Saint Anthony’s Central Campus (Denver, CO)
Site/Location: The former St. Anthony’s hospital was a roughly 20-acre campus, directly across from the 177-acre Sloan’s Lake Park, Denver’s 2nd largest park. The site, now transformed from a hospital campus to 7 city blocks slated for mixed-use development, is located between West Colfax Ave. and W. 17th Ave and is part of both the West Colfax and Sloan’s Lake neighborhoods. It is a few blocks from light-rail and minutes from Downtown Denver.
History/Situation: St. Anthony’s Hospital began as a 180-bed community resource guided by the Poor Sisters of St. Francis in 1892, in what was then a remote location on the western edge of Denver. Over the next century, the hospital attained a glowing reputation for excellence, in particular its trauma center and Flight For Life service (established in the mid-1970’s, and the first civilian-based emergency medical helicopter in the U.S.). By the early 2000’s, the hospital was outgrowing its grounds, and in 2005 plans were announced in to build a new facility elsewhere. The following year, a task force was convened to study and recommend guiding principles for the site’s redevelopment.
Abatement Considerations: Work included decommissioning the existing main hospital building, environmental abatement of biohazards and demolition of a million square feet of structures. In addition to the physical work, acquisition of all state, local and federal environmental sign-offs were required to allow the abatement and demolition, and the installation of new infrastructure to support a mixed use neighborhood on the site. The abatement and demolition process successfully recycled more than 30 tons of concrete, six tons of metal, and 2,500 tons of asphalt.
EFG’s Role: EnviroFinance Group, LLC (EFG) acquired the site January 2013 and immediately began abatement and demolition of the old hospital. By the start of 2014 substantially all of the former hospital was gone and work began on site grading and construction of new site-wide infrastructure, which was mostly complete by year-end 2014. In addition to the physical site work, EFG also worked extensively with the neighborhood and the City of Denver, facilitating over 70 public meetings and presentations to date, to develop and implement a master plan for the site. As part of this work a set of design standards were developed to govern future vertical development and ensure a high quality project that fits within the existing urban fabric and character of the surrounding neighborhoods. EFG also worked with the Denver Urban Renewal Authority to create an Urban Renewal Area and formed Metropolitan Districts to help finance and maintain public improvements.
Future Plans: The plan for the former hospital campus renewal is to create a catalyst and anchor for the nearby West Colfax and Sloan’s Lake neighborhoods, complete with residential development (apartments, townhomes, and condos), a cinema complex, restaurants, and high quality retail and neighborhood services. The plan re-introduces the street grid through the former campus and enhances connectivity between West Colfax and Sloan’s Lake and between the project and surrounding public transportation options.
Community Benefit: The redevelopment will bring much needed neighborhood serving retail and services, as well as hundreds of jobs. The expanded streetscapes, widen 16th Street, and multiple plazas, including the half-acre Chapel Plaza—named for the preserved Chapel anchoring the west end of the plaza—serve as amenities to the community. These spaces can be used for patio seating, community gardens, gathering spaces, and public events, such as farmer’s markets, music and arts festivals.
Current Status: Site-wide infrastructure—new roads, storm water management, sidewalks, water and sewer infrastructure—is complete. Three of the seven development blocks have sold and are currently under construction, with the first apartment building expected to open by the end of 2015. The project is also in the process of seeking LEED for Neighborhood Development certification.