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Denver City Council Approves Loretto Heights Rezoning Agreement

DENVER (CBS4) - Denver City Council approved a rezoning agreement on Monday night for the historic Loretto Heights campus. Councilmembers first voted to approve the development plan in 2019.

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The Loretto Heights property dates back 130 years when it was purchased by the Sisters of Loretto in 1888. It served as the Loretto Heights Academy, a Catholic boarding school for girls. One hundred years later, it was sold to Teikyo University and then to Westside Investments Partners, Inc.

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City officials say Monday's rezoning vote will set the stage for redevelopment on the campus and follow the community's vision.

"From the beginning of the planning process, community members came together in good faith and with open minds to figure out a future for the campus that honored its history while continuing to serve Southwest Denver," said Laura E. Aldrete, Denver Community Planning and Development Executive Director. "This regulatory package is the muscle behind that vision."

The building, full of intricate designs, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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"The Southwest Denver community over the past four years has expressed its clear desire that this historic and beautiful site honor and respect the spirit of service that the Sisters of Loretto embody," said District 2 Councilman Kevin Flynn. "The plan that has emerged from our hard work will give us that—a place where we can live, work, gather and play within a broadly diverse community of people, the kind of complete neighborhood that has been our goal."

According to the city, the new zoning features for-sale and for-rent affordable housing, including family units, for a range of incomes. The  agreement includes a preservation plan to maintain the historic buildings, new bike lanes and street improvements, plus climate-friendly construction. Officials say the development will be the first in the city to test Denver's Green Code.

Construction began in October to transform Pancratia Hall into affordable housing. The 1929 building near south Federal and Dartmouth will offer 72 apartments.

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