We may not be in a citywide bull market, but there are plenty of reasons to feel pretty darn good about real estate in the Mile High City this year. This is especially true of Highlands, which has become a nationally recognized, trendsetting model for the possibilities of 21st-century new urbanism. Here’s how Highlands became the hottest part of town—and which local neighborhoods might be next.
What’s at least 10 miles long, about a half-mile wide, and has a river running through it?
A: Denver’s next great “neighborhood.”
At a gathering of real estate pros in March, Paul Washington, executive director of the Denver Office of Economic Development, called the Platte River Corridor “in my opinion, the most underused riverfront real estate in the entire country,” one that presents Denver with a development opportunity of more than $1 billion. In the coming decade, the corridor will undergo a massive overhaul that will improve existing trails and parks along the South Platte, add new ones, and create a landscape that should improve commercial and residential environments along the entire stretch of the river. Here’s a peek at what’s already been accomplished, and what Denverites can look forward to seeing on our one and only waterfront.
Down By the River
Numerous municipal organizations are working together on the changes outlined below. Some modifications are a ways off; some are already under way. The net result is that the new South Platte should give many areas—commercial, residential, and recreational—a welcome makeover.
Green Street Connections: Expanding and improving certain streets that traverse the river to make them more pedestrian and bike friendly, and provide easier access to adjoining neighborhoods.
Bridges: Erecting bike and pedestrian bridges to make the river crossable at more points, which will increase non-auto traffic and encourage green-space development along the more fallow stretches of the river.
River Gateways: Creating newer—and nicer—entryways to riverside bike and walking paths.
Night Lighting: To make quiet stretches of the river safer during the evening hours.
Light Rail: Expanding current routes to include more stations to get people out of their cars and encourage commercial and mixed-use development along transit lines.
Re-zoning: Tweaking current zoning codes in areas near the Platte to allow for development of mixed-use properties.
More people using the Platte for boating, fishing, swimming, or simply walking next to it means a greater need for the environmental safeguards necessary to keep water quality high and preserve natural habitats.