A shuttered Denver hotel property will soon be reinvented as a mixed-use project featuring nearly 300 luxury apartment units, restaurant and retail space. Las Vegas-based developer Pacific Properties plans to spend $45 million on the 6.9 acre site that is located near downtown Denver.

Pacific’s goal is to create an "urban village atmosphere" along the edge of the downtown Denver CBD. "This submarket between downtown and the Tech Center had no available sites for multifamily development until now. In fact, there are very few sites in Denver that offer the views, access, and adjacent amenities found at this location," says John Ausburn, Pacific’s senior vice president. Work will begin on the project this fall, with completion scheduled for the latter half of 2005.

That two-year lag will be a critical span for Denver’s extremely weak apartment sector. While the developers are quick to note that the multifamily market here is rebounding, it has a long way to go. Of the nation’s top markets, Denver has been consistently ranked as one of the top five weakest markets in recent months. Mounting job losses here and throughout the nation have taken a toll on multifamily occupancy as historically low interest rates have persuaded many renters to become homeowners.

Still, this as-yet-unnamed project will occupy a convenient part of the neighborhood — a light rail station scheduled to open by early 2007 is within easy walking distance, and this new station will provide quick access to downtown or south to the Tech Center and beyond. Other next-door neighbors include a move theater and a grocery anchored strip center. "It's possible for tenants to live here comfortably without owning a car," says Ausburn.

Units will range in size from 517 to 1,530 sq. ft., with rents averaging $800 to $2,100 per month. The project will consist of three buildings with luxury apartments and urban lofts. The 16,500 sq. ft. of retail space will house several restaurants and other specialty shops. Designed as a "luxury lifestyle" development, the upscale studio, one- and two-bedroom flats, townhouses and lofts will boast granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Also, residents will have full use of a fitness center, pool, spa, clubroom and business center.