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Evans, a real estate agent with Keller Williams, said he would like to see "quality townhomes" or possibly a high-quality restaurant on the site.

"Nobody is opposed to seeing an old run-down restaurant torn down," he said of Baby Doe's. "We just want it replaced with something that will not just make the developer happy."

Although it's too early to estimate the dollar value of the project or monthly rents, O'Donnell said land prices and construction prices likely will "drive projects like this toward middle- and upper-income renters. This is not going to be a shoddy, cheaper project."

He said the "ideal" scenario would be to make it 100 percent rental because that is the core business of Spanos. But he said Spanos has built some for-sale homes in other parts of the country.

Another member of the neighborhood group, Rafael Espinoza, said neighbors have been inundated with "hearsay and innuendo" about the Spanos project for the past four months, and he was disturbed that O'Donnell had met with city officials before meeting with neighbors.

"It looks (like) you are trying to handle it at such a high level that it would bypass us," Espinoza said.

But O'Donnell responded, "We look forward and anticipate a public process with plenty of community involvement. Personally, I do not want to be involved with a project that is just rammed through or attempted to be rammed through."

Neighbors fear losing views of the Denver skyline, above, as seen from Riverside Baptist Church, next door to the Baby Doe's Matchless Mine, left, and Chili Pepper restaurants. The structures could be demolished to make way for apartments proposed by a company owned by San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos.

rebchookj@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-892-5207

Copyright 2005, Rocky Mountain News. All Rights Reserved.

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