CU Denver partners with JLL on facilities plan

The University of Colorado Denver is beginning implementation of its Facilities Master Plan to guide its facilities and real estate investments, and strengthen its position as an educational and economic asset to downtown Denver.

CU Denver has engaged real estate advisory and management firm JLL to consult on how to leverage existing real estate assets and realize master plan priorities, including building a new, first-year residence hall and dining facility to meet the needs of its growing student body.

“As Colorado’s only public urban research university, CU Denver is committed to its home in the heart of this vibrant city,” said CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell. “We’ve hired JLL to help us determine how we can maximize our real estate assets to the benefit of our students now, while ensuring our land is preserved for the needs of our university in the future.”

On behalf of the university, JLL is soliciting a private-sector partner for a development, operation and management opportunity at Walnut and Fourth streets (near the intersection of West Colfax Avenue and Auraria Parkway) that includes the existing 700-bed Campus Village Apartments and an adjacent, undeveloped parcel.

“The site offers an existing revenue stream from the in-demand Campus Village Apartments. It’s located next to the Auraria Campus with nearly 50,000 students, as well as two light rail stops — one of which provides direct access to Mile High Stadium,” said Bob Hunt, managing director with JLL’s Higher Education Group. “It’s an attractive development opportunity for a partner to activate under-utilized land with mixed-use development, enabling CU Denver to direct its focus and funding to its critical facility needs.”

The selected partner will also work with CU Denver to develop a first-year housing and dining facility on the Auraria Campus.

JLL and CU Denver are collaborating to select a developer and negotiate a partnership contract which will be structured as a long-term land lease with the university retaining land ownership. The resulting revenue will be used for campus priorities such as the development of the first-year residence and dining hall and to fund ongoing operations and maintenance services. A request-for-qualifications and request-for-proposals process will begin in August  with the intention to select a development partner by March. More information is available at

JLL’s work in identifying and selecting a private development partner is the first step toward the realization of CU Denver’s 2017 Facilities Master Plan, which maps out a vision for the campus over the next 10 years. The plan also prioritizes a new Engineering and Physical Sciences Building, for which fundraising is now underway.

Edited by the Colorado Real Estate Journal staff.