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DENVER–Doug Jones, Charlie Biederman and Steve Roitman this fall expect to begin construction of an eight-story, 112-condominium unit building in the Uptown neighborhood. Grant Park, at the southwest corner of Grant Street and East 20th Avenue will be built on land, now a parking lot, owned by a wealthy East Coast family for the past 30 years. The family is contributing the land to the development. Jones and Biederman are long-time developers, while Roitman is a long-time oilman. The three last year developed the first and only J.W. Marriott Hotel in the state. The hotel is in the Clayton Land development in Cherry Creek North.

The market rate units will be priced from about $180,000 to $300,000, and range in size from about 850 sf to 1,100 sf. The city, under its inclusionary zoning ordinance, require that at least 10% of the units be “affordable,” and those will be priced from about $150,000. However, the affordable units, available to those who meet income requirements, have deed restrictions that limit appreciation.

City Council President Elbra Wedgeworth, whose district includes Uptown, says Grant Park has the right mix of affordable, market rate and ground floor retail. It will complement other developments in the neighborhood, including the redevelopment of East Village and Arrowhead by the Denver Housing Authority, and the ultimate redevelopment of the Children’s Hospital site.

Jones, principal of the Jones Realty Group, has managed the property for years. He says the units will be perfect for young professionals, such as architects and bankers, working downtown, but who are priced out of the LoDo-area market.

Biederman, who in addition to developing hotels for the past 20 years, also has developed more than 400 units in Colorado ski resorts and several hundreds condos and townhomes in Denver and surrounding suburbs, tells GlobeSt.com that his buying power through his hotel ventures allowed the group to buy upgraded appliances, granite counters, and fixtures at hugely reduced prices, which he is passing on to buyers, and still be able to make a profit.

He says that the units will be priced from $280 to $285 per sf. “That’s below market,” Biederman tells GlobeSt.com, adding that most comparable units in the area exceed $300 per sf.

“And even that is misleading, because the price includes a washer and dryer, solid core doors, granite countertops in the kitchen, wood floors, and a parking space,” Biederman tells GlobeSt.com. “The development includes an indoor swimming pool on the second floor and a fitness center.

Biederman, an architect by training, also said he is delighted with the design by Denver-based Buchanan Yonushewski Group. The exterior is as nice as any new loft or condo project downtown, where units are much more expensive, he said. BYG also is constructing Grant Park.

Architect Brad Buchanan, principal of BYG, says he typically tries to make a new building fit into the area, but in this case, any historic buildings on the site had been razed decades ago.

“So it gave me sort of a blank slate, which in some way gave us the freedom to create our own aesthetics and create our own architectural vocabulary,” Buchanan tells GlobeSt.com He says he tried to “create a pedestrian experience” and a design that would have fit in if the old buildings hadn’t been torn down.

Indeed, that area of Uptown has been somewhat of a foreboding no man’s land because of the large number of surface parking lots. “Back in the late ’70s, they were tearing down all these buildings, to make way for the next 50-story skyscraper,” Buchanan says. “They cleared the buildings and replaced them with all these parking lots to generate some revenue until someone would pay them $700 per sf for their land.”

Instead, the energy market collapsed and many of the owners lost their property in foreclosures. As the economy slowly improves and downtown living gains in popularity, the area is poised to take off with new developments, Buchanan says, especially because the area is only blocks from downtown Denver.

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