Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

New buildings give campus a fresh look

Students returned in September to a campus community jangling with more change than a Black Hawk casino.

Buildings are going up, buildings are coming down.

Merry Mac, a two-story campus office that stood for 53 years, was knocked down, dragged away and replaced — temporarily — by four trailers.

Centennial Halls was outfitted with a swanky new dining hall, and Nagel Hall, DU’s newest residence, is well into the second of three phases, with completion on track for next summer.

Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity on East Evans Avenue is structurally complete and after interior finishing, will be ready to plan its first party by the second term.

University Lofts at DU, a six-floor student rental apartment with 96 beds, opened for business Sept. 1. The building, which is not affiliated with the University, is on the northeast corner of University Boulevard and Evans Avenue.

The student-only concept is the first of its kind in the area, but won’t be the only one. One block north is Vistaloft, an 11-story student rental rival already under way.

Amid the building activity are some comings and goings. The Eleanor Roosevelt Institute moved to campus from its home near City Park, while University Advancement shifted the bulk of its operations to rental digs at 990 S. Broadway.

A former hot dog stand on East Evans Avenue will reopen as a Carl’s Jr. burger joint, and long-time watering hole Fagan’s on the corner of South Downing and Evans is reopening as a bar named Smugs and a takeout named Red’s Express.

Even Chancellor Robert Coombe has a new place to live – a renovated historic bungalow at the southeast corner of Columbine Street and Evans Avenue that was previously owned by DU’s third chancellor and ex-Colorado Gov. Henry Buchtel and is now owned by the University.

But it is new residences that are making the biggest impact on the DU landscape, with a surge of condo projects with price tags ranging from $370,000 to more than a million.

Observatory Place, a five-story condominium on the southeast corner of University Boulevard and Warren Avenue, is nearing completion.

Vistaloft, the new student rental high-rise at 1920 S. University, which will have 134 parking spaces on the first two levels and nine residence floors above. The concrete and glass building is planning 86 suite-style, two- three- and four-bedroom units that will rent to students by the bedroom, says developer Brian White, who earned his master’s degree in real estate and construction management at DU in 1997.

“We’re targeting sophomores and juniors,” White says of the $32 million project.

Directly east of Vistaloft will be a nine-story, 106-unit condo project called The Place at University Station. Discovery Communities hopes to begin marketing the $50 million condo project at 1945 S. Josephine St. in late fall and start construction in spring 2008. Units will range from 704 to 2,670 square feet and cost from mid-$300,000 to more than $900,000, says Vice President of Marketing Diana Thies.

In the 2300 block of South University Boulevard is Scholar’s Walk, an eight-unit, three-story townhouse complex that began pouring its foundation in July and expects to be completed in the spring. The high-end units will range from 1,600 to 2,400 square feet and cost $800,000 to $1.2 million, says developer Peter Paulos.

Another high-end project that hopes to be finished by mid-October is South Josephine Street Brownstones, a five-unit townhouse project at 2050 S. Josephine St. The three-story units boast private elevators from the garage to the third floor. They range from 2,094 to 2,292 square feet and hope to fetch prices from $659,000 to $744,000.

Market data shows that as of the end of August, the Observatory Park neighborhood east of University Boulevard and south of Evans Avenue had 65 properties on the market, with a median price of $1.1 million.

“Around a quality university, property values are sky high,” said Scholar’s Walk developer Paulos. “It’s just a great location. From Hampden (Avenue) to Hilltop, it’s the upscale area.”

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