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  • Writer's pictureEric Burtzlaff, PE

Raptor Civil on Development of South Federal Multifamily Project

Mile High CRE recently featured a Denver Multifamily project that Raptor Civil Engineering has been collaborating with. The project is a new three-story multi-family apartment development located on the block of 2720 South Federal Blvd in Denver, Colorado. Currently titled as the South Federal Flats, named after the road along which it will be constructed - this planned community will boast a 57 unit community. The community is planning a mixture of 2-bedroom, 1-bedroom, and studio units. The goal of the project according to the building team Sustainable Design Build and Raptor Civil Engineering is to provide the area around Loretto Heights Campus with a walkable and modern living situation that will fit nicely within the current Denver neighborhood infrastructure. Appeasing housing and density, the multifamily building also provides walkability just blocks away from the West Harvard Gulch Bike Trail. Currently, the project is navigating the City of Denver Planning and Development Process and building plans are in submittal phases which target a groundbreaking date in Q3 of 2021.

Civil Engineering Speeds up Entitlements by being a part of Development Team

Civil engineering for planned communities is an extensive and thorough process. Many requirements need to be met in order to ensure the added residents complement the existing area. With this in mind, simply hiring a civil engineer for calculations and plans alone is not enough. A seasoned civil engineering firm will be a part of the development and building team in order to smoothly and efficiently manage comments from the City of Denver’s Planning and Development department. The entitlement process is difficult enough for those to navigate but consistent collaboration through communication is needed to maximize time and avoid scope-creep. This drastically affects timelines before and during construction so no stops are made.

Experience in Denver Returns Better Civil Engineers

Navigating Denver Planning and Development’s entitlement process is long and extensive as is. Experience in Denver’s environment alone is worth a great deal when considering civil engineering firms, as more experience will better guarantee a faster approval time. But at the same time, thoughtful design choices with the existing land must be made to circumvent requirements needed by City departments. Eric Burtzlaff, the head of Raptor Civil Engineering gave his perspective about the aforementioned project citing unique challenges found with this project.

“Raptor Civil Engineering, LLC, a Colorado-based civil engineering firm, spearheaded this project’s entitlement process as not just the Civil Engineering consultant but also the applicant and project manager of sub-consultants on the project. RCE’s extensive experience with the Denver entitlement process led to quick approvals and thoughtful design to maximize buildable area. One of the most interesting design decisions on the project was detention and water quality design. After analysis of the site layout, we opted to take detention underground to maximize the buildable area. We used an underground chamber system and met Denver’s water quality requirements with an above-ground water quality bioretention pond. These systems worked together to find a solution that worked for both the client and City of Denver reviewers.”

Civil engineers in Denver have many challenges to face with each unique project, the goals through the entitlement process are important in order to deliver a product in a timely manner. But also there are many considerations that need to be made as far as the design goes in order to avoid project delays from Denver’s Planning and Development department. Raptor Civil Engineering saw opportunities to maximize buildable space while at the same time managing expectations with wastewater department's concern for detention and water quality design. Hiring the right civil engineer can save the client time and money well in excessive of the engineer's design fee. RCE not only provides thoughtful design but, also, prides themselves on being an integrated member of the design team helping to push the entire project forward.

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