Denver mayor election: Robert Treta says housing is key to city’s problems

All roads lead back to the Denver Building Department, Robert Treta said.

He’s complained for years, decades even and now Treta said he’s ready to step in and try to fix the city’s biggest problems, which all trickle out from the same source.

“If you back up the train on Denver’s problems, no matter what they are… they ultimately come back the same thing,” Treta said. “Housing is unaffordable in the city.”

That’s an issue Treta, a contractor, said he knows how to fix, so he announced his candidacy in Denver’s crowded mayoral field.

A New Jersey native, Treta said he moved to Denver in 1996 for a job with Nordstrom but within six months left the company and returned to his roots as a builder and general contractor.

“Been doing that ever since,” he said.

Back then Treta, 54, said builders could head into Denver’s Building Department with their blueprints. In less than an hour they could walk out again with their building permit in hand.

Now he estimated the process takes more than a year.

“They’ve turned the building department into this huge bureaucracy,” Treta said.

Longer wait times, red tape and an ocean of building codes all mean the same thing, Treta said. Building homes and apartment buildings is much more expensive than it used to be and all of that extra costs are passed on to customers.

Rapidly rising housing costs means more people slip into homelessness, Treta said.

“When people don’t have a place to call home, some of them give up and resort to drugs,” he said.

Others resort to crime, Treta said. The sum of all those parts add up to a less-desirable, less-safe and more-expensive city for its residents.

Denver wasn’t like this when he moved here in the 1990s, Treta said. The city felt affordable, like he could start a family here. And he did.

Treta said he’s built dozens of projects since moving to Colorado. Some in Denver, others elsewhere in the state. He even built some in Mexico, where he lived for a few years.

“Homes for myself… vacation rentals… fancy homes with elevators, multimillion-dollar homes, very basic homes,” Treta said.

Currently Treta said he’s building a six-unit Airbnb and charging station in Limon for cross-country Tesla drivers.

Because Treta understands how to build, he said he understands how to solve Denver’s problems stemming from a lack of housing. Fix that problem and much of the rest will follow, he said.

The contractor said he’s also spent time teaching English in Japan, working for major companies – like Nordstrom – and started his own business. He has other ideas for Denver as well, including enforcing a camping ban within the city and erecting a temporary sanctioned encampment for people experiencing homelessness near the airport.

While leaning on the temporary encampment Treta said he’d work to build 7,000 cubicle homes, measuring 16 feet by 16 feet, which could house the area’s homeless for a flat $200 million.

“I’ve done the math, I know exactly how I’m going to do it,” he said. “I will be the general contractor and the mayor of this city.”

Treta said he’d also prepare Denver for a wave of electric vehicles, in part, by encouraging that more solar panels be installed across the city. His first act as mayor would be to prohibit any plumbing or vents on southern-facing roofs, which unnecessarily block solar panels.

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