Sloan's Lake and Berkeley Neighborhoods (Denver, Lakewood: middle-class, amusement park, crime)
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My wife and I have seen a lot of nice older homes in the Sloan's Lake and Berkeley neighborhoods. How do these neighborhoods compare in terms of schools, crime, etc. to other revitalized older neighbohoods in Denver? I would appreciate individual opinions of the area other than being referred to sites since I've done some research on the typical sites for schools, crime, etc. Thanks!
Both Sloan's Lake and Berkeley are really nice neighborhoods, and I think that they're only going to be more revitalized as time goes on. As I'm sure you know, prices have jumped quite a bit in North Denver in the last few years and I'm sure that will continue.
I think you'd be better off being a few streets off the major thoroughfares in both cases for noise reasons, and I'd think twice before being anywhere near Colfax (in the case of Sloan's Lake). Crime is an issue in the city for sure, but other than tagging, I think it's highly unlikely you'll be a victim.
As for schools, well you probably want to avoid North High, but I'm sure you already knew that. It's terrible -- avoid at all costs and try to get in DSST ( the science and Tech school) if you can. The elementary schools in the area are also not great, inferior to the city's better ones like Bromwell. Best elementary in the neighborhood is probably Academia Ana Marie Sandoval on 35th and Wyandot -- they are a charter montessori and bilingual, so you'd have to see if you agree with their methods. It's charter, but you'd have priority if you're in North Denver. Mayor Hick tried unsuccessfully to get his son Teddy into Sandoval, but because he was living in LoDo he was not part of the schools zone.
Tfox could you elaborate more on what you mean by "Berkeley is clearly the next Highland?" Thanks!
I'm sorry I was kind of vague.
Well, back in the bad old days when north Denver had long-since lost its luster and was in poor repair, some people discovered the Highland (actually the West Highland) neighborhood again, centered around 32nd and Lowell. That intersection became known as "Highland Square" and all of a sudden little boutiques, coffee shops, cafes, bookshops, etc replaced what was there before. Property values rose, everyone started fixing up their houses. Pretty soon you'd walk around Highland Square and you'd see thirtysomething middle-class couples out pushing babies in strollers. Since at the same time LoDo and the Platte Valley were starting their own transformation, the Highland neighborhood was the place people wanted to be in North Denver, just like Wash Park was in South/Central Denver. People liked the leafy, park oriented, single-family feel, the cute neighborhood meeting places, but also liked that they were a quick bike ride from the Platte Valley and LoDo beyond that.
So when I say it's the "new Highland," what I mean is that 32nd and Lowell is probably pretty stable right now, and a fairly spendy price tag to match. The revitalization process is pretty much complete there. But history is repeating itself further east along 32nd in East Highland (which has lagged behind but is now catching up), and up around 44th & Tennyson in the Berkeley area.
So, when I say that it's the new Highland, it looks like 44th and Tennyson (i.e., Berkeley) is becoming now like what 32nd and Lowell has already become in the past decade or so. However last time I checked it's more affordable than West Highland (but not for long I predict).
So I hope that clarifies what I mean when I say the "next highland" -- highland has definitely been discovered -- it has a lot of buzz and seems to be the neighborhood du jour. Berkeley has been discovered too, but it's a little more of a secret than Highland since it was discovered a little later.
I live in the highlands area about 10 blocks south of 32nd and Lowell. My husband and I love it! We feel very safe in our house and have not seen any crime in our area other than the tagging which the other poster mentioned. Personally, I would have to recommend the Highlands area I think the return on your investment for a house there is more guaranteed than by Berkley park. I have many friends with houses in both neighborhoods and I think they feel the same. Both are good areas outside the city but there has been more revitalization done in the Highlands than Berkley. I live in a subdivision called East Bay which is wonderful it is right on (adjacent to) Sloan's Lake and the houses are all about 10-12 years old so you get more square footage than the craftsman style bungalows that are also at a higher price point. The highlands are more expensive but the costs keep going up and the houses are holding their value which is about all you can ask for.
I was just posting a thread for my house actually when I saw your questions hope another persons input helps make your decision.
I live in Berkely, just off of 38th & Tennyson. I would have to disagree about getting a higher return on your investment in Highland. It is hard to find a good deal in Highland. If you can find the diamond in the rough then you will definitely get a better return. Berkely isn't cheap but you still can find a good deal or a fixer upper. The homes in Berkely aren't generally as charming as those in Highland but there are still plenty of really cute homes.
Off topic but I heard from a store owner on Tennyson St. that the Berkely area used to be called Highlands until the city of Denver decided to give the name to the current Highland area. It makes sense if you look at the location/geography of Berkely.
I live just North of Berkeley Park in the small Adam's County Part of Arvada, north on Tennyson. I have been around this neighborhood for over 20 years, and in the Denver metro for over 30 years, and I have seen the changes and the transitions in North Denver. I have written much on this forum of my experiences in this area and a search would be helpful as I do not want to repeat the info.
A big change in this area is caused by the redevelopment of the old Elitch's Garden Amusement Park which is now called Highlands' Garden Village because the name Elitch's belongs to the new park on the Platte. It has certainly changed the character of the neighborhood and caused a rejuvenation of The Tennyson's street shops and areas along West 38th, including areas into Wheat Ridge.
I never consider the area around Sloan's Lake and Berkeley as a bad neighborhood. It was a little rough along West 38th toward Downtown but I think much of that has diminished. Much of the credit has to go the Leprinos Foods which continued to improve the headquarters on 38th and did not abandon the area as it got older. Leprinos Foods is the largest manufacturer and distributor of mozzarella cheese in the world and started in North Denver.
Some of the area, especially south of West 38th and just north of Sloan's Lake has always been an exclusive area with expensive homes, much more than any areas in North Denver. There are some infilled developments that mirror the neighborhood with back alleys.
I think Sloan's Lake and Berkeley are superior to West Highland for the reason that it is near the basic shopping along Sheridan in Wheat Ridge, Edgewater and Lakewood. You cannot survive on just expensive little shops, you also need good grocery and general merchandise. As North Denver has improved, these areas has also attracted more businesses.
I am constantly going to Berkeley Lake Park, Rocky Mountain Lake Park, Sloan's Lake, the Library on West 44th, Sunflower Market in Highlands Village, Safeway at 44th and Lowell and I like to stroll along Tennyson Street Shops. I have never run into any problems with crime. You will see many old people walking, young mothers with baby strollers, joggers all intermingling in a mixed neighborhood of Hispanics, Italian Americans, now more Asians and new immigrants from Eastern Europe.It is not a neighborhood where it got really poor and dangerous and people left, many people have lived there for generations and now welcome the new, rich and less affluent.
It must be noted that the area has a strong influence of the Roman Catholic Church with Holy Family Parish and its Senior Center and high school, St. Vincent's Home, Sister's of the Poor Home, Regis University and many more Senior Residences that are too many to mention. In addition, there is a Christian Homes for Children and the largest Vietnamese Catholic Church right near in Wheat Ridge. There is also a Buddhist Temple in the area and I see monks periodically.
Also, there are many well established old christian churches there are the older catholic parishes along West 38th in Denver and a Convent. Let us not forget Potenza Hall, named after the region of the many Italian Immigrants. I could go on and one with other facilities but to summarize, I believe all these "religions" have been a good stabilizing influence in this neighborhood. I say that as an Atheist--there is much to say about the good of profound believes, in being kind to your fellow man.
Being a former New Yawker, it reminds me of some old eastern neighborhoods that are well, just very nice diverse and interesting areas to
Last edited by livecontent; 03-06-2009 at 12:39 PM..
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