What Is the Gateway Project and Why Should You Know About It

THE GATEWAY PROJECT is comprised of two separate but coordinated proposed development projects along Colorado Boulevard, one at the First Avenue intersection and one at Bayaud Street intersection in Cherry Creek East. Both intersections are currently neglected areas (some would say “eyesores”) which should be enhanced to provide more appropriate “Gateways” into the Cherry Creek area. The unusual east Harrison Street block between Harrison Street and Colorado Boulevard has long presented redevelopment challenges due to the lack of an alley access and a large City setback requirement along Harrison and a ‘parkway’ setback along Colorado Blvd.

WHY NOW? For over a decade this land has needed development. Few developers have been willing to invest the time and money to negotiate a functional yet beautiful project here. Traffic, vehicular and pedestrian concerns, plus landscaping and a “Gateway” entrance concepts complicate any plan. The Cherry Creek Area Plan of 2012 contemplated redevelopment and it appears that, with neighborhood approval and proper zoning, it may at last be a possibility. The McKinnon Group which now owns the land has a proposal and has met extensively with the Cherry Creek East residents who are the most affected. He will be meeting with us on November 26th to discuss the First Avenue portion of this project.

WHAT DO WE AS RESIDENTS NEED TO KNOW AND DECIDE? The outline of the project on the north side of Colorado and 1st Avenue will ideally both protect the residential character of Cherry Creek North and improve the “Gateway” approach to the overall community by creating an inviting and safe entrance into the Cherry Creek area. Doug McKinnon’s proposal will keep the north parcel residential and provide for a more attractive gateway to the neighborhood. Doug McKinnon proposes to work with the City of Denver and CDOT (the Colorado Department of Transportation) to reconfigure the intersection in order to provide a true “Gateway” area for the neighborhoods. By reconfiguring the drive lanes to provide for pedestrian appropriate walk areas with tree lawns and Gateway location opportunities, this development provides the implementation of the vision of the Cherry Creek Area Plan. The CCNNA zoning committee has been working with Mr. McKinnon and Cherry Creek East to reach development agreements and covenant protections, which will attach to the land and be conditions to any rezoning.

McKinnon Harrison Street Rezoning Proposal

A local developer, McKinnon and Associates, has asked the City to to rezone three sites that lie between Harrison St. and Colorado Blvd.

  • One site is on the southeast corner of Harrison and 1st Ave (78 Harrison St.) and is currently a vacant lot.
  • The other two sites are the northeast corner of Harrison and Bayaud (80 S Harrison, two vacant buildings) and the southeast corner of Harrison and Bayaud (104 S Harrison, an older apartment building).  

The developer has asked to rezone all three sites to G-RO-5 (5 story, office or residential but no retail/ restaurant, 65 ft. max height).

The additional link here will take you to the 2012 Cherry Creek Area Plan  and the just approved Denver Comprehensive Plan 2040. Both plans show current and planned zoning for CCN. 

McKinnon asked us to emphasize that building and landscape images in his presentation are not to be considered architectural presentations of the potential rezoning concepts, just simply "massing images." In plain English, this means that they give a sense of the sizing and potential shape of buildings but they are not final representations.   

The developer has indicated that he is willing to negotiate a developer's agreements with CCEA and CCNNA. This legal agreement would bind him and any future owners of the sites and could cover architecture, materials, landscaping and uses. An agreement like this between McKinnon and Hilltop is already in place for the rezoning of the Church which is on the east side of Colorado between Bayaud and Ellsworth. 

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