In 2017, the Globeville zip code (80216) was recognized as the most polluted zip code in the United States, according to RealtyTrac’s Environmental Risk Index. Globeville, along with sister neighborhoods Elyria and Swansea, have a long history of environmental challenges—including the original routing of interstate highways, multiple Superfund and other industrial cleanup projects, and former landfills.
CCEF is providing $1 million in predevelopment funds for a proposed redevelopment site at 4995 Washington, creating energy efficiency for a 200-unit Affordable Housing building and two inward-focused oases from the area’s legacy of environmental burdens. Half of these Affordable Housing units will be 3-4 bedrooms, with townhomes available as well. To ensure viability for low and moderate income households, these units will be available at 30-80% Area Median Income (AMI).
After decades fighting for basic neighborhood amenities, many Globeville community members are hopeful the development at 4995 Washington will be a positive change for the neighborhood as a whole. The site will build upon a mixed-use theme, incorporating community facilities with affordable housing and offering neighborhood-facing community service spaces, including an Early Childhood Center with a protected interior play area, a retail store focused on fresh, locally-sourced food (Globeville’s first grocery store), and—finally—a new branch of the Denver Public Library.
“We live here because we are a community,” says Angela Garcia, a lifelong resident of Globeville and active community member. “We watch out for each other and we encourage each other. And hopefully what happens at 4995 will be able to solidify this as one more layer to the community.”
The proposed redevelopment site is just outside the boundary of one of the key Superfund “operable units,” and adjacent scrap metal uses still show the neighborhood’s longstanding history as a heavily industrial area where residential uses were often an afterthought.
With construction as one of the largest producers of solid waste in the world, the use of mass timber (cross-laminated timber or CLT) as the primary building material is environmentally-friendly, since CLT is a sustainable material composed of wood (usually from reforestation) and it does not require burning fossil fuels during production.
The predevelopment funds provided by CCEF will support architectural and mechanical design, energy consultancy, and environmental reporting and remediation planning. Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2024.
“One of the most important parts of the development process is the predevelopment process,” says Javonni Butler of Evergreen Real Estate Group, one of the primary development partners in the Globeville project. “You need partners in the beginning who align with your values and your vision to really be able to pursue a project like this. This project would not be able to move forward without the support of Colorado Clean Energy Fund.”