DENVER-The Uptown neighborhood, just east of Denver’s CBD, is undergoing a renaissance, a new survey shows. The section had been considered little more than a blighted, under-utilized area during the 1980s and most of the 1990s.

Ed Natan of Natan & Associates, a real estate consulting firm in Uptown, has tracked more than 50 projects with a completed value that tops $300 million. “It absolutely is the largest building boom Uptown has ever experienced,” Natan tells

Most of the projects are condominiums, lofts and townhomes and rental units, he says. There are about 500 units for sale and 500 rental properties, either recently completed, under construction, or about to start, he says.

The most expensive project on the drawing board is the 14-story Portofino Tower, where units will cost as much as $500 per sf, a dollar figure that would have been unimaginable even two years ago. And the Bloomingdale family of New York City has owned a half block in Uptown for almost 20 years. The family’s Denver representative, Doug Jones of Jones Realty Co., believes the site is a prime development location for a $60-million condominium project.

“Current redevelopment can be characterized as being higher density and higher priced,” Natan tels “However, there are a number of more affordable projects under way where units sell for under $200 per sf. Eighteenth Avenue (in Uptown) has been surprisingly active with redevelopment projects after being blighted for so many years.”

Uptown’s continuing boom has been driven by a number of factors, Natan says. Land and buildings are competitively priced in comparison to LoDo and the CBD. And, it’s within walking distance of Downtown’s 16th Street Mall, the 17th Street business district, Civic Center Park and City Park on the far east end of the neighborhood.

“It has a village-like, mixed-use zoning, which allows office, retail, and residential side by side,” Natan says. “When people can live, work, shop and play in the same neighborhood a self-generating vitality is created.” The neighborhood, laced with tree-lined pedestrian-friendly streets, abounds with eclectic and historic buildings, ranging from single-family homes to mansions, apartment buildings, high-rise offices, churches, community centers and concert halls. A number of new storefronts have been added along 17th, 18th, 20th and Colfax avenues.

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