The University of Colorado Board of Regents this morning approved the sale of CU’s former Health Sciences Center at Ninth Avenue and Colorado Boulevard in Denver to Continuum Partners, a Denver-based developer, for $30 million.
Continuum’s proposal for the 25.918-acre campus encompasses a broad range of residential, office and retail spaces with an emphasis on small and local businesses. Continuum’s plans envision a vibrant, walkable mixed-use neighborhood that creates a memorable place, including a true “town center” with amenities including parks, plazas, and underground parking.
The closing on the sale of the property is scheduled to occur by December 2014. Continuum anticipates beginning work on the project immediately following closing and estimates that the overall project will take approximately five years to complete.
CU moved its health sciences education programs to the Ninth and Colorado location in 1924. The university has been marketing that property since 2006 as it relocated the health sciences campus to the former Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora, now the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
“This property has had a wonderful past and now is headed toward a wonderful future,” said Lilly Marks, vice president for health affairs for the University of Colorado and executive vice chancellor of the Anschutz campus. “It served Denver and Colorado well as a health sciences center. Now it can start anew as a vibrant part of Denver.”
CU sold 6.74 acres of the old campus to Lionstone Group in June 2013. The buildings on that lot are being demolished to make way for residential development.
The announcement today follows months of collaboration between the university, Denver officials and City Council members to find the best use for the prime acreage on Denver’s east side.
A review committee of representatives from CU, the city and county of Denver and the Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA) was formed to recommend a developer to the Board of Regents that could close on the sale and embrace the needs of the university, the surrounding neighborhoods and the city of Denver. Continuum has redeveloped several complex mixed-use sites including Denver Union Station and Belmar in Lakewood.
The regents’ vote today was 9-0. The final sale is contingent upon city approval of tax-increment financing.
Denver City Council President Mary Beth Susman, whose council district incorporates part of the Ninth and Colorado site, said, “It is exciting to see this project moving forward again, and we look forward to working with the developer in sharing the plan with the community and hearing their feedback.” Councilwomen Jeanne Robb, whose district also includes the site, added, “We are pleased with our preliminary understanding of the Continuum plan because it addresses many of the aspirations of the neighbors and city plans.”
Said Continuum CEO and Founder Mark Falcone, “From the start, we wanted a project that the neighbors, the city and Continuum would be proud of. Our company is dedicated to creating sustainable urban spaces that have character and enduring value, and we feel that this project embodies those ideals.”
Mayor Michael Hancock said, “The city is grateful for the public input that has been garnered around this development. We look forward to further collaboration to ensure this is a project we can all be proud of and will serve the neighborhoods well, now and into the future.”