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DENVER-Seven developers, six of them serious contenders, recently responded to a request for proposal to act as the “vertical” developer of half of the west side of the former Gates Co. property near Interstate 25 and Broadway. The completed value of the 24-acre high-density, mixed-use, transit-oriented development is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $750 million.

The land is being cleaned by Cherokee Denver. Cherokee’s entire site covers 50 acres, but Ferd Belz, president of Cherokee Denver, says that the western half of its site, for which the company is seeking a developer, has less environmental obstacles than the east side of the property.

“We got seven responses, and I would say six are solid,” Belz tells GlobeSt.com. “I think one, a la Trump was non-responsive. It was just a letter saying it sounded like a good deal and we should call him.” Belz is alluding to the much-publicized, six-paragraph response Trump sent to the city of Denver for his interest in developing Union Station.

Belz is declining to name the developers, but he says the six serious respondents have what it takes to do a mixture of commercial, retail and housing. The housing, at least 1,000 units, will likely be a mix of rental and for-sale, and have high density. Belz says he doesn’t want to sell it to a retail developer that would create a sea of parking for a lifestyle center, nor would he want a purely residential developer.

“It’s not like we’re selling a piece of rural dirt,” Belz tells GlobeSt.com. “This is a complex, urban infill, public-private partnership deal. We’re looking for a group that has all of the capability in-house or can go out and team up with others to make it happen. I would say the six all have that capability. They’re all large groups and most of them have operations here. I would say they probably all are the perfect blend of what is needed.”

The land is bordered by Mississippi Street, Interstate 25, the rail tracks and Santa Fe Drive. Buildings along Broadway can probably be no taller than 60 or 70 feet because the land is in the Washington Park-view corridor, he notes. However, because the land slopes to the west, near Santa Fe Drive, buildings “can be over 100 feet. Some places they can be as tall as 140 feet.” Belz says he expects to pick a developer in mid-October. The earliest construction on the new buildings would be the summer of 2006, he notes. There are a number of tenants in existing buildings on the site, which eventually will be razed.

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