Several W. Colorado property upgrades planned

       Proposals for new or expanded West Colorado Avenue buildings are working their way through the city planning process, with one of them - at 1621 W. Colorado - scheduled to go before the City Planning Commission Tuesday, Sept. 9.
       Both the 1621 project and another at 2421 W. Colorado (still in the pre-application stage) call for a second story to be added to an existing building.
       A final facade design for the 1621 building was still being worked out between City Planning and representatives of property owner Linda Abramson this week. According to City Planner Larry Larsen, he has asked for a more historic-looking front, in keeping with surrounding buildings.
       Such has also been re-quested by the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN), the Westside's citizen-advocacy group.
       The one-story building originally went up in the 1960s and has “no historic significance,” Larsen said. But trying to retain the historical look and feel of the avenue is a guideline in the city's Westside Plan and Comprehensive Plan, he noted.
       The project as a whole is a “major renovation” that will upgrade the currently vacant building, he said. Past uses there have included retail space, apartments and, most recently, the Hair Drama beauty salon. The building contains the 1619 address as well as 1621.
       The plan calls for the ground floor to have retail and office space, while the new upstairs will have offices and apartments. The current space totals 3,192 square feet; the proposal increases that to 5,715. Part of the rear of the building will be converted into a carport.
       The Planning Commission will be asked to grant a zone change from C-5 to C-5P (“P” for provisional), which will ease parking requirements. Also being requested is approval of a development plan and a variance to allow the building's front and rear setbacks (which exceed current requirements) to apply to the new second floor. Because the front setback is 0 feet - right at the sidewalk - the main floor's entry doors are to be recessed to prevent them from hitting pedestrians when they are opened.
       In his write-up on the proposal, Larsen states that the city is “confident that the evolving architectural design will contribute to the area's character and provide for the improvement of an existing building that lacks any definition and is [in] desperate need of a major renovation.” He adds, however, that “it may be argued that the project is too large for the site and may cause future parking problems in the area.”
       He praised the developer for creating a second-foor, open roof terrace to allow light to continue reaching the second-floor window of the neighboring house (just two feet away).
       Capsule information on other West Colorado Avenue projects appear below.
       · 2421: Owner Frank Wright has proposed adding a second story to this one-story, 2,653-square-foot building currently housing four retail businesses. The addition would increase the square footage to 7,200. The new upstairs space would be used for two residential units. A conditional use permit will be needed.
       According to Lead Westside Planner James Mayerl, the project is tentatively slated for the October Planning Commission meeting.
       The current building - estimated to be about a half-century old - has no “historic integrity nor significance,” according to a report from Tim Scanlon, the city historical planner. However, the planned facade is intended to make it look more in character with the historic shopping district it is in.
       · 1002: Proposed by property owner Mark Cunningham is a new, one-story, 4,050-square-foot retail building on a vacant lot just east of the parking lot for the modern-style, 3,900-square-foot West Four commercial building, which would get a remodel in conjunction with the project, according to Larsen. City Planning has completed its review of general issues for the preliminary application, which clears the applicant to file a formal application.
       · 2432 (Waycott Building): The idea of living above shops on the avenue is also part of the Old Colorado City Lofts project. Developed by the Craddock and Landhuis companies and marketed by Walston Group Real Estate Inc., the project includes four residential lofts on the third floor and three office lofts on the second floor above Meadow Muffins. Work has been continuing on both floors through the summer; they are expected to be ready for occupancy this fall.
       · 3162: Administrative approval has been granted to this project, which will redevelop a one-time motel property. In the project, four of the old one-bedroom, stand-alone cottages are being renovated, with a fifth being converted into a common laundry room. Developer/ owner Ray Thomas is also building 10 new apartment units.
       At a recent neighborhood meeting on-site, Thomas expressed pride in the project, saying that as contractor and landlord, “I don't want to own junk properties.” He estimated his cost to upgrade the site at $100,000.
       Project approval included a setback variance at the rear of the property on Pikes Peak Avenue - meaning the unit to be built there will be 10 feet from the right of way instead of the normally required 20. OWN members had questioned why it was necessary for the city to disregard its regulations so the developer could build another rental. According to Mayerl, “There was a good case for it. Numerous properties on Pikes Peak had the same or less of a setback.”
       · 1330: Planned Parenthood has yet to submit a formal application on this project - which has proven the most controversial on West Colorado Avenue since being initially proposed last spring. The preliminary application asked to greatly expand the existing Planned Parenthood facility on the site. A neighborhood meeting in May raised numerous objections, chiefly regarding traffic and impact on the character of the avenue.
       Larsen said he believes Planned Parenthood is working on the formal application, but does not know when it will be submitted.

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