Mile High Vista Community Market Analysis

In 2011, the Urban Land Conservancy (ULC), sole member of the Avondale Commons, LLC (also known as Mile High Vista), purchased the 2.16 acre site located at 3200/3290 W. Colfax and 1400 Irving. The proposed plan for the site was as a mixed use development to be comprised of three structures: (1) Multi-family affordable housing; (2) Community Need – Library; and (3) Commercial Use (possible Non-Profit mixed w/market rate). Of the three proposed structures, the housing and library are constructed and are in use. The housing includes 80 units of affordable apartments with 19,000 square feet of commercial/non-profit space. The second structure, the Denver Public Library, is the home of the 28,000 square-foot Corky Gonzales Library.  The remaining, undeveloped parcel on the site is approximately 7,000 square-feet. This is the portion of the site that we are seeking to find the most appropriate uses through community engagement and through the results of the market study.

The Mile High Vista site is strategically located along the West Colfax corridor in the West Colfax neighborhood, in close proximity to the Villa Park and Sun Valley neighborhoods. It is located approximately two miles from downtown, accessible by car, light rail transportation, and bike, along the Lakewood Gulch Trail. It is also located less than one mile from the Sloans Lake Park.

To better understand uses that would be most frequently patronized by residents surrounding the Mile High Vista property, we reached out to 25 neighborhood and nonprofit organizations based in the Sun Valley, Villa Park, and West Colfax neighborhoods. We asked these organizations to share information about this project and solicit feedback from their clients and members. For this feedback, we offered two channels. First, we designed and distributed a link to an online survey that could be completed in less than ten minutes. Questions ranged from basic demographics to opinions about four particular uses (e.g. food, health care, day care, and business services), as well as opportunities for qualitative and open-ended feedback. To the online survey, we received 196 responses over the approximately two weeks for which it was open. Second, we held two community meetings in the Avondale Apartments lobby in the morning of Saturday, March 4th and evening of Wednesday, March 8th, 2017.

In these interactions, participants walked through four stations, first, capturing their base demographics. Second, we captured  the location of their home, primary grocery store, primary health care service provider, and early childhood care center (if applicable). Fourth, we asked for opinions of what uses should be located at the Mile High Vista site and qualitative aspects desired for each use. Finally, we asked for their general perceptions of the neighborhood in which they lived. At community meetings, we spoke with approximately twenty people, a majority of which being residents of the Avondale Apartment building. Following are details of both key takeaways and detailed results we learned from this process. Unfortunately, there were participation gaps regarding renters in the three communities, and results from Sun Valley were too low to be analyzed. If time allowed, we recommend a more targeted process to hear from those specific populations.

Key Takeaways:
1. Extraordinary support for healthy food retail at Mile High Vista
2. High levels of interest in community and meeting space, represented by the types  of food options requested—markets with small vendors paired with grocery store
3. Less demand for early childhood education than we anticipated based on high percentage of families with young children
4. Potential demand for small business office space on upper floors

With our insight from the Community Engagement phase, we selected five different uses to study more closely. In partnership with Shift Research Lab and the West Colfax Food Co-op, we gathered market feasibility data for the five uses within a one mile radius surrounding the Mile High Vista site. The following pages provide market data for: 1) Grocery/Market 2) Food Retail 3) Housing 4) Early Childhood Education and 5) Office.

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