A 70-acre parcel of land is for sale in Downtown Denver

In November of 2015, Union Pacific announced that they would be closing the Burnham Rail Yard in the Baker and Lincoln Park neighborhoods south of downtown Denver.  The yard was opened in 1874 and was the largest work yard in Colorado.  It closed Valentine’s Day 2016.  This left a 70-acre plot of land is now for sale.  It’s rare that a tract of land this size goes up for sale this close to downtown.  To put this in perspective, the land being sold is the same size as the 18 city blocks between 14th, 20th, Wynkoop, and Market Streets.

 

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The highlighted area outlines the 70 acre Burnham Yard which Union Pacific closed in February 2016.  It is currently for sale.

 

In 2014, Elitch Gardens, Denver’s downtown amusement park, sold.  While it was for sale there was speculation of a buyer purchasing the park and closing it to redevelop the land Elitches sits on about 60 acres).  There is once again talk of large-scale development possibilities, but the development of Burnham Yard holds a few challenges. Currently, the Burnham Yard is zoned for industrial use, and there are plenty of other industrial spaces and structures around the yard.  While the yard is closing, the main rail line is most certainly not, and the are not one but two of them running through this neighborhood.  On is along the East side of the Burnham Yard which is also where the light rail runs, the other is a couple blocks West of the yard.

The yard itself is of substantial size, yet its somewhat oddly shaped.  It stretches from 4th to 12th Avenues, but at its widest point is only about three blocks wide.  There would be little development at the extreme ends because the width of the yard is so small, there really isn’t much space to develop.  Also, the 6th Avenue Freeway and the 8th Avenue Viaduct cross over the southern half of the railyard.  RTD also has a maintenance facility on the East side of the rail yard at 7th Avenue which won’t be going anywhere.  A final obstacle is what to do with the half a dozen historical structures which make up some of the buildings in the railyard.

Despite all of these obstacles of train tracks, bridges, and factories, the appeal to build blocks of housing and retail within feet of the existing light rail station at 10th and Osage may prove to be appealing to developers.  Denver has already proven that long but narrow developments aren’t an issue.  Just look at Brighton Boulevard, Little Raven Street, and Platte Street. Union Pacific stated that they hoped to begin marketing the yard in late 2016, but as of yet it has not changed hands.