RedPeak releases Highland building renderings, woman tells her side of council member spat

RedPeak cropped.jpg
Big photos below.
Neighbors around Highland Square will finally be able to see images of the proposed structures that are making them so mad. Today, RedPeak Properties released renderings for a pair of five-story apartment buildings it hopes to build in the area just north of 32nd Avenue and Lowell Boulevard. A rendering for a building proposed for Moncrieff Place has not yet been made public.

Many neighbors, headed by the No High Rises in West Highland group, oppose the development because they believe five-story buildings would have a detrimental effect on the character of the neighborhood. Likewise, they feel the zoning that allows five-story buildings was flawed.

RedPeak has been meeting with a design advisory committee, comprised of representatives from RedPeak, the West Highland Neighborhood Association, No High Rises, Denver City Councilwoman Susan Shepherd's office and local business owners to help alleviate some of the neighbors' concerns.

"RedPeak Properties never intended to create controversy or a confrontation with the neighborhood when it began the redevelopment of this site," said RedPeak CEO Mike Zoellner in a press release. "Before entering into a contract to purchase the property, we evaluated the history of the project and the current entitlements. We had no indication that our vision would not be welcomed and supported by local residents and business owners. Our design intent has never assumed the construction of a high rise building by any industry standard."

RedPeak Lowell.jpg
RedPeak
The proposed building on Lowell Boulevard.
Shepherd sent a letter to Zoellner over two weeks ago saying the development troubled her and asked that he consider buildings no higher than three stories. She says the renderings indicate RedPeak has worked hard to articulate the facade of the building so it does not appear so massive and solid. And although the buildings are still planned as five-stories, Shepherd believes RedPeak has addressed some of her concerns stated in the letter.

"They have reduced the height on the Meade parcel by another five feet," she says, referring to a plot just north of 32nd and west of Lowell. "They are definitely evaluating and seriously considering lowering the height on the Moncrieff parcel to four stories, which would cap it at 45 feet, which is the maximum height allowable under MS-3 (a main street designation with a maximum of three stories)."

Laura Goode, founder of the No High Rises group, is less impressed with the renderings.

"Despite the clear, widespread message our community has sent, RedPeak Properties regrettably has insisted on proceeding with a project that, as Councilwoman Susan Shepherd has stated, is inappropriate for its location and is based on a flawed zoning change," she said in a statement. "There is overwhelming evidence that the zoning RedPeak wants to exploit is an anomaly -- the parcels on which it wants to build are the only places in the entire City of Denver where an MS-5 designation (a main street designation with a maximum of five stories) has been given to interior local residential streets in a designated area of stability. We remain committed to halting this opportunistic attempt by RedPeak and its out-of-state financiers to ignore the wishes of thousands of local property owners, while destroying the character and charm of our neighborhood, and will continue working to support respectful, appropriate development in our neighborhood."

RedPeak Meade.jpg
RedPeak
A rendering of the Meade Street building.
In a press release, RedPeak noted the buildings will be ten feet below what the zoning allows. It also claims to have addressed twenty of 23 concerns that came from the design advisory board meetings.

"If you look at the facade of the building it's truly lipstick on a pig," Goode says. "The facade doesn't fit at all into the Victorian, eclectic landscape of the surrounding neighborhood.

"We haven't moved from ground zero," she continues. "The whole thing is a farce and it is a PR attempt by RedPeak to make themselves look good and it's not going to work."

Shepherd remains hazy on what her next step will be. When asked whether she will be pursuing a moratorium, which would halt all work on the project, or a re-zoning, which could limit the height of the buildings to two or three stories, she said only that "nothing is off the table yet."

"I'm continuing to try to nail down exactly how this is going to affect our neighborhood in terms of the traffic and parking in particular, and how we can best plan to mitigate those impacts," says Shepherd.

Shepherd's relative inaction has angered some of her constituents, two of whom showed up at her house last Monday night to discuss the project. The discussion quickly devolved into a shouting match.

Shepherd recently shared her account of the argument in this space. She said the two women berated her, then threatened to institute a recall petition, at which point Shepherd says she lost control. At that point, she and her husband shouted at the women to leave until they did.

One of the women who visited Shepherd, Ellen M., who asks that her full last name not be used, tells a different story. Her tale matches Shepherd's until Ellen M. and her neighbor spoke of a recall.

"It was mentioned that since many neighbors are concerned about the lack of communication and results from her office, that she may want to be aware that a recall petition is in the works as people are deeply frustrated," she wrote in an e-mail. "At the moment those words came out, she leapt off the couch toward us. She was pointing her finger inches from my face and yelling, 'How dare you threaten me with a recall!' My neighbor got up. As my neighbor got up to leave and I followed, Susan grabbed my arms and repeated yelling again, 'How dare you threaten me with a recall,' still inches from my face. I broke free and went out the door."

According to Ellen M., Shepherd continued to yell at them as they made their way to the door.

"Susan still was in a rage and came after us reaching with her arms," she maintains. "Her husband quickly threw his weight on her, pinning her in the doorway and held her back with his hand over her mouth as she was spitting out profanities. He slammed the door and came out onto the porch. We were at the bottom of the steps and he was angrily telling us that they already knew about the recall petition and we didn't need to bring it up."

More from our Follow That Story archive: "Susan Shepherd and neighborhood association make moves in Highland development battle."

My Voice Nation Help
15 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
Nacho Business
Nacho Business

That Susan Shepherd has tried to use the incident to wash her hands of the protest, or ease her stance on RedPeak, is such a ridiculously weak position on her part and to me, just looks like she is using it as an excuse to get out of dealing with something that is difficult. If she doesn't respond to her many constituents in the area, she shouldn't be in office "representing" them.

Summer
Summer

Why isn't the back side of their building on Lowell included in this rendering? That 5-story building will sit right behind the homes and building pictured here on Meade St. That would be a more fair representation of the size and scope of this project. That poor homeowner in the white house will be surrounded by a wall twice her houses size on 2 sides! Thats going to make for some cold sunless winter's followed by a massive increase in heating bills. Sad.

Drandy
Drandy

There are always two sides to a coin and to hear just one side always leaves one in doubt.  Ms. Shepherd certainly went on the offensive to create a good defense, but it rings hollow in that she obviously was at fault here too.  Granted, if I was a city official such as Ms. Shepherd and two women showed up to talk about an issue that I could weigh in on, I'd welcome them in.  Now being a man, I feel a sense of protection when it comes to women.  If two guys showed up, it might be a different story, depending on what I picked up from my radar.  It raises suspicion that they immediately started yelling, which I highly doubt.  Sounds like they truly had an important issue to discuss and if a high and mighty developer tried coming into my area to set up shop next door to my family, I'd let my comments be known to any public official within earshot.  In fact, I might even visit them at their home if I wasn't getting anywhere through their office.  

I sense the frustration this neighborhood feels in that in my area of Cherry Creek, we have all manner of eclectic housing, including apt bldgs. that tower over my neighbors casting year long shadows promoting ice-buildup and hazardous conditions.  At least it keeps the maintenance men employed.  If I lived in NW Denver, I'd have my ire raised if such a development was considered.  This area of Denver (NW) is as charming as they come and unfortunately, we have only a few pockets of community left in this city:  Park Hill, Pearl St., Gaylord St., and Main street in Littleton.  

Thanks to the passionate people of NW Denver who have stood up to this developer and  city officials who appear to be aligned w/such development. Denver is experiencing severe revenue shortage and their open-door policy to developers is widely known.  Neighborhoods such as this one are given short shrift as such out of place developments bulldoze through their communities.

 Have been following this in the news and was just forwarded a link from my business colleague re: a letter from a neighbor of Ms. Shepherd's.  Some of the info is more than I want to know about Ms. Shepherd and her family, however, it comes w/the territory of knowing your neighbors, which I do, having been a long-time resident of CC.  As indicated in the link below, next time Ms. Shepherd, you may want to contain your yelling to indoors and not in the open doorway of your home.  What did you expect?  That no one would hear you outside?  While no one has a perfect life, if you're going to foist your drama-driven episode into the public eye, then be prepared for reaping what you sow.http://insiderealestatenews.co...

Summer
Summer

Wait, I'm confused. Are they building office buildings on these streets?? I thought they were suppose to be apt buildings that fit in with the historic nature of the surrounding neighborhood; and would posses some character and charm?? Nothing charming about those concrete blocks.

Pete Brey
Pete Brey

Wow, Meade Street looks wider than I-25! Wonder how that magic will happen?

Bill Menezes
Bill Menezes

Notice anything funny about the church? Red Peak magically has made the hill on which it actually sits disappear! Wonder how they plan to do that inTHIS world?

Jax Mayer
Jax Mayer

What's appalling are the two women who refuse to reveal themselves; absolutely not credible. I'm surprised a news organization would give credence to an individual who claims to be one of the two without a proper ID. Who knows, it could be a stand-in - Bill Menezes in drag would be a good candidate!

Rigaq182
Rigaq182

wow!  They're going to really widen Meade Street!

Monaco7838
Monaco7838

I also love how they place a Hummer in the foreground that is larger than the building (through perspective) to give the illusion that this building is not that big.

Guest
Guest

So true -- You'd have to knock down the houses between Meade and Newton and stand on Newton Street to get a full view of the building and adjacent house like it shows in that rendering.

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

Interesting -- this surely does not seem to be the "appalling incident" which Councilor Nevitt made it out to be for the Denver Post.  The DP's yellow journalists have already relegated Shepherd's visitors to the same status as those of us who protested Hancock being allowed to officiate at a ceremony honoring the 136 homeless people who died in Denver in 2011.  Have they (pro forma) asked that rag for equal time?

Mordechai Kadovitz
Mordechai Kadovitz

What are you talking about?  What's appalling?  Are you saying the renderings are not as appalling as the proponents against the project have been advocating?   

Robert Chase
Robert Chase

I don't know how to be much clearer -- I quoted Councilor Nevitt on the same subject as the second clause of the headline of this post:  "...woman tells her side of council member spat" -- did you not see the article in the Post?  See:  Denver City Council president asks public to be civil, citing "appalling incident" (http://www.denverpost.com/poli....

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...