Located in Denver’s historic Observatory Park neighborhood, The Wellshire has one unique advantage: a grandfathered, multilevel zoning restriction that constrains the development of additional high-rise buildings in the area.
With that, Pathfinder Partners and Bruckal Properties bought the 12-story, 107-unit apartment community for $12.5 million in May 2012 and took advantage of the extensive views each unit could provide residents.
The two developers bought the property from the family of the original developer, who had never completed renovations on the now–50-year-old structure. Pathfinder and Bruckal then implemented a $2.5 million exterior and interior renovation plan to bring the midcentury building up to more contemporary standards.
Each unit spoils residents with wrap-around balconies from which they can enjoy panoramic city and mountain views. Before their renovation, the balconies featured square, plywood paneling above the railing that obstructed the broad views and dated the property’s façade. The developers removed the imposing railings and replaced them with a custom cable railing system, which took 12 months to design and install and cost nearly $650,000.
Only a third of the units (the top five floors) received interior renovations, such as new flooring and appliances. The top-floor units were converted into penthouses, raising the rents for those units by $1,400.
A majority of the interior renovations focused on common areas, updating the building entrance, lobby, and leasing area. The developers turned the existing entryway and outdated library into a leasing office, coffee bar, and fitness center with aerobic studio, weight room, and restrooms. Two new common areas were also added: a dog park and 12th-floor sky-deck, complete with a lounge, kitchenette, barbecue area, and outdoor speaker system.
On average, The Wellshire experienced rental increases on all units—including the unrenovated units—of $275 per month. After an initial investment of approximately $15 million, Pathfinder sold The Wellshire in May 2014 for $20.7 million.