, including business owners," Drienka said Sunday ahead of the concert. "When I showed them what was planned for this property, they said, 'Oh hell no.'"

Another longtime Olde Towne business owner near Drienka's business has a different perspective. 

"I understand the preservation aspect, but it’s to the point that the houses are dilapidated so bad that that’s the worst place in the whole Olde Town area right now," Mark Trudell said.

Trudell is also neighbors with the proposed property. He's been running Breadwinners Café for almost two decades. After 19 years, he said he's ready to see the boarded-up homes become a more cohesive part of the district. 

"I’m looking forward to someone coming in there and cleaning it up and adding to the Old Town atmosphere even more," Trudell said. 

Trudell and other local business owners said they feel the developer, Keane Palmer, has been transparent and is working with the district to maintain the look and feel of Olde Town's character. 

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