For over 100 years, the Coorstek campus south of downtown Golden has been a hub of industrial innovation and production. But now, the company says it is turning off the machines that have whirred at …
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For over 100 years, the Coorstek campus north of downtown Golden has been a hub of industrial innovation and production.
But now, the company says it is turning off the machines that have whirred at the complex for decades and moving its attention to a plan for the area’s future, which it says will involve moving the company’s headquarters to the site and building a mixed-use complex around it.
“We want to bring our headquarters, which is now over in the Denver West office park, back to Golden,” said Coorstek CEO Michael Coors. “Back to our roots and back to our home.”
On July 22, Coors and other Coorstek representatives publicly discussed their plans for the area for the first time at a well-attended community meeting held at the current complex.
During the meeting, Coors explained that the company is committed to maintaining ownership of the land and redeveloping it itself in a process that would involve preserving and repurposing some of the site’s most iconic historic buildings while also building new structures.
However, he said that the company is also still in the early stages of determining what types of uses and mix of them would make sense for the site, although the company so far believes that including residential and retail components, and possibly a hotel, would likely make sense.
The representatives also explained that the eventual project would likely happen in stages over a period of a decade or more.
“The site is 12-acres so it’s quite large and a pretty unique opportunity to help Golden reimagine this portion of the city,” said Coors.
City rules required Coorstek to hold the community meeting because the company is planning to apply to rezone sections of the property to allow modest increases in the building heights allowed on those sections.
Currently, the site is governed by a patchwork zoning that limits building heights to 30 feet in some sections but allows buildings of up to 65 feet in others (although one current building on the site is actually just under 85 feet).
Coorstek is seeking to rezone the site to the customizable planned urban development category. Under the planned urban development zoning Coorstek will likely seek, new buildings would have a height limit of 75 feet or lower for nearly all of the site, with the current 65-foot limits maintained for approximately 85% of it. However, Coors will seek to maintain the ability to replace the 85-square-foot building with a new structure.
“This project can be built on the existing zoning but not at the high quality we would like to be,” said Dan Cohen, who is consulting with the Coors family on the project. “We would have to devote a lot of the land area to parking. The [zoning] code is primarily driven by parcel by parcel parking and doesn’t take into account a five-block area kind of district.”
Because of that, Coorstek will ask the city to write a “district parking” strategy for the development into the planned urban development, which would mandate a certain amount of parking for the whole development instead of each individual building.
The plan is for the parking to then be constructed in a mix of underground lots and wrapped within new structures so as to not impact or disrupt the visual experience of the development.
Cohen said Coorstek is also planning to ask the city to write several other commitments into the planned urban development, including commitments to including 10% affordable housing in the development, funding public art for the development, creating open space within the development that would be accessible to the public and making the area’s parking available to community residents and visitors at nights and on weekends when it is not in use by workers at the Coorstek headquarters.
Following the presentation, meeting attendees asked several questions relating to issues ranging from whether the project would include improvements to Tucker Gulch (Cohen said it is not part of the property but Coorstek would be open to working on improvements with the city) to whether Coorstek would consider the city’s Heart of Golden project and vice-versa in their planning (both parties said they would).
During the meeting, Golden resident James Smith said he was concerned that Coorstek was asking for a lot of changes with the promise that residents would get something back.
“I just want to know what kind of commitments we are getting back,” he said, after saying he was concerned all the project’s open space would be shoved against Highway 58 where it is difficult to access and unpleasant to use.
Cohen responded that the planned urban development would contain specific requirements, such as that the open space be spread around the development, and that those requirements would represent an improvement over what could just be build within the existing zoning.
“If the city chooses to do this we will be required to do those things,” Cohen said. “And open space is actually an easy one because if this gets approved you would be getting a lot more than if we built with the existing zoning.”
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