El Padrino Demolition Readies DHA Land for Next Chapter

By Kathryn White

The former El Padrino restaurant was demolished in March. The adjacent Rodeway Inn will undergo environmental abatement before it, too, will go down. Photos courtesy of a neighbor

When a demolition crew and excavator turned up at the former El Padrino restaurant site last month, neighbors sprung into action snapping photos and cautioning workers not to injure the feral spayed/neutered cats who’ve made the property their home. A volunteer effort by a neighbor and helpful city staff has gotten an out-of-control cat population under control, but seven adult cats deemed too wild to adopt remain on the abandoned and fenced-off site. 

The adjacent Rodeway Inn requires environmental abatement before it, too, will be demolished. The city used the former hotel as a shelter location for women, transgender and nonbinary guests between the summer of 2020 and August 2023.

A spokesperson for Denver Housing Authority (DHA), owner of the sites, said DHA does not have definitive plans for redevelopment there.

DHA acquired the properties in 2020 through the DHA Delivers for Denver (D3) bond program, a partnership with the city of Denver that generated $120 million in revenue in 2019 to expedite affordable housing projects.

$62.5 million in D3 funds are going to DHA’s “direct development projects,” creating 1,300 units of affordable housing.

The remaining $62 million in D3 funds went toward acquiring land, including the properties at 4745-4765 N. Federal and several others, where an overall 1,200 units of affordable or supportive housing (geared toward people formerly homeless) will be built.

A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Housing Stability confirmed that DHA could seek city approval to sell properties acquired through the D3 program. “If there are any parcels deemed not appropriate for redevelopment by DHA, DHA can sell them as long as 20% of any developed units are income restricted,” according to the spokesperson, “and any sales proceeds will be reinvested into the D3 program.”

DHA and its partners have until 2029 to complete the development of 1,200 units on land acquired with D3 funds.

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