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 A 6-foot-wide storm pipe runs through the property of The Russell, which complicated early development.

Featured Article

Building a Brighter Future: Celebrating Arvada's Diverse Housing

Arvada Urban Renewal Authority is thankful for the new housing options blossoming

Article by Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA)

Photography by City of Arvada & AURA

Originally published in Arvada Lifestyle

Many cherish Arvada's small-town charm within a bustling urban landscape. Community feedback is prominent throughout the City of Arvada’s 2020 - 2025 City Council Strategic Plan. Survey responses revealed Arvadans embrace, “... small-town traditions to achieve an inclusive, prosperous, and resilient community of neighborhoods where quality housing is attainable to all.”

This aspiration aligns with Arvada Urban Renewal Authority (AURA)’s purpose to partner with the City and private sector to remediate blight. “We try to bring new life to urban renewal areas that need a little love and care while maintaining Arvada’s history,” said Maureen Phair, executive director of AURA.

AURA helped bring 3,000 new housing units to Arvada. Arvadans can increasingly choose from a diverse range of housing options, including townhomes, apartments, and affordable housing.

These developments represent more than just brick and mortar. Each one adds to Arvada’s tapestry, creating an inviting destination to live, work, and thrive.

The Russell:

One notable example is The Russell, a development of 252 new market-rate apartments a short walk from Olde Town and the G-Line commuter rail station.

“This project began nearly 15 years ago when the G-Line was still a dream,” Phair said.

The Russell is located on land that was once an RTD Park-N-Ride. The City, RTD and AURA formed a committee in 2010 to plan the best use of the land. The collaborative effort resulted in the exploration of Transit-Oriented Development, an innovative concept in the Denver Metro Area at the time. However, the RTD old parking lot hid some obstructions to development.

“The land was difficult to develop because of the unforgiving landscape,” Phair said. “If left to the market, the best-case scenario was that Olde Town would get another big box store. Worse, who knows what we’d get there? We had to step in and find a solution to meet the needs and goals of the City and RTD.”

The geography posed many challenges including an underground stream, railroad right of way and a steep hill descending from Grandview Ave. An easement prevented building a structure above a 6-foot wide storm line running diagonally through part of the property. The limitations cut the usable land from 9 to about 6 acres, making the land much less valuable than some claimed it was worth at the time.

“The site is an amazing location, but the complicating factors made it so that the numbers didn’t work. It is completely possible the private sector would have ignored this special spot or built something out of place with our history and goals,” Phair said. “AURA had to provide some incentives to get an exceptional development that enhanced and contributed to the community goals of Arvada including much need housing.”

AURA partnered with Trammell Crow Company and High Street Residential bringing nearly $150 million in private investment to the mixed-use project. With some engineering ingenuity and creativity The Russell, the Shops at Olde Town Station, and a new Marriott hotel are now expected to open by 2024.

“It has been exhilarating to watch the Russell go up. This monumental project will bring so much long-term value to Arvadans,” Phair said.

Ralston Gardens:

Another important addition to Arvada is Ralston Gardens, a 102-unit affordable housing development near Ralston Rd. and Garrison St.

The project brings new housing options to Arvada for individuals and families making between 30 and 70 percent of the Area Median Income.

“I’m thrilled with this project,” Arvada Mayor Marc Williams said. “We are helping to create new affordable housing opportunities in a crucial economic corridor for Arvada. The residents will be able to access public transportation, trails, parks, and shopping. This project is in an amazing location.”

Ralston Gardens fits perfectly within Ralston Creek, an area brimming with promise. AURA attracted approximately $400 million in private investment, ushering in mixed-use developments that blend housing, shopping, restaurants, entertainment and public transportation.

Ralston Creek Townhomes:

Further enhancing the Ralston Creek district are 44 new townhomes. The Ralston Creek Townhomes are planned to sell starting in the low $500,000 range and can be customized based on 12 different interior options.

“We are trying to keep them entry-level pricing as much as we can,” said Alexa Nickless, marketing manager and closing coordinator with Berkeley Homes. “There is so little on the market in this price range and the need is high. This style of townhome is perfect for first-time homebuyers looking to enter the market.”

Nickless cited labor shortages as well as higher costs for materials and land as some of the reasons new home prices are rising in Colorado. Berkeley strived to make the Ralston Creek Townhomes as affordable as possible. Each unit features three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a front porch and a small, fenced-in front yard.

“This project brings an urban feel to Arvada while maintaining the characteristics that make Arvada special,” Nickless said. “This development is walkable to parks, restaurants and commercial services, giving it that urban feel in the suburbs. The site is also right next to the Ralston Creek Trail ensuring the suburban lifestyle for these families. The townhomes fit in with the neighborhood and will be a perfect addition to the community.”

Nickless expects sales to begin in early 2024 and encourages anyone interested in purchasing one of these beautiful homes to sign up for the General Interest List at

ABOUT: The Arvada Urban Renewal Authority transforms blight into vibrant projects that meet the goals of both the City of Arvada and the Urban Renewal Plans. AURA revitalizes neighborhoods and spurs private investment in Arvada, resulting in new housing choices, commercial spaces and parks. AURA seeks public input from individuals, property owners and local businesses to understand and meet community needs. Urban renewal authorities are governed by Colorado Urban Renewal law, established by the city council, which appoints a volunteer board. For information, visit

“We try to bring new life to urban areas that need a little love and care while maintaining Arvada’s history.”

  • The Russell is expected to be completed and begin leasing in 2024.
  • The transit-oriented development is a short walk from Olde Town and the RTD commuter rail station.
  • Ralston Garden offers affordable housing for those making between 30-70% of Area Median Income.
  • The new Ralston Creek Townhomes are within walking distance of shopping, entertainment, parks and transit.
  • Groundbreaking for Ralston Gardens was in June of 2023. The building is expected to be completed by 2025.
  •  A 6-foot-wide storm pipe runs through the property of The Russell, which complicated early development.