Real Estate & Construction  July 1, 2022

Casa Lou Cardenas brings new mixed-use space to downtown Longmont

LONGMONT — As Jennifer Peterson spent decades living and raising her family in Longmont, she would often drive through the intersection of Main Street and Ninth Avenue and notice the ugly strip mall buildings sitting on the northeast corner. 

One car ride, she commented to her family that she wished someone would knock them down and build something beautiful there. Her youngest son replied that she would do it someday. 

Now, Peterson is making that vision a reality. She is redeveloping that corner into Casa Lou Cardenas, a mixed-use project that is designed to honor the legacy of a Longmont woman, beautify the area and catalyze more development in the northern part of downtown.

“I just started dreaming big,” Peterson said. 

Casa Lou Cardenas will be a three-story building featuring five commercial spaces and six residential units. The commercial units will range in size from 400 square feet to 1,700 square feet. Five of the apartments will be two bed, two-and-a-half bath. One will be one-bed, one-and-a-half bath. All of the apartments will have their own rooftop patios.

This is the first commercial project for Peterson and her development company, JSY Properties. 

The project is named for Eloyeda “Lou” Cardenas, a longtime Longmont community leader who died in 2017. A fierce advocate for senior citizens, Cardenas founded Longmont’s first senior center in 1971 and served on the board for the city’s current senior center. She was also a board member for Meals on Wheels and played a large role in the establishment of Longmont’s bus transit services. Cardenas was also committed to improving the lives of Longmont’s Hispanic residents.

“Lou really embodies the vision for what I want to accomplish,” Peterson said. “She helped Longmont become a truly welcoming place for people from all walks of life. She was really working toward diversity and equity and inclusion before anyone was using those words.”

Peterson said she is marketing directly to the Hispanic business community in Longmont to fill the building’s retail spaces with a diverse group of tenants. 

Casa Lou Cardenas will also be at the forefront of sustainability, with energy efficiency exceeding city code by 12%, said the project’s architect, Thomas Moore of Thomas Moore Architects.

Moore said the building will feature an advanced, airtight envelope along with energy recovery ventilation to create an efficient system that cuts down on tenants’ utility bills. 

Casa Lou Cardenas is expected to break ground in August, with completion slated for fall 2023. When it’s finished, the hope is that it will spur additional development activity along the northern stretch of downtown Longmont.

“We have met with the Longmont Downtown Development Authority, and they are in support of seeing the downtown ambiance grow at least to that corner and beyond,” Moore said. “As a catalyst, this should encourage better development of projects north of us.”

Said Peterson: “I wanted to build something beautiful and functional that creates a sense of place and sense of community.”

LONGMONT — As Jennifer Peterson spent decades living and raising her family in Longmont, she would often drive through the intersection of Main Street and Ninth Avenue and notice the ugly strip mall buildings sitting on the northeast corner. 

One car ride, she commented to her family that she wished someone would knock them down and build something beautiful there. Her youngest son replied that she would do it someday. 

Now, Peterson is making that vision a reality. She is redeveloping that corner into Casa Lou Cardenas, a mixed-use project that is designed to honor the legacy of a Longmont woman, beautify…

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