Platt Park’s Transformation - Old South Pearl, Light Rail, etc.

The T-Rex project and the recent completion of a neighborhood light rail stop have been a catalyst for new building and investment in Platt Park over the last few years.  As illustrated through an excellent walkscore (, the neighborhood contains many of the amenities that make a community sustainable.  The access to parks, good public transit, restaurants, and a Whole Foods Market are just some of what so many of the “new urbanist” developments strive for.   

Historically, Old South Pearl Street offered a mixed use retail/residential corridor with the trolley running through it. Retaining its original character, Old South Pearl has flourished and has now become an extremely vibrant area, with some of Denver’s top restaurants and cafes, as well as, a variety of specialty boutiques and shops. 

Within the last few years, much of the new retail has added more appeal to the neighborhood resident.  Pajama Baking Company provides excellent fresh bread and pastries for the daily shopper, and during the summer, the Sunday farmers market provides access to the freshest locally grown vegetables and fruits.  Complementing the farmers market is live music, as well as the trendy food trucks.

Sushi Den (consistently rated the top sushi in Denver) has sustained an amazing following.  It’s a destination restaurant which helps bring additional shoppers to the boutiques, bars, and pubs to give these establishments a better chance of supporting an otherwise small neighborhood.  The owners of Sushi Den have recently expanded to two new restaurants which are both on S. Pearl - Izakaya Den and Ototo Food & Wine.

Many visitors have realized the advantage of living closer to this vibrant community center and have moved into the neighborhood.  The housing prices in Platt Park are comparable to Wash Park, while still being within easy walking distance to the park.  With the light rail, Whole Foods Market, and more urban amenities, it is now one of the more desirable places in to live in Metro Denver!  

The appeal of the neighborhood continues to attract new boutiques and well as new home projects around the area, which we will highlight in the next post.

Some of our favorite spots along Old South Pearl Street:

Pearl Street Grill

Stella’s Coffee Haus

India’s on Pearl

Sushi Den

Five Green Boxes

Pajama Baking Company

Gaia Bistro

Kaos Pizza

The Ruffly Rose

Park Burger

Old South Pearl St Web Site:

From three schemes to one

We’ve hashed through numerous ideas for a concept on the house, and here are the main three: 

  1. Focus on main living space (kitchen, dining, living) at the rear of the house (west facing)
  2. Split rear living space by a central courtyard
  3. Move main living spaces to front of lot at street to provide activity and embracing of urban setting - this is ultimately what we’ve selected for the basis of the design approach.

TOD (Transit Oriented Development)

TOD’s is a buzzword making the rounds in city planning circles.  It’s ironic that it’s really just a throwback to what happened with the old trolly and local rail lines from over a hundred years ago.  The idea is that retail and higher density housing grows around stations and results in satellite hubs spread out around a larger city. 

The light rail project has kick-started a large number of development efforts up and down the I-25 corridor.  Some of these are already in place (prior to the opening of the line this November 17th) while others are only a concept sketch. 

I’m very happy that we have found a spot for a house so close to the only “kiss and ride” station on the new line.  With a few blocks walk to public transportation, a grocery store (Wild Oats) and Old South Pearl Street just around the corner, it’s the stuff great neighborhoods are made of!

Setting Goals

Ok, we are getting serious now, and we realize we are faced with several challenges

To create a modern home, utilizing eco-conscious measures and materials, for our family of four.

The site:
Typical metro Denver residential neighborhood lot with 1 1/2 story bungalows to the north and south. Lot size 37 x 140

The process:
Explore and use any delivery method necessary to build a 2300-2500 square foot home for $140 to $165 square foot.

Historically, a strong inner metro housing market that has slowed slightly within the last year, but at much less noticeable pace than the outlaying suburbs.