Developers Westside Investment Partners Inc. on Thursday submitted preliminary plans for redeveloping the 155-acre former Park Hill Golf Course in Denver, according to a news release.

Those plans, which might change before final development plans are submitted and will have to be passed by a majority of Denver voters, call for a 100-acre land donation to Denver to create the city’s fourth-largest park, affordable housing and retail space that will likely include a grocery store. The land is located at 4141 E. 35th Ave., near Colorado Boulevard.

Westside bought the parcel for $24 million in 2019, property records show.

“We listened to the city,” Westside Founder Andy Klein said in an interview with The Denver Gazette. “Residents were interested in green space and we’re going to be providing enough land for a huge park. We truly believe this (mixed-use) development is the best use of the site.”

Open space advocates have been vocal since Westside bought the land, and drove the passage of Measure 301 in November, which requires a “citywide vote to develop property with a city-owned conservation easement” like Park Hill.

Westside submitted what’s called a “large development review application,” which Denver requires for developments larger than five acres, according to Community Planning and Development spokeswoman Laura Swartz.

“Obviously, for this property, we know this community planning process is still underway,” Swartz said. “So whatever Westside ends up ultimately submitting for permit application, it will need to be consistent with this community planning process, which is still ongoing.”

Officials held 18 months of public input on the subject over the last three years, Swartz said, and surveyed as many area residents as possible.

“Creating something new and innovative is always challenging,” Westside Principal Kenneth Ho said. “Development is complex. We understand that. That’s a lot of what Westside does: Take on that challenge seriously. … It’s centered around what the community desires and how to balance the social, economic and environmental concerns as well."

Westside is also developing the former Loretto Heights campus off Federal Boulevard in southwest Denver’s Harvey Park neighborhood.

This week, the company sold 152 acres of land to PepsiCo south of Denver International Airport for $49.2 million — where the beverage company plans to build a 1.2 million-square-foot manufacturing facility. It will be PepsiCo’s largest plant in the United States.

Sign Up For Free: Denver Gazette Business

Success! Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

The former golf course land will also provide small business opportunities for people of color, Ho said. And they heard the call for a grocery store loud and clear.

“That's one of the main priorities to provide healthy food options. There’s space allocated for that as well as local businesses, small business and commercial ownership,” he said.

But the key is the hundreds of units of for-sale, and for-rent, affordable housing

“When the city did a scientific survey of thousands of residents surrounding the course, at a 10-to-1 ratio they preferred a mixed-use development,” said Ho. “We think that some of that has to do with the need for activation, security and obviously addressing our desperate housing crisis.”

The City of Denver estimates the city is short 130,000 housing units it needs for a balanced market, including 50,000 affordable units.

Asked about final plans having to be approved by a majority of Denver voters, Ho said: “It actually is highly unusual. But we understand that this isn't a usual property. It’s a unique opportunity. … It’s a great opportunity for a pragmatic compromise solution.”

The developer’s previous proposal was for a 60-acre park, but survey respondents overwhelmingly said that wasn’t enough, Swartz said.

“There was lot of support for a grocery store, a lot of support for recreational activities like sports, swimming pools and affordable housing — both for sale and for rent,” Swartz said. “They also showed support for things to help local businesses, primarily those owned by people of color. These neighborhoods are historically African American and Latino neighborhoods. There is a lot of desire there for support for those culturally responsive and relevant businesses and entrepreneurs.”

Next steps include an Aug. 4 public meeting by Westside at the club house to hear community feedback. City staff, meanwhile, is working on a draft area plan — which must be approved by City Council. After that happens, and final development plans are submitted, it will go to voters — possibly in 2023.

“This is really an unprecedented opportunity for this neighborhood, which historically, has not had this level of investment,” Swartz said. “Residents have also been able to speak directly to what their needs are for this land.”

“The focus here always has been really addressing the community's needs, addressing the unique circumstances in this area, and we're happy that we can provide that in an economically feasible way," said Ho.

Sign Up For Free: Denver AM Update

Your morning rundown of the latest news from overnight and the stories to follow throughout the day.

Success! Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.