DPS sells Contemporary Learning Academy for $12 million

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For over a decade, I've enjoyed sharing my neighborhood on the edge of LoHi with the students of the Contemporary Learning Academy, a DPS high school for kids whose needs and/or schedules just don't fit with the system's more traditional high schools. When DPS first bought the building overlooking I-25, this wasn't a hot area, and not only was the property a real deal for DPS, it also had a central location that worked well for students coming from all over town.

I've chatted with them as they walked up my block to school each morning, and had some invigorating sessions speaking to CLA classes.

But the building itself was never a great fit for a school. The former headquarters of the Farm Bureau (and USA Today after that), it was renovated into a maze of classrooms and other meeting areas; these students deserve better. And now they'll get it as part of a very complicated deal -- originally called "Project Lincoln" and now known as "Operation Unite" -- that involves moving DPS headquarters, the new Downtown Denver Expeditionary School and much of Emily Griffith into a fifty-year-old building currently being renovated at 1860 Lincoln Street. DPS bought that building in the fall of 2012; it put the CLA property on the market last summer.

And the sale of that property to Richman Ascension Development just closed on January 16 -- for a hefty $12,030,000. Cash.

That should buy a lot of books for DPS. And it will also result in a lot of new residential units in LoHi.

"It's about the quickest I've ever closed on a piece of land," says J. Scott Rodgers, the Dallas-based Richman developer who handled the deal. "We stepped up more than I've seen my company step up in a while."

But once Rodgers, a former architect, took a look at the property, he knew Richman had to have it. "We have projects all over, and this is our first foray into Denver," he says. "I couldn't be more pleased about developing something in that neighborhood. I think it's one of the coolest places."

Continue for more on future plans for the CLA property.



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