Strong, Smart & Bold Beans Opens in Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Library

Strong, Smart & Bold Beans, a social enterprise of Girls Inc. of Metro Denver (GIMD), opens March 5th in the lobby of the Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Library Branch in Denver’s West Colfax neighborhood.

Bold Beans will do the following:

  • Sell coffee and espresso drinks;
  • Provide teen girls with paid jobs and hands-on learning opportunities;
  • And use profits to support GIMD programs that inspire girls be strong, smart and bold.

Bold Beans will be open during the following times:

  • Noon-8pm Monday and Tuesday
  • 10am-6pm Wednesday through Friday
  • 9am-5pm Saturday

Coffee and espresso drinks, baked goods, snacks and bottled beverages will be available for purchase.

“This new business highlights the work of our organization, which has been serving the West Colfax neighborhood for over 30 years,” said Sonya Ulibarri, GIMD President & CEO. “Girls Inc. is a place for girls to learn how to be confident and self-sufficient through college and career prep programs, entrepreneurial experiences, and training in economic literacy.”

Bold Beans provides GIMD with a new revenue stream and a platform to deliver entrepreneurship curriculum to girls in grades 8-12. Participating girls will explore various aspects of the coffee business, including coffee’s origin and supply chain from farm to cup. They will learn about running a small business and be responsible for helping develop marketing plans and managing costs and inventory. They will develop customer service skills and more specialized skills like latte art. To start, the first group of six to eight individuals will be selected and trained as “Bold Baristas” to staff the cart during after school and weekend hours. During the summer, there are plans to hire additional girls.

UIibarri added, “Our girls are so excited for this much-anticipated opportunity. They are applying for the coveted roles to work at Bold Beans, which require a certain GPA and participation in our programs. There is so much for them to learn through this new endeavor.”

Monica Villalobos, Manager of Social Enterprise for GIMD, said, “The concept of Bold Beans was inspired by our girls; they asked for a Girls Inc. coffee business and now here we are. Many have been exposed to entrepreneurship and have been entrepreneurs themselves on a much smaller scale, so they understand what we are trying to accomplish. For others, it’s a new way to stay connected to Girls Inc. after years of involvement, plus it’s an opportunity for hands-on learning while earning an income.”

Bold Beans Background:
GIMD participated in the Colorado Nonprofit Social Enterprise Exchange’s 2013-2014 Cohort, a nine-month social enterprise development program. The program was led by interSector Partners, L3C and JVoyles Nonprofit Consulting. Through this cohort, GIMD received ongoing training and consultation that led to the inception and initial concept development for Bold Beans. Colorado-based CODA Coffee, named 2014 Macro Roaster of the year by Roast Magazine, is the primary coffee bean roaster and supplier for Bold Beans. In late 2014, Villalobos attended a five-day training at the Ivy League Barista Academy in Vista, California, which included coffee 101, advanced barista training, and coffee business management. The training will be adapted and used to enhance related GIMD curriculum for Bold Beans.

Posted in Neighborhood News, Northwest Denver | Tagged , , , , ,

TODAY: Grand Opening of the Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Branch Library

Colfax Library

Celebrate the grand opening of the new Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Branch Library today. The branch opens at 9 am with official remarks and ribbon cutting starting at 11 am. Come support this exciting addition to the Sloan’s Lake and West Colfax neighborhoods.

1498 Irving Street
Denver, CO 80204

Posted in Neighborhood News, Northwest Denver, Sloan's Lake Neighborhood | Tagged , , , ,

Developer Floats Sloan’s Lake for Upscale Apartments


Burl Rolett with BusinessDen writes:

A Denver developer wants to bring big-city, upscale apartment living to Sloan’s Lake.

Lance Nading wants to squeeze 30 apartments – complete with a concierge – on 0.4 acres at 1821 N. Irving St. He’s betting on drawing renters who want a single-family neighborhood less dense than LoDo or LoHi but who are still looking for a top-end, new apartment.

“I’ve compared it in some ways to a New York-style building – where the doorman knows your name,” said Nading, who is also a custom home builder.

Plans call for one three-story building with one level of underground parking. The site currently hosts a 50-year-old, one-story apartment building.

Nading bought the property in 2013 for $400,000, according to Denver records. He initially planned to build townhomes, he said, but reasoned an apartment complex would give him some security in case of an economic downturn.

Townhome construction is booming in Sloan’s Lake with several new single-family developments within blocks of Nading’s property.

And at least two other major residential buildings are taking shape in the neighborhood. Trammell Crow is proposing about 378 apartments at 16th Avenue and Raleigh Street. And the Denver City Council this month approved rezoning for a 12-story condo tower at 17th Avenue and Stuart Street.

But Nading said the smaller apartment building he wants to build – and one with amenities like a concierge who could arrange dry cleaning, transportation or even a chef for the night – doesn’t exist in the neighborhood.

And bringing on a different concept has its own set of difficulties, like finding investors and a bank.

“The challenge from an underwriting standpoint is financing a project that has virtually no comparables,” he said. “We’re not an eight-story, 220-unit, fully-amenitized building that you can get numerous comparables around town.”

The apartment units at Nading’s unnamed project would be a mix of one- and two-bedroom units averaging 850 square feet. The building will also have a small rooftop pool, a small conference room and a dog wash station.

Nading said he thinks it will appeal to established professionals who may have just moved to town and need a place for the short-term. He’s also targeting older renters who want a low-maintenance home in a residential neighborhood and are willing to trade nearby bars and nightlife for more in-house services.

Rental rates haven’t been finalized yet, but Nading said he’ll need to get about $2.20 per square foot per month to make the apartment project work. That would put rents at around $1,870.

“It doesn’t work unless we can get $2.20 a square foot, and then it works – doesn’t hit it out of the park, but it works,” he said. “It’s certainly not Cherry Creek, it’s not LoHi, but it’s a unique enough situation that I think that it has the potential to do very, very well to drive and push higher rents.”

Should Nading go through with the apartment development, he’ll outfit the units so they can sell as condos later on.

It would be a more enticing project, he said, if he had the flexibility to sell the units at any time instead of holding off for fear of a lawsuit under construction defects laws.

Nading has enlisted RMT Architects to draw up plans for the building and has submitted a preliminary site plan to Denver’s Development Services office but doesn’t have a ground-breaking date or a final construction cost worked out.

Nading said he could still go back and build townhomes instead if he decides the apartment complex wouldn’t be profitable enough.

“I want to do everything I can to get it out of the ground, but at the end of the day, the numbers have to work,” he said. “I don’t want to be my own worst enemy.”

Click here for the original article.

Posted in Neighborhood News, Northwest Denver, Sloan's Lake Neighborhood | Tagged , , ,

TONIGHT: West Colfax Food Co-op Informational Meeting


You’re invited to a West Colfax Food Co-op Informational Meeting TONIGHT from 6:00-7:15 pm. Healthy snacks will be provided.

The West Colfax Community Co-op is a proposed 4,500 sq. ft. grocery store that would be located right on the Colfax corridor and serve West Colfax, Villa Park, Sloan’s Lake and more neighborhoods. The food co-op would provide convenient access to fresh, healthy and culturally-relevant foods.

The West Colfax Community Co-op would be based on the following:

  • Fresh, healthy, affordable food in West Colfax
  • Prioritizing locally-sourced products when possible
  • Economically self-sustaining, with profits going back into the community
  • Celebrating culinary and cultural diversity through a welcoming, vibrant store environment
  • Fulfilling community needs through a cooperatively owned model

Learn what it takes to form a food co-op, why it would be good for our neighborhood, and how we can make this vision a reality.

4200 West Conejos Place
Denver, CO 80204

Posted in Neighborhood News, Northwest Denver, Sloan's Lake Neighborhood | Tagged , , , ,

St. Anthony Redevelopment Forcing Low Income Residents to Move

Fox31 writes:

Billie Whitecalf has lived in the same low income complex along the West Colfax corridor for more than a decade, but has no idea where she’ll live come April.  “I don`t know where to go.  I mean I can`t take my animal out on the street , it`s cold outside,” said an emotional Whitecalf.

She’s among two dozen residents being forced out by the redevelopment of nine square blocks near the old St. Anthony Hospital between Sloan’s Lake and West Colfax Avenue.

Residents of the Autumn Arms complex received letters on February 18, saying “you must vacate your apartment by March 31, 2015.”

The notice from the Saint Anthony’s Group LLC states “we understand that moving is a difficult and stressful process.”

Residents of the Autumn Arms, many of whom are elderly, disabled and low income, say moving will be more than stressful.

“I’m up the creek without paddle,” said 68-year-old Joyce Cheepo. The long-time resident says finding another two-bedroom for she and her husband at $650 a month will be impossible. “There’s no more $650 apartments,” said Cheepo who is dependent on an oxygen machine to breath. “I`ve lived here since 2002.  When I became terminally ill I thought this was my home.”

Thanks to a housing voucher Whitecalf pays $360 a month for rent.  A developer with the Saint Anthony’s Group LLC tells us the complex is being renovated into market rate apartments.  When it reopens this summer, rents for a one-bedroom unit are expected to go for $900 a month, far more than most of the residents say they could ever afford.  “It`s a major shock, it`s a major shock. I think I grew some more white hairs. I don`t know where I`m going to go,” cried Whitecalf.

Rick Padilla is Denver’s Directior of Housing and Neighborhood Services and he has nothing encouraging to say to the residents of the Autumn Arms. “The average rent in the city for a one-bedroom is $1,100 to $1,300, it`s very expensive.”

The Denver Housing Authority won’t be much help.  Last year 18,000 people entered a lottery for 1,000 housing subsidy vouchers. This year 23,000 people have applied.

In October, Mayor Michael Hancock held an affordable housing summit.

At the time he said the city intended to build 3,000 units of affordable housing in five years but admitted it’s not nearly enough.  “If we are to build a world-class city where everyone matters, we must have a housing infrastructure in which everyone who works hard and plays by the rules can find affordable housing for their families,” said Mayor Hancock.

The redevelopment of the old St. Anthony Hospital neighborhood shows the renaissance of Denver but also the challenges for long-time residents now being priced out of their own neighborhood.  “It`s impossible, because  there`s no way we`re going to find housing in the next 5 weeks. There`s no way,” complained Whitecalf.

Affordable housing is defined as not having to spend more than 30 percent of your income on housing.  In Denver, more than half of all renters make $30,000 a year or less, making it incredibly difficult to spend only 30 percent of your income on rent.

Click here for the original article and video of the news report.

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