DENVER — A serene-looking green space at East 35th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard in Denver makes up the 200-acre Park Hill Golf Course. The open space is sparking intense debate in Denver.
A developer snatched up Park Hill Golf Course in 2019.
Under current rules, it is limited to operating as an 18-hole golf course. But now, the city is asking neighbors if they want to keep it as a golf course or change things up. The City of Denver worked with a market research firm to survey neighbors.
On Tuesday, they released the results of that survey. Four out of five respondents said they want mixed use, including 85% who were in favor of a grocery store, 73% for a park and 67% for affordable housing.
Neighbors shared their thoughts, but some argue their thoughts were influenced by the survey.
“There are obviously many, many legitimate polls and surveys out there and for those, usually, you don’t see loaded questions,” said Ali Besharat, a University of Denver marketing and consumer insight expert.
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.”
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.