The St. Anthony’s Central Hospital campus redevelopment tapped the multiple and diverse Koelbel capabilities – from land development to vertical construction; residential to retail; adaptive reuse to affordable rental – and showcases the value of key partnerships Koelbel forges to develop unique and viable local communities.
The overall goal for this broad Redevelopment project was to transform the former hospital site into a mixed-use urban town center across from one of Denver’s largest parks and minutes away from the new Perry Street light rail station on the new West Line.
The Property is generally referred to as SLOANS Block 3. It is an assemblage of approximately 2.3 acres of land adjacent to Sloan’s Lake Park and bordered by W. 17th Ave to the north, Perry Street to the East, W. 16th Drive to the south, and Quitman Street to the west. The Property was vacant at the time of acquisition, save the existing 44k SF “Kuhlman Building” that consisted of a five-story structure totaling roughly 40k SF that also included a single story 4k SF auditorium.
The site was a historic site, where St. Anthony’s medical center was located for 119 years. Also part and parcel to the site was the 1940s Kuhlman Building, the nurse’s quarters for the Hospital. St. Anthony’s Hospital was originally constructed in 1892 by the Poor Sisters of St. Francis. At the time the location was considered remote and at the extreme west end of town. The hospital underwent regular additions and renovations and by the mid-1990’s was over 1 million square feet; however, advances in medical technology made the hospital obsolete in many ways and by the early 2000’s St. Anthony’s was looking to relocate.
When the wrecking balls stopped swinging three structures were left standing to preserve some of the historical architecture and functionality of the site. The 900-space parking structure remained and will provide parking to several uses onsite. In addition the small chapel on the west side of the project was spared to act as a visual terminus adjacent to a park on the west end of 16th Street. Finally, the 6-story Kuhlman Building was preserved with the expectation that it would be adaptively reused. Redevelopment of the 7 city blocks that make up the Sloans development officially began in June 2014. As part of the General Development
In 2013, the hospital campus was sold to Enviro-Finance Group to be demolished and redeveloped while St. Anthony’s relocated to Lakewood.
As stated above, this urban infill location inside the Sloans Lake Master Redevelopment follows the completion of recently completed market rate apartments and new retail that is revitalizing the old St. Anthony’s site and the West Colfax neighborhood in general. In addition, the adjacent Sloan’s Lake Park along with a major grocery anchored (King Soopers and Target) shopping center located less than a mile to the west makes this a very desirable location to live.
EnviroFinance Group made every effort to involve the Sloans Lake community during the concept development for the project. As a result, the Community became engaged and ended up very supportive of the project: “It’s been great to see the community directly engaged by the city and the developer, on what the future holds for the site, said area Denver City Councilwoman Susan Shepherd. I think folks are excited to see things moving ahead.”
Our partner in the project was Trailbreak Partners who is an alternative investment and advisory firm with a focus on value-add commercial properties and development of urban mixed use real estate in Colorado. The firm’s Principals have unique expertise in successfully managing the complexities of urban development including entitlements, environmental issues, infrastructure, finance and public-private partnerships. www.trailbreakpartners.com/
Doug Elanowitz of Trailbreak Partners (“TBP”) previously negotiated and executed a Letter of Intent with EnviroFinance Group for the acquisition of Sloan’s’ Lake Block 3. TBP then approached Koelbel and Company regarding a joint partnership (“The Partnership”) to develop the Property.
The partnership structure contained three separate components:
On Wednesday, December 18, 2014, the City of Denver Planning Board approved the general development plan (GDP) for the redevelopment of the former St. Anthony’s Hospital site on the south shore of Sloan’s Lake in the West Colfax neighborhood.
The proposed redevelopment of the site consisted of the following three components:
1. Low Income Housing – The existing 5-story Kuhlman Building was to be renovated into an approximately 53-unit LIHTC property. The goal for the reuse of Kuhlman Building was to adaptively reuse the building in a manner that anchors the NE corner of the Sloans Redevelopment and engages Sloan’s Lake Park. Two key elements were the reuse of the auditorium and its engagement with the required plaza space at the corner of West 17th and Perry (see below).
Koelbel was uniquely prepared to assist in this component as Koelbel has delivered more affordable rental units in the State of Colorado than any other Colorado Developer over the past 10 years.
In addition to partnering with Trailbreak Partners, The Denver Office of EconoDevelopment (OED) provided $318,500 in gap financing to help make the project viable. City financing was allocated from the general fund in 2016, supporting soft costs associated with renovation. Other public finance partners include the Denver Urban Renewal Authority and the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.
Further goals were to ensure the Kuhlman Building retained its original character. The exterior was updated and brought up to today’s construction quality standards by installing new windows, repairing and cleaning the all brick façade, and adding a new roof.
The building was also constructed to comply with Enterprise Green Communities criteria while numerous green materials and features were incorporated in the project and the units. The location inside the Sloans Lake Master Redevelopment and near both the Perry Station light rail stop and the Colfax Avenue transit corridor speaks to the sustainability of the project, and will limit the resident’s use of the automobile for much of their transportation needs.
As construction manager/general contractor, Pinkard Construction conducted a complete gut and complex renovation of the 78-year old Kuhlman Building, a former nunnery and nurses’ residence.
The development assumed the new brand identity of Sienna at Sloans Lake. The newly completed development contains 49 affordable units ranging from studios to 2-bedroom units. All units are exclusively for households earning up to 60 percent of the area median income (up to $37,800 for a single-person household, or up to $48,600 for a family of three). Sienna Sloans also features 5,000 square feet of retail, and is conveniently located close to public transit.
Sienna Sloans Lake offers onsite leasing/staff, a rooftop deck with mountain and skyline views, in-unit washers and dryers, and a fitness room.
The Kuhlman Building transformation to Sienna Sloans Lake has been widely recognized as a great example of a successful and well-done reuse project.
“Sienna Sloans Lake is helping the City to respond to our unprecedented growth,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. “We are proud to accept the legacy of those nuns and nurses whose spirits fill this great facility. Today we are preserving this neighborhood’s history, character, and sense of community.”
“Sienna Sloans Lake thoughtfully transforms a hole in the fabric of the city into an area of vibrancy and inclusiveness that the community can be proud of,” said Trailbreak Partners’ Doug Elenowitz.
2. Market Rate Townhomes – The vacant land on the western side of the site was to be developed into 24 market rate townhomes.
Ultimately, the final redevelopment plan varied only slightly from the original plan with the biggest departure being that 27 townhomes are being constructed on the site versus the originally intended 24.
The townhomes were designed by Neo Studio Architects. The materials and exterior colors paid homage to the Kuhlman building and surrounding historic Sloans Lake bungalows. The townhome floorplans were designed to appeal to those seeking an easy low maintenance lock and go lifestyle. The Buyer Persona spanned young to retirement age but all shared the desire for an opportunity to walk to both trails/recreation as well as to food and beverage establishments.
Four floorplans were offered, from 1335 to 2070 square feet in size, 2 – 4 bedrooms, single car, 2 car tandem and 2 car side by side garages. All offered generous size rooftop decks, open flow living area plans.
3. Retail – The existing 4k SF Kuhlman Auditorium was to be redeveloped into proposed restaurant space. In addition, the vacant corner of 17th Ave and Perry Street would also be developed into a 5k SF restaurant.
Rather than a ‘Build to Suit’ approach, instead a ‘Build It and They Will Come’ tact was the call. A restaurant shell was constructed on the northeast corner of the site – leaving the interior to be customized by the tenant. The design intent was to invite in the Park – – glass garage doors were installed on all sides to be opened when weather allows.
The rare setting across from Sloans Lake Park attracted top retail partners:
The Patio at Sloan’s – Coffee shop/Bar combo
An open concept restaurant that will do dual duty as a walk-up coffee window for people that are walking around the lake in the mornings with just small pastries from 7-11 a.m.; then a full-menu bar/restaurant from 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
During the summertime — Saturdays and Sundays — The Patio will host nonprofit events – opening up the parking lot for food trucks, farmers market and live music on the weekends.
Odell Brewery – 2nd Pilot Brewery Location in Denver
Following the success of their first Denver brewhouse in the RiNo Art District, Odell Brewing began planning for a second Denver location. The new facility is part of the historic Kuhlman Building where Odell Sloan’s Lake Brewhouse will occupy the north end of the building. The Brewhouse will feature a 10-barrel pilot brewhouse and scratch pizza kitchen. With the help of RB+B Architects and Built Construction, who designed and built Odell’s RiNo Brewhouse, construction began 2019 with a grand opening planned for late summer 2020. The new space will include two bars with 16 Odell tap handles and a rooftop patio overlooking Sloan’s Lake and the Rocky Mountains. The brewhouse will feature a 10-barrel R&D system which will be used to brew experimental beers available exclusively at Sloan’s Lake.
“Creating a space that brings the community together is one of our core principles, and when we saw the potential at Sloan’s Lake, we knew it was a perfect fit,” explains Wynne Odell.
“The addition of the Odell Sloan’s Lake Brew House to this project proves the perfect complement to the overall vision of the Kuhlman Building redevelopment” said Koelbel and Company Vice President, Carl Koelbel. “Adaptively re-using the Kuhlman building with a beloved, community focused local business ensure that the legacy of the neighborhood is preserved even as re-development occurs.”
In addition to the onsite restaurant offerings, Sloans Block 3 is highly walkable to a multitude of things to do, places to gather and enjoy food and spirits:
Balancing the multiple vertical projects occurring simultaneously on the site and surrounding sites was the biggest challenge. Orchestrating the numerous trades to provide access when needed while minimizing commensurate work-stop timeframes – was a hairy job for our Land Development and Construction teams.
Governance Structure – Metro District
Because Sloans Block 3 is a part of the larger St. Anthony’s redevelopment plan, there are many entities involved and many layers to the development needs. A Metro District was created to fund those vast infrastructure needs. The South Sloans Lake Metropolitan District No. 2 and the Sloans Block 3 Community Associations are the governing entities for the site.
South Sloans Lake Metropolitan District No. 1 – 2 – General Responsibilities
The South Sloans Lake Metropolitan District No. 1-2 is the entity that is responsible for the areas listed below, among other similar functions.
Sloans Block 3 Owners Association
The Sloans Block 3 Owners Association is the entity responsible for the Common Areas within Sloans Block 3. There is no association that specifically governs the Rowhomes as there is only a Party Wall relationship between adjacent units. All governance within this Association relates to items outside and not attached to the building.Within the Association, there is a Townhome Committee. The directors appointed by the Owners of the Townhome Units, shall constitute the “Townhome Committee” and shall act on behalf of the Owners of Townhome Units within the Project on matters that concern solely the Townhome Units. The Townhome Committee which comprises of two persons may adopt, in consultation with the Townhome Unit Owners, procedures for noticing and conducting its meetings, and for making decisions within its scope of jurisdiction. These two Committee Members will also be Directors on the Sloans Block 3 Owners Association.
General Areas of Responsibility
While the townhome sales were sluggish to start, the pace quickened once the construction on all fronts tapered.
Prices started at just under $575,000 for our smallest 1531 sq ft plan ($373 PPSF), and are finishing at $725,000 for the same plan in our best north side location ($473 PPSF). As of early 2020, the townhomes were more than half sold out.