Sunnyside Residents Seek More Retail at 44th and Tejon Development Area

By Eric Heinz

More housing is needed in Denver, and while some of the residents near 44th Avenue and Tejon Street say they understand that, they also want to preserve and enhance the area’s inviting commercial spaces.

The property at 4358 N. Tejon is owned by a corporation called Canwest Investments LLC and Glen Wood is listed as its registered agent, according to records from the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.

A recently started petition compels the owner of the lot to put in at least groundfloor retail space in a planned two-story apartment complex that is slated to have 15 units, the design for which have been approved by the city.

Sam Axelrath, who started the petition, told The Denver North Star that they won’t be able to stop the development from going forward, but he was hopeful the owner would reconsider their plans.

The petition, started in early fall, has gathered 420 online signatures as of early November.

“The long-term hope is that we get a zoning code overlay, similar to what was done on Tennyson Street,” Axelrath said.

The Tennyson Street overlay strives to activate streets and commercial centers by reducing the amount of street-level residential uses and increasing the amount of street-level commercial uses. It includes several commercial areas in the Berkeley neighborhood, including Tennyson Street between 38th and 46th Avenues.

“However, the problem is that there’s a very good chance this apartment building and others could get built before that zoning overlay is completed,” Axelrath said.

In 2019, the owner of the former convenience store on the lot was granted an extension to his lease after he filed a lawsuit in Denver County Court against Glen Wood, who bought the roughly 15,000-square-foot property in 2018 for $1.4 million.

That ruling was remanded to the lower court after a Denver District Court judge ruled the owners did have the right to terminate the old owner’s lease as early as he’d tried to. In 2020, Wood’s company Canwest Investments was granted a certificate of demolition from the city. Wood did not respond to The Denver North Star’s request for comment by press time.

“I think to have a little convenience store there would be amazing,” Axelrath said. “Maybe a little ice cream shop, something for people at the park to kind of come over and enjoy.”

The property is located across the street from Chaffee Park and close to The Monkey Barrel bar and The Radiator coffee shop. It is currently zoned for a maximum of two stories.

Trupti Suthar, the president of Sunnyside United Neighbors Inc. (SUNI), said her neighborhood organization has not taken an official stance on the redevelopment plans, but they are keeping a close eye on it. She said she’s not opposed to more housing, either, but there could be ramifications of losing commercial space that is easy to walk to.

“The problem is once commercial space is lost, it’s not coming back,” Suthar said.


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