SOS Denver Press Conference Feb 8 2021

DENVER, CO (February 8, 2021) Save Open Space Denver (“SOS Denver”), the grassroots community organization that has been working for over four years on issues related to the future of the Park Hill Golf Course land, will hold a virtual press conference on Monday morning February 8th, from 10:30​ to 11:00 a.m. The Zoom meeting will expose some of the very important concerns facing the future of the Park Hill Golf Course land and its conservation easement. The meeting will also address issues with the way in which the City is proceeding regarding the land by launching this “visioning” and planning effort. SOS Denver has presented these concerns in writing to Mayor Hancock and his administration today, with copies to Denver City Council members. A copy of this letter will be released to press via email Monday morning. The main concerns include: • Why is the City proceeding with a “visioning” and planning process for development on land that is legally protected from development by a conservation easement? • If the City has plans to lift the easement to allow development, how do they plan to do this in compliance with the Colorado conservation easement statute? • If this planning process goes forward, what, if anything, can be done to neutralize the inherent bias of a developer-driven process, orchestrated to produce a pro-development outcome for the real estate developer landowner? Tony Pigford and Woody Garnsey from SOS Denver will be on hand to present the latest on this fight to protect this critical open space and will be available to take questions.

Yes For Parks’ Launches

Open Space Group Kicks Off Petition Drive To Protect Park Hill Golf Course Land As City Announces ‘Visioning’ Plan For Development

By Cara DeGette

Editor, GPHN  Feb 2 2021

The neighborhood group, Save Open Space Denver, has launched a new petition drive for a ballot measure that would protect the Park Hill Golf Course land from potential development.

Their efforts come at the same time the city’s planning department, in conjunction with Westside Investment Partners, has unveiled a formal “visioning” process to determine how the property could be built out.

The dual efforts are the latest in an ongoing tug-of-war over the sprawling 155-acre property at the northwest corner of Park Hill, at 35th and Colorado Boulevard. In 1997, Denver taxpayers paid $2 million for a conservation easement to preserve the land as a golf course or for other recreational purposes. The golf course has been closed since 2018. Last year, Westside Investment Partners paid $24 million for the property with the easement in place – far below market values for recent comparable commercial transactions in the area.

Westside has made it clear that it plans to develop the property — what has been less clear is how it could do so with the easement in place. State law requires a judge to make a final determination before such easements can be lifted.

The ballot question, if voter-approved, would prohibit Denver from terminating the conservation easement without a vote of the people.

Continue reading

A Short History of the Park Hill Golf Course Land

As one of Denver’s first real estate barons, George W. Clayton owned vast amounts of land when he died in the 1899 without any heirs. His estate was transferred to the George W. Clayton Trust (“the Trust”), and from 1899 to 1984 the City of Denver (“the City”) was the Trustee of the Trust. One of the many parcels of real estate was the farmland that later became the Park Hill Golf Course (“PHGC”) in 1930. The Trust still owns the beautiful Clayton Early Learning Campus on the northwest corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Colorado Boulevard. In 1984, Clayton Early Learning replaced the City as Trustee of the Trust.

In 1989, the Trust and the City talked about the possibility of having the City purchase the PHGC land. These discussions resulted in the City including $2 million in a 1989 bond issue earmarked for the City to purchase the land. Nothing then happened until 1997 when, during the Wellington Webb administration and after a few years of further discussions between the Trust and the City about the Trust’s financial needs, the Trust and the City reached an agreement with the City whereby the Trust forever relinquished its development rights for the PHGC land. In this agreement, the City paid the Trust $2 million in exchange for the Trust granting a perpetual open space conservation easement to the City protecting the PHGC land foever from development. This easement was granted pursuant to the Colorado conservation easement statute.

Continue reading

Westside names outreach-focused partner in Park Hill Golf Club redevelopment effort

Business Den Thomas Gounley October 22, 2020 0

The company that purchased the Park Hill Golf Club property in the summer of 2019 has named a partner as it pursues redevelopment.

Glendale-based Westside Investment Partners, which paid $24 million for the shuttered 150-acre course along Colorado Boulevard, said Thursday that The Holleran Group has joined the redevelopment ownership team.

Denver-based Holleran will focus on community outreach and engagement.

“We’ve consistently said that we want to have the voice of the community involved here, and we think that this partnership increases our capacity for that,” Westside Principal Kenneth Ho said during a press call.

The city is preparing to lead a small-area planning process for the property, which will involve collecting community feedback, Ho said.

Holleran was formed in 2017 by Norman Harris and Ty Hubbard, two Black Denver natives, according to its website. The firm is involved in the acquisition, development and management of real estate.

Harris said development of the former course — which can’t happen without several key approvals from the city — needs to benefit the neighborhoods that surround it.

“We discovered Holleran and Westside’s values align around a socially equitable approach to development that not only assures that our neighborhood has the loudest voice in the process but that the neighborhood shares in the economic benefit,” Harris said.

He added, “Our ultimate outcome needs to be the empowerment of the northeast Denver community.”

Hubbard said neighborhood financial benefits could come in the form of “homeownership, job creation, investment opportunities and other initiatives.”

Redevelopment of the course, which closed to golfers at the end of 2018, faces hurdles.

The property currently has a conservation easement on it, which essentially restricts use to an 18-hole golf course. That could be amended by the Denver City Council, which would also need to approve a rezoning of the property.

In August, Denver City Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca asked her colleagues to place a measure on the city’s November ballot that would have allowed voters to determine whether the course could be redeveloped. But the council voted 10 to 3 to instead demote CdeBaca’s bill to committee for further discussion.

Redevelopment of the course is expected to include numerous uses. Ho has said that Westside will set aside at least 60 of the acres as a park.

FULL ARTICLE HERE