by Mark Samuelson
Builder Dave Pagano with G.J. Gardner Homes Denver hears the story again and again from buyers who discover his contemporary urban duplexes surrounding the burgeoning Tennyson Street arts/dining district: "We've been looking at LoHi, but it's too expensive." Then Pagano walks them a block over to Tennyson, where a half dozen restaurants have opened this year, flanked by galleries, coffee shops, and places like Parisi Trattoria at 44th that have been here for years.
"Then they say, 'Hey, this is kind of cool,'" recalls Pagano, as his buyers rapidly warm up to Berkeley - the neighborhood north of 38th Avenue flanking the corridor of shops and galleries along Tennyson that long ago was a shopping street near Elitch Gardens amusement park.
Graphic designer, Laura Manthey, bought a home from G.J. Gardner Denver a block from Tennyson Street last year. "Picking a restaurant now in Berkeley is less a matter of deciding which ones are really good than of what are you in the mood for?" she said. Her recent favorites include Brazen and chophouse-style Block & Larder, both newly arrived -- along with Hops & Pie, an 'artisan pizzeria and craft-brew taproom' she says is 'unbelievably good.' More arrive monthly - Royal (burgers), Atomic Cowboy and Denver Biscuit Co, opening this spring.
"Prices have gotten out of reach in LoHi," Pagano says. He'll let you tour a G.J.
Gardner duplex today at 4364 Stuart Street, and he can put you within two blocks of the action on the walkable north-south streets that flank Tennyson, where looser zoning allows duplexes with 2-car garages from around $609,000 - well below prices for this kind of space around Highland Square and LoHi. Sales manager Jeff Cook says Gardner has half a dozen homes in the pipeline, headed for completion in 2015. Buyers can still pick personalized color and trim options on those, and can choose even more options on the ones that are furthest from completion (G.J. Gardner Denver will open a design center serving the neighborhood at 4316 Tennyson next month).
Pagano also knows other city neighborhoods, some with even lower prices - including Cole/Whittier where he'll create a single family home at around $475,000, and south of Highlands in Sloan's Lake where he can deliver one overlooking the huge park from the $800's. "We're really a custom builder," he adds. "We can help you find a lot in Platt Park, University Park or any city area of Denver."