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Alpine Investments Secures Financing for Condo Development in Denver

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HFF announces financing for condo development in Denver’s LoHi submarket

June 6, 2018 – Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. (HFF) announces financing for the development of The Edge LoHi, a 44-unit, upscale condominium development in Denver’s Lower Highland (LoHi) submarket.

The HFF team worked exclusively on behalf of the developer, Alpine Investments, to arrange the 36-month, floating-rate, non-recourse construction loan through a balance sheet lender.

The Edge LoHi will be situated immediately north of Interstate 25 in the affluent LoHi neighborhood. Due for completion in 2019, the property’s for-sale homes will feature high-end finishes, unobstructed views of the Denver skyline and an outdoor space for every condo. Community amenities include a dog spa, storage units, bike storage and repair room, lobby lounge with a fireplace and coffee bar and secured building and garage access. Approximately 30 percent of the units were pre-sold at the time of closing.

Developer breaks ground on 40+ LoHi condos

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A developer broke ground Wednesday on a 44-unit condominium building in LoHi with plans to list the most expensive unit at $1.75 million.

Denver-based Alpine Investments is building the six-story structure at the corner of 17th and Central streets, overlooking Interstate 25 toward downtown. It is slated to be completed in July 2019.

The project is dubbed Edge LoHi, a change from earlier in the planning process, when it was branded Grandview LoHi.

Alpine Investments is led by Churchill Bunn, who is converting a shuttered private school along Federal Boulevard into office space and also planning to build a 10-story office building in the Golden Triangle.

“This project is my first break ground in Denver, so it’s really special,” said Bunn, who previously worked as senior director of development at California-based Irvine Co.

Stan Kniss, Jorgen Jensen and Erin Luke of Slate Real Estate Advisors are marketing the condos.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday. (Thomas Gounley)

The units will range from a 622-square-foot, one-bedroom unit to a 2,473-square-foot, three-bedroom unit spread across two stories. Kniss said they will list between $408,000 and $1.75 million.

The building also will have 4,500 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. Cory Dulberg of NAI Shames Makovsky is leasing that space.

Cuningham Group Architecture designed the project. Bristlecone Construction is the general contractor.

Bunn said the project is expected to cost $20 million. Alpine spent a total of $4.5 million in September securing the land for the site, according to county records: $2.74 million for 2501 17th St.; $825,000 for 1729 Central St. and $925,000 for 1731 Central St.

Bunn said two of the lots had homes on them, one of which had been vacant. The third parcel was an empty lot.

Developer plans to demo small Golden Triangle office; replace it with 65K SF of office

A new office building is on tap for a part of town booming with new apartment towers and cranes.

Denver-based Alpine Investments expects to close on the purchase of 955 Bannock St. in the Golden Triangle with plans for a 10-story structure.

Managing principal Churchill Bunn said the building will have 65,000 square feet of office space across its top five floors. The ground floor will have about 1,200 square feet of retail space in addition to the building’s lobby. The four floors in between will be parking.

“The Golden Triangle needs more office to round out the neighborhood,” Bunn said.

The 0.36-acre lot is home to a two-story, 9,300-square-foot structure that dates to 1982, according to city records. It previously housed coffee shop Rooster and Moon, which closed in September 2016 after eight years, and cafe Anecdote, which moved out last month. Tenants still use the building’s office space.

Bunn said Alpine would buy the property for $3.1 million from owner Bannock RE Partners LLC, which paid $2.9 million for it in February 2016.

Bunn said he knows a member of Bannock RE Partners LLC, and reached out after the 2016 sale to discuss the possibility of redeveloping the property.

“We’re surprised there’s not more office being built on the south side of downtown because it’s so accessible,” he said.

Alpine hopes to begin construction in October and deliver the building in the fourth quarter 2019.

No tenants have committed to the space yet, Bunn said. Pinnacle Real Estate brokers Blake Holcomb and Jeff Caldwell are handling the office leasing.

“We’ve really been focused on full-floor or larger users,” Bunn said. “We really see this as a two-, three-, four-tenant project.”

Hyder Construction is the general contractor and Gensler is the architect.

The 955 Bannock St. parcel is surrounded by the multifamily development for which the Golden Triangle has become known.

South of the lot, Houston-based Greystar is building a 16-story apartment complex with more than 300 units. The five-story vacant structure across the street, meanwhile, was purchased by Lennar Multifamily Communities, which paid $18.5 million for it and a large adjacent parking lot. Lennar has submitted project concepts to the city proposing two apartment towers.

Alpine has two other projects underway in Denver. Last fall the company paid $3.85 million for the shuttered private school at 2949 N. Federal Blvd. and began converting it to office space. It’s also about to break ground on a condominium project at the corner of 17th and Central streets in LoHi.

Grandview LoHi to start construction on 48 condos in Highland next year

Right next door to 302 luxury apartments, Alpine Investments Denver is planning to build 48 condos.

Grandview LoHi has plenty of other new apartment neighbors — that’s part of the reason that developer Churchill Bunn decided to build condos.

“You could make an argument that there’s more risk in building more apartments than there is risk with condo defects,” Bunn said. “Put it a better way: the market needs condos, the market doesn’t need any more apartments. I’d rather be building something that I know there’s a lot of demand for.”
Alpine Investments Denver’s decision to build condos at 17th and Central Street, a 5-minute walk from the commercial hub that includes Linger and Little Man Ice Cream, predates changes to Colorado’s construction defect law.

The 48 units range in size from 620 square feet to 1,500 square feet so that pricing can begin in the $300,000s. However, prices will top out near $1 million.

The majority of the units, 20 of them, are what Bunn calls petite one-bedrooms with 620 square feet. Then there’s four corner one-bedrooms with 820 square feet. The “CityView” one-bedrooms get 950 square feet and then finally, 12 two-bedroom units have 1,200 to 1,300 square feet.

“We try to keep the units at a manageable size so that we can keep our pricing at a manageable level, so that a younger buyer can still afford those units,” Bunn said.

Another manageable element of the property is its amenities. There will be some community space, but no rooftop deck, pool, or other such amenity. That’s partly a function of the site’s size, but also reflects market research on other condo buildings.

“There’s several buildings downtown that we looked at with outdoor space, and it wasn’t being used. It’s a good marketing tool upfront, but ultimately if your buyers aren’t going to use the public space, it doesn’t make sense to provide it.”

Instead, Alpine Investments Denver has elected to give buyers their own individual outdoor space, with a deck in every unit. Plus, like many area developers, Bunn says the area is the real amenity.

With construction slated to begin in 2018, Bunn says marketing of the units is just beginning and so it’s too early to say how potential buyers are responding to plans. Denver Business Journal reports that the units are expected to finish in 2019.

For-sale condo development coming to Denver’s LoHi

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A new development is coming to Denver’s Lower Highlands (LoHi) neighborhood — and it will offer for-sale condominiums, a rarity in the city for newly constructed housing.

GrandView LoHi — at 1717 Central St. in Denver — will offer condos ranging in size from 620 to 1,500 square feet and priced from the $300,000s to about $1 million. It will break ground sometime in the first quarter of 2018 and is slated for completion in spring 2019.

The five-story project will cost an estimated $20 million, although developer Churchill Bunn said the project costs have not yet been finalized.

“This is our first residential development in Denver,” said Bunn, who owns Alpine Investments Denver. “We’re looking forward to building a high-quality, for-sale project to the neighborhood.”

The development announcement comes after the Colorado Legislature earlier this year passed a bill reforming the controversial construction-defects law, which business leaders said brought condo development in the city to a halt.

The new law makes it harder for people in condos to file construction-defects lawsuits because it requires a majority of the condo owners, rather than the majority of the homeowners’ association board, to file suit.

Bunn said navigating the law to create this development has required a multi-pronged approach.

“Build it with quality and stand behind what you build,” Bunn said. “Ultimately, you have to design and build it to a certain standard. … It’s about not cutting corners, building something the owners can be proud of. That’s the cornerstone of it.”

GrandView LoHi will also include 4,600 square feet of retail space on the first floor, as well as large rooftop terraces in the double-height top floor units and garage parking. Residences will be on floors two through five.

Jan Nelsen, Christine Nicholson and Molly Weiss of Kentwood City Properties are the listing agents.

“It’s just a short walk from [Denver] Union Station and the area’s wide variety of cafés, coffee shops, art galleries, shopping conveniences and all the excitement and ambiance that characterize downtown Denver,” Nicholson said.

New owner converting shuttered Highlands school to offices

A shuttered private school in the Highlands has been sold, and the new owner plans to convert the building into offices.

Alpine Investments Denver purchased 2949 Federal Blvd., the former site of K-12 school Escuela Tlatelolco, this week for $3.85 million, according to property records.

Alpine owner Churchill Bunn said his firm plans to spend between $500,000 and $750,000 to renovate the 20,700-square-foot building, not counting the cost of tenant improvements.

Bunn said Alpine initially will target medical users. He said tenant improvements could begin as early as first quarter 2018.

“The Highlands area is only getting better and better,” Bunn said. “This building had really good bones.”

Alpine’s other projects include a 48-unit condo development scheduled to break ground in March at 17th and Central streets.

The Federal Boulevard property, previously owned by the school, was listed in May for $4.25 million. A month later, the price was reduced to $3.95 million.

Chicano activist Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales started Escuela Tlatelolco at 1571 Downing St. in 1971. His daughter Nita later took over and relocated to Federal Boulevard.

Property records indicate the school purchased the property in 1995 for $610,000.

The school closed at the start of July, a year after Denver Public Schools pulled a contract that accounted for 75 percent of its funding.

Michael Glade, a board member with Escuela Tlatelolco, said the organization has been focused on selling the property so it can pay creditors. Once that is taken care of, he said, the organization will ponder its future.

Glade said that could take the form of opening a “much smaller” school in the region, or providing scholarships for low-income Hispanic students.

“It’s a new chapter,” he said.

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