Jeff Plous believes he has all of the ingredients for a mouth-watering infill townhome development in Denver.
Plous, a real estate broker with One Realty, and his partner, veteran developer Paul Stann, are developing eight units on the original Cafe Brazil restaurant near West 36th Avenue and Navajo Street, in the trendy Lower Highland neighborhood.
Each townhome unit will have almost 2,000 square feet of space, three bedrooms and three-plus bathrooms.
Units will be priced from $525,000, which Plous believes is the sweet spot for homes that size in trendy LoHi. Units will include private decks, plus a balcony off the living rooms. Kitchens will have Bosch appliances.
The townhome project will even have an eco-friendly “green,” roof, which he believes is the first of its kind.
Plous and Stann are coming to this development after a huge success on Tennyson 7, which they are building a few miles to the west. That Berkeley development sold out soon after construction started.
The only thing the development on the old Cafe Brazil site, is a name.
So starting today, Plous is launching a contest to name the community on Navajo Street.
The contest runs until Friday and the winner gets a $50 gift card to the new Cafe Brazil, which moved to a bigger space on Lowell Boulevard and West 44th Avenue a number of years ago.
“Everybody worked so hard to come up with the concept, the floor plans, the site, the features, but we didn’t have a name,” Plous said.
“It’s an old Italian neighborhood, so we thought we might come up with something that reflected its Italian heritage, but everything sounded kind of cheesy. Lower Highland is very popular, so we thought of working Lower Highland or LoHi might be kind of fun, but everything we came up with also sounded kind of cheesy.”
Cafe Brazil itself has its own cachet, and perhaps the name should pay tribute to the restaurant, Plous said.
This is how wordsmith Bill St. John described the restaurant in 1990, in a review for the Rocky Mountain New: “Nothing’s finer than finding a diner and walking into a wall of garlic. Paulo Rossi, the funky, electric chef of Cafe Brazil , scents the very best. Try his chewy fried calamari rings, lake-laughing-fresh fried smelts or piquant, richly sauced morsels of marinated and grilled beef.”
The original Cafe Brazil also has a personal tie to a member of Plous’s team.
“Anchen Wang, (who is designing it), worked there while he was going to college,” Plous said.
Other than the lack of a name, it truly is a 5-star development, Plous believes.
“We picked the site because we really wanted to do something in Lower Highland,” Plous said. “It had been abandoned for more than 10 years, I think. Since the restaurant closed, nothing had been done with that site. It has great views and is next to this beautiful church (Our Lady of Mount Carmel.) Residents will feel safe being next to the church.”
Also, the building was in such bad shape that there was no chance of it being renovated.
“We like the idea of tearing down something that is unsavable,” Plous said. “There was the restaurant building and a house on the site and they were both unsavable. We are going to replace it with something, much, much better.”
One feature will be the green roof.
Environmentalists like green roofs, as grass and plants can cool areas by reducing what is known as the Urban Heat Island. Green roofs can capture noxious gases and dust particles, helping to reduce smog.
The EPA building in downtown Denver has a green roof, although they are not as common here as in other parts of the country because of the semi-arid climate.
Additionally, Plous and Stann are fulfilling an apparent consumer need by providing a grass carpet on the roof.
“At Tennyson 7, a lot of buyers said they would like to have a yard,” Plous said. “But it was not possible to have a yard in an urban townhome development like that. So we said, “Let’s put the grass on the roof and that will be kind of like having a backyard.”
To vote for a name for the townhome development on the old Cafe Brazil site in LoHi, contact Jeff Plous or leave the name as a comment under this article.
To see what else is available for sale in the LoHi neighborhood, please visit COhomefinder.com.