Rapid development threatens Santa Fe arts district's funky character – Axios

Denver
Axios Denver is an Axios company.
The signature funk of Denver's Art District on Santa Fe Drive may be fading.
What's happening: Rapid development in a historically underserved area is raising rents and property taxes, pushing people out and threatening to upend the neighborhood's character and spoil the delicate dance between art, commerce and historic preservation.
Why it matters: The shift is seen as a warning symbol for both the artistic and Chicano communities — people who have called the area home for decades.
State of play: Several major housing developments are underway, changing the look and feel of the neighborhood — and many more are being proposed.
What they're saying: "I hope Santa Fe doesn't become anything like RiNo, but I'm afraid it's heading that direction with all of these new buildings going in," says Damon McLeese, executive director of Access Gallery, a nonprofit representing artists with disabilities.
The big picture: The city has taken steps to preserve the area's history and improve its infrastructure in anticipation of the explosive growth.
The bottom line: Keeping artists and residents in the area will require thoughtful development, locals tell Axios. The arts district will need a variety of businesses to remain vibrant, but also mindful developers who understand and value the community.
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