Colorado Public Radio hasn’t settled yet on a plan to relocate its studios from Centennial to south Denver, but a zoning change approved Monday cleared the way for such a move.
The City Council approved, on a 12-0 vote, the rezoning of a 9.5-acre site at 1601 W. Jewell Ave., next to Ruby Hill Park. The classification will change from single-family residential to planned unit development.
That customized zoning was the result after CPR officials met for months with nearby neighborhood associations to work out stipulations on what the public broadcaster could build as it envisions a potential new headquarters. Its tentative plans call for replacing a 400-foot radio tower that provides backup for its FM stations and building a two-story office building of up to 100,000 feet.
Councilman Jolon Clark, whose district includes the site, applauded CPR for its outreach to neighborhood groups before filing the rezoning proposal, averting potential controversy. “I have been so impressed with the process here,” he said.
Jenny Gentry, CPR’s senior vice president of finance and administration, told council members that the nonprofit’s 110 employees soon would outgrow the 35,000-square-foot Bridges Broadcast Center in Centennial. The building was donated to CPR in 2004.
A spokeswoman said more concrete plans were far away, and CPR likely would need to launch a fundraising drive if it decides on the new building. First, CPR officials focused on smoothing the way with the rezoning.
“Beyond that, our plans are very undecided because we’ve been solely focused on getting this approved,” said Lauren Cameron, CPR’s vice president of communications, in an interview. She added: “The specifics are still very much TBD.”
Besides constraints on building size, the new zoning requires large setbacks that allow development on only one-third of the site, leaving the rest as open space; placing a parking lot away from neighboring homes; and constructing a pedestrian walkway through the site, linking public housing to a bus stop on Jewell.
The zoning allows office and residential uses, along with small food service establishment with outdoor seating.
By Jon Murray | firstname.lastname@example.org | The Denver Post
Jon Murray is The Denver Post’s city hall reporter. His coverage focuses on Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, the workings of the City Council and city’s government interactions with Denver’s people, from neighborhood issues to regulation of the marijuana industry. A Colorado native, he joined The Denver Post in 2014 after reporting on city government and the legal system for The Indianapolis Star. Follow Jon Murray @JonMurray