Developer proposes apartments instead of retail

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As many as 900 apartments and 40,000 square feet of commercial space could be built on a highly visible, undeveloped property near E-470 and South Parker Road.

The owner of 46 acres of land on the northeast corner of South Parker Road and Cottonwood Drive, just north of Costco, earned a recommendation for approval from the Parker Planning Commission Sept. 26 on an amendment to overhaul the original plan for Vantage Point.

Edward K. Fitzpatrick, the landowner and executive vice president of the Shopoff Group, is asking the town to reduce the amount of previously approved commercial space from approximately 280,000 square feet and 306 residential units to roughly 40,000 square feet of commercial uses and 900 apartment units.

The planning commission recommended 5-0 that Parker Town Council approve the amendment. Council will consider the proposal during a meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 at town hall.

StackLot Development Services and the Stanton Group, who are representing the project on behalf of the Shopoff Group, said the “weak market for commercial at the moment” puts an emphasis on the need for residential development to create a population to support the planned commercial uses within Crown Point, an area that includes Parker Adventist Hospital. According to the proposal, “it would be unwise to attempt to duplicate the overwhelming amount of commercial area within Crown Point.”

“Land use is all a balance,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’ve seen it before in other locations: there’s too much retail land available and it’s not supported by enough rooftops nearby.”

The Shopoff Group is a real estate venture capital and investment firm. The company’s mission, as stated on its website’s home page, is “creating wealth through real estate investing.”

Multifamily housing would occupy 26 acres, at 22.5 units per acre, while the commercial components would be reduced to 6.5 acres. Roughly 12 acres of park space is required, but with town council’s approval, the developer could dedicate park land elsewhere in Parker or pay an “in lieu fee per acre.”

Although the E-470 Character Area allows for a higher intensity of uses, and is likely where Parker’s skyline will take shape, the proposed project is adjacent to the Valley Hi subdivision, with homes on one-acre lots. The Town of Parker’s senior planner on the project, Patrick Mulready, said there initially was no response from the neighbors when they were asked in March to comment on the proposal.

“History tells me this will be a controversial request. I was not satisfied by the fact we didn’t get a response from this, so I instructed the applicants to have a neighborhood meeting with them,” Mulready said.

Valley Hi residents are concerned with traffic, noise and building heights, which would be capped at 45 feet. At least three homes on Valley Hi Drive are up for sale.

Bryce Matthews, comprehensive planning manager for the town, said in a referral document that single-family detached residences are not recommended in the E-470 Character Area, but the applicant can use single-family homes as a transition between the proposed multifamily uses and the large lot residential to the north.

Fitzpatrick, who is based in Irvine, Calif. and normally specializes in single-family housing developments, said he has had interest from hotel and apartment developers, and is considering medical offices because of the proximity of Parker Adventist Hospital. A fast food chain not currently in Parker has also expressed interest.

The applicant conducted a traffic study in July and said apartments would generate less traffic volume than a commercial development. However, the Colorado Department of Transportation and planning commission are not quite convinced.

Cottonwood residents, who are separated from Vantage Point by South Parker Road, as well as the old King Soopers store, were not consulted for comments.

Town finance director Don Warn determined that a “deficit reduction fee” would not be needed because the 6.5 acres of commercial uses would still generate enough sales tax revenue to offset any additional costs for public services resulting from the increase in apartment units. South Metro Fire Rescue requested a “voluntary impact fee” of $20,800 upon recordation of a final plat.

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