The Welton Corridor Urban Redevelopment Plan, which was adopted by City Council on September 10, 2012, established the Welton Corridor Urban Redevelopment Area. Building upon the recommendations made by the 2011 Northeast Downtown Neighborhoods Plan, the Welton Corridor Urban Redevelopment Area, with support from the Five Points Business District and the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, has successfully encouraged development interest within the corridor. Leveraging its close proximity to downtown, access to light rail transit, and drawing upon rich local history, the area has attracted recent interest from the development community.
The Urban Redevelopment Area is comprised of approximately 85 acres and is situated immediately to the northeast of downtown Denver centered around Welton Street. The Urban Redevelopment Area is generally bounded by Broadway Street on the west, Glenarm Place and 24th Avenue on the south, Downing Street on the east and on the north either by California Street or the alley between Welton and California Streets. The 2011 Northeast Downtown Neighborhoods Plan (NEDN Plan) and the Five Points Welton Street Marketplace Vision Plan and Final Report (Five Points Vision Plan) provide guiding principles, recommendations and goals for transforming the Welton Corridor Urban Redevelopment Area into a vibrant neighborhood serving commercial area with housing, retail and a mix of uses that activate the street.
Historically, the Welton Corridor has been the heart of the Five Points neighborhood, which is one of Denver’s oldest neighborhoods and was prominent from the 1860’s through the 1950’s. The neighborhood was originally home to Denver’s aristocracy, housing mayors, governors, and prominent business people. Starting in the 1920’s, Five Points had an African American majority population and was known as the “Harlem of the West” for a thriving community with a rich mix of local business and commerce along the Welton Corridor, including over fifty bars and clubs where some of the greatest jazz musicians performed. Starting in the late 1950s, the Five Points neighborhood began to suffer because of drugs, crime and urban flight. Many properties were abandoned, and the larger market found local business conditions unappealing. Although the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library and the Central Corridor Light Rail System represent significant investment in the area, continued commercial investment is still needed to revitalize the Urban Redevelopment Area.
Originally constructed in 1895, the property at 2801 Welton Street has served a number of purposes throughout its history, including a tavern, hotel, and apartments. At one time the property was home to Rice’s Tap House, a notable establishment active in the Five Points’ jazz scene. The modest two-story, 5,000-square-foot building was uninhabitable and had been vacant since 2011. Redeveloped as a mixed-use project, the first floor is dedicated to restaurant or retail uses and the second floor provides office space for lease. Improvements include modernization of the building and restoration of the original brick façade and windows that had been covered or modified over the years.