Trailblazing: Zuma Condominiums, Denver, CO
New Condominium Project in a Rapidly Gentrifying Area
Denver Highlands Neighborhood
The original pioneers of Denver’s Highlands neighborhood headed north across the Platte River in search of fresh air, clean water and a more moral lifestyle than was found downtown. Originally, the neighborhood was a city, incorporated in 1875, and the name originated from the region’s location on a hill overlooking downtown. Home to more than 35 subdivisions, most of which still exist today, the Highlands was annexed in 1896 and became an official suburb of Denver. Today, young residents are flocking to the area, drawn by its historic charm and many restaurants, clubs, bars and boutiques. The gentrification has driven up home prices and rental rates in the area; since 2012, home prices in West Highland (where Zuma is located) have risen 24% and are predicted to rise further this year. Rental rates have risen over 21% since 2012 and rates are on average 22% higher in West Highlands than in the city of Denver (Zillow).
When we learned of the opportunity to acquire Zuma – a newly-built, 18-unit condominium building with 2,700 square feet of retail in the Highlands – we jumped at the chance. The project was built in 2008 as for-sale condominiums and was foreclosed upon by the construction lender in 2012 before any units were sold. We purchased the project, which was being operated as a rental community, from the successor owner in December 2013. In addition to its new construction, exciting location and large floor plans, we were attracted to Zuma because it offered dual exit strategies including the sale of individual condominiums or bulk sale of the property as a multi-family investment.
Since acquiring the property, we have completed several common area improvements including new illuminated monument signage, lobby furniture, wall art and the installation of storage units and wall-mounted bike racks. At the end of 2014, we had increased rents on all residential units and the property is currently 100% occupied. We plan to list Zuma for sale in February.