Developers offer update on Uplands plan

Online design meetings set for November

Scott Taylor
staylor@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 10/29/20

Developers of the proposed 235 acre Uplands project in Westminster detailed view corridors, parks and a community garden in an Oct. 21 virtual meeting. Project lead Jeff Handlin of Oread Capital said …

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Developers offer update on Uplands plan

Online design meetings set for November

Posted

Developers of the proposed 235 acre Uplands project in Westminster detailed view corridors, parks and a community garden in an Oct. 21 virtual meeting.

Project lead Jeff Handlin of Oread Capital said the project has four basic goals, to share view corridors, connect different parts of Westminster, create spaces for everyone to enjoy and make the place a home.

“And what we mean by that is to create a home for everybody, all types,” Handlin said. “Not just for those in apartments or those in single-family homes. But underlying everything is that we’ve built this on principles of building healthy places.”

It’s the third virtual meeting the group has hosted since a City Council vote in February. Councilors approved planning designations for three smaller parcels on the project. The developers hosted a general project update in July and a virtual meeting Sept. 1 for residents living on Observatory Hill, the area southeast of 84th and Lowell.

Marcus Pachner, the outreach representative for Oread Capital, said the project has changed based on that meeting, especially the tree grove area at the intersection of Lowell Boulevard and Bradburn.

“A lot of the comments and questions we’ve heard have been focused on what I call the sunset viewing area,” Pachner said. “Before we did not have that as public land or a park. Now that entire hill, all the way downhill including the grove, is public land.”

Design charrettes slated

They have scheduled a design roundtable discussion — called a charrette — from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 14. A second design charrette is scheduled from 6-7:30 p.m. Nov. 18, the following Wednesday. Both are being hosted on the Zoom virtual meeting platform and require pre-registration at https://uplandscolorado.com/news-events/ online.

Oread Capital hopes to build 2,350 dwelling units on 235 acres surrounding Westminster’s iconic castle, the Pillar of Fire church. Oread’s plan calls for converting the large open space surrounding the church into Uplands, a massive mixed-use development, with housing options ranging from single-family homes to apartments and townhomes as well as parks and commercial areas.

The developers have an option to purchase 235 acres around Shaw Heights. The developers hope to build on the farmland between 84th and 88th avenues and Federal and Lowell Boulevards as well as parcels east of Federal and on both sides of Bradburn Drive west of Lowell — all land currently owned by the Pillar of Fire Church.

The project would take several years to complete, ultimately having room for 2,350 dwelling units in a mix of housing types. It would ultimately have to be approved by the Westminster City Council.

Bonnie Niziolek of Norris Design, principal planner for the project, said a preliminary development plan for the entire project is being reviewed by Westminster City Staff and she and her team are working on an official development plan for Parcel A, the largest parcel between 84th and 88th and Lowell and Federal Boulevards. It’s currently defined as a site for traditional mixed-use neighborhood development in the Westminster Comp Plan, which allows up to 18 dwellings per acre and a commercial site. It allows apartments, condos, townhomes and single-family residences.

The developer’s plans call for less dense development on the site, up to 1531 dwellings on the lot over 150 acres and 30,000 square feet of commercial uses. It also calls for new roads crisscrossing the site.

Niziolek said the developers plan to create 35 acres of public land and parks that would be donated to the City of Westminster, as well as numerous smaller “Uplands parks“ that would be owned and maintain by the community itself.

“Again, we’d love to see your feedback on things we’d like to see in these parks,” she said.

So far, City Councilors have been open to learning about the project, voting in February to change the comprehensive plan designation for three of the smaller parcels on the project. That included a vacant parcel west of Lowell Boulevard on either side of Bradburn Drive labeled “Parcel B“. The current zoning there allows 3.5 housing units per acre. The zoning request would allow five.

The developers also hope to change the zoning on a vacant parcel east of Federal Boulevard and south of 84th from office to allow up to eight housing units per acre. They would also designate a one-acre parcel at 88th and Zuni to make it open space. It’s currently zoned for office uses.

A new 11-acre park will be included on Parcel A, as well, she said. She also demonstrated plans for Parcel B, the lot on either side of Bradburn Drive west of Lowell Boulevard, which includes more parks and undeveloped view corridors.

Community Garden

The group offered more information about their new non-profit group, called the Uplands Community Collective, that will focus on four areas: Food and agriculture, workforce development, small business and civic engagement. Eric Kornacki, director of the effort, said that one of the pocket parks, a five acre-lot called The Pantry east of Federal Boulevard and south of 86th, would host a community garden for residents as well as a potting area and a pollinator garden.

“We want the residents to be involved as well as the kids in the area involved in cooking and growing food,” Kornacki said.

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