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Denver buying gym-turned-migrant shelter in Athmar Park neighborhood for $4 million

A migrant encampment along 27th Avenue near Zuni Street in Denver on Dec. 15, 2023. (Andy Cross/The Denver Post/TNS)

Denver will pay $4 million to purchase a property that the city is already using to shelter migrant families who have newly arrived from the U.S. southern border.

The City Council on Monday signed off on a purchase agreement for the building at 375 S. Zuni St. and a neighboring vacant lot at 333 S. Zuni St. in Athmar Park.

The agreement passed as part of the council’s consent agenda, signaling broad support.

Denver Community Church owns the properties today.

The city has been leasing the former gymnasium building at 375 S. Zuni as a group shelter for migrant families since 2023, Lisa Lumley, the city’s director of real estate director, told council members at a committee hearing earlier this month. The roughly 10,000-square-foot building has room for 120 people for either daytime or nighttime sheltering, according to Lumley.

The purchase is expected to be finalized by the end of June. Lumley emphasized that if the city ever considered redeveloping the properties, officials would launch a public engagement campaign and seek neighbor’s input.

The city’s $90 million migrant response budget this year included roughly $10 million for purchasing and upgrading facilities.


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