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14th Street Makeover

Here’s a press release from the Downtown Denver Partnership with good news!

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Downtown Denver’s 14th Street will soon emerge has a vibrant pedestrian-oriented thoroughfare, thanks to the successful result of the November 3rd election in which private property owners along the street voted to contribute $4 million to the overall $14 million cost of the streetscaping project through the formation of a general improvement district.

Through this public-private initiative, sidewalks will be expanded, encouraging outdoor seating and ground floor shopping and dining uses that will bolster the experience one has when walking down the street. Key elements include the addition of about 200 trees, as well as new flower planters, better “wayfinding” signage, crosswalk bulb-outs, improved pedestrian lighting, decorative street corner monuments, bike racks and enhanced maintenance. A dedicated bicycle lane will be added in the street and on-street parking will be retained.

14th Street is becoming known as the “Ambassador Street” due to the diversity of visitor-oriented uses found along this corridor, including the Colorado Convention Center, the Denver Performing Arts Complex, the Hyatt Regency at Colorado Convention Center, and four other new or recently-constructed hotels. Altogether, $1.5 billion in public and private investments have been made along the corridor since 2002. The new streetscaping project will build on these investments to strengthen this new identity. The district covers the entire the 12 block length between Market Street and Colfax Avenue and extends approximately one-half block on either side of 14th Street.

“With the completion of this ambitious plan, 14th Street will serve as an excellent complement to the 16th Street Mall,” said Tami Door, President & CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. “Consistent with the vision of the 2007 Downtown Area Plan, 14th Street will truly be a magnet for pedestrians, which will benefit residents, business owners and the overall community.”

The project will cost roughly $14 million, with property owners contributing $4 million,
and $10 million coming out of the Better Denver Bond Program, which was created in 2007.

“14th Street will see improvements on every level, from bike lanes to traffic signals, to sidewalk improvements and other placemaking installations for a truly multi-modal corridor,” said Deputy Mayor and Manager of Public Works, Bill Vidal. “The project is unique in that in addition to the Better Denver Bond funds, we have the property owners contributing to the improvements and we are thrilled to see this public private partnership moving forward.”

Meeting and consulting with property owners in the District was a four year process, assumed by the City, the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District and the Downtown Denver Partnership. A consultant team including Parsons Brinkerhoff, CRL & Associates and studioINSITE assisted with design and consensus building services. From February 2009 to June 2009, eight two hour workshops were held with interested property owners, other stakeholders, City representatives and representatives from the Downtown Denver Partnership.

“We are glad we could contribute to a greater ‘sense of place’ along 14th Street,” said Josh Fine of Focus Property Group. “As property owners in the area, we recognized the opportunity we had not only to improve the value of what we own, but the type of experience people have when they’re here.”

Construction is slated to begin in the summer of 2010 with the goal of completion in the fall of 2011.

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Here is a 3D animation video of the project, modeled and produced by Parsons Brinkerhoff’s Project Visualization Group in Denver. Animation team: Brian Peterson (Viz lead), Eric Martens, Leslie Hodgdon (PM), Ryan Sander, Barry Bankhead, Larissa Holderness, and Sara Wedul (AE Intro).

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27 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Feels nice and it definitely will be great to walk down the street. I'm still not a fan of the Bell Tower hanging out there on Speer Blvd. If a tower ever goes up on Lawrence and 14th that might help tie it all together, but right now it feels like its own little high end oasis, which is maybe the point. There is definitely a glaring gap at Lawrence with the parking lot. The rest is filling in nicely. Almost feels urban!

    It was interesting to see the still speculative Bell Tower, was in the movie but the new completed Auraria Science building is not. I guess the point was 14th St. However Auraria has a new presence on the edge of this district and looks great now that the fence is down.

  2. pizzuti says:

    This is pretty exciting! The best possible news we could get in the development off-season of a recession when private projects are waning.

    I'm interested to see how much effort is made to have this architecturally "match" the 16th Street Mall, or if doing that is even necessary.

    On one hand it's interesting to see how thin $14 million gets spread when it comes to big outdoor urban projects. Some of these funds must be going to hiring a maintenance staff or installing something underground, because what I saw in the video didn't look like $1.16 million a block. I'm not complaining, because this money goes a lot farther here than it would if it were put into one block or one building project.

    On the other hand, the thing I'm most excited about are the trees, because they will continue to get better year by year as they grow and have an increasing impact, and it takes a surprising amount of underground work to make room for them to grow in the urban setting.

    The video is incredibly well-done. I thought the Sim-City style music as we pan over Denver is cute. How good did the Bell Tower look! And how awful will those surface parking lots seem when they're backed against all this!?

  3. BHeb says:

    Fantastic!

    Any idea on the timeline?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Looks good. Let's just make sure that we don't have lots of silly clutter on the sidewalks. Planters, trees, yes. Long and linear open walkways, yes. But not the silly stuff we have on the 16th street mall, please, no.

  5. Allen says:

    How might this affect future development along the 16th street mall?

  6. RGP says:

    Fantastic. Finally a decent public/private project that makes sense and one that will pay dividends for many years to come. Hopefully in spurring more infill development on that corridor. Bravo!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Awesome video and I like the plan! It was cool to see the Bell Tower at the beginning of the video. Also, what is that tower next to The Hilton Garden Inn on 14th Street?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Video well done… love seeing Denver becoming more of an urban center. My one suggestion would be putting a Macy's/Nordstrom's downtown along with other stores plus an open market from around CO to really cause more people within Denver to be DT–giving a more urban/NY feel. In visiting Seattle I was so impressed by how DT Seattle is the center of the city.

  9. Anonymous says:

    What is that skyscraper that is rendered behind the hilton garden inn? I haven't heard anything about a potential project there.

  10. hIstorymystery says:

    I too was reminded of SimCity–particularly SimCity 3000, which had an extended opening montage. No disasters in this video, though….probably a good thing.

  11. kyle says:

    I am very excited to see this project moving forward. I think it will do wonders to DT and will make 14th street the new "it" place in downtown in the future. I too am curious as to how this will affect 16th St. I think with the new union station plans, there will be plenty of foot traffic to energize both corridors.

    Hopefully, this streetscape will further enhance the "theater district" character. I only wish that AT&T would let the old Telegraph bulding become something more engaging with the area and not shut off from everything and everyone around it.

    With the amount of hardscape work to be done and with all the permits needed, 14 million dosn't seem far off. I think most people are shocked at the price off a lot of out door features/amenities.

    All in all, this is great news!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I agree… love the Sim City Video!! Sixteen Street Mall is goood but doesn't drive people who live here to it… 14th Street with the Opera/Performing Arts building adding major shopping DT and an open market would really drive more locals to DT.

  13. Saint says:

    Awesome news. And well done video. Makes me not be able to wait until I can move back from Denver after Peace Corps.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I thought there would be some video screens around the Theatre District portion of 14th. Speaking of video screens, there are a few of them being installed at the Pavillions already; two of which are on the 16th street side.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Please tell me some of the money is going to be put towards demolishing the AT&T windowless eyesore…. PLEASE!

  16. Anonymous says:

    I am really glad to see this streetscape project under way. It will make a tremendous difference to the pedestrian experience, and tie 14th Street together nicely. A similar improvement project for Curtis Street from 14th to 20th (or at least 17th)is also badly needed.

    I agree, AT&T needs to give that eyesore building a complete facelift, and add ground floor retail if possible. It is sad that the ugliest building in Denver is in such a visible location.

  17. SC48 says:

    This is good news. I'm hoping that once the economy rebounds, this will help spur development on the east-end of 14th – there are far too many surface lots there for such a prime location. Maybe some apartment buildings, I'm less enthusiastic about hotel and commercial development.

    I visited 1600 Glenarm recently and the leasing rep. stated that they have a 99% occupancy rate – while that's probably an exaggeration, they still seem to be doing pretty well. Hopefully a savvy developer with access to some capital will take a hint and build some more apartments in that area around Tremont/14th – not everything needs to be condos to enhance the city.

    My only concern is the mall. If we start making 14th so nice, what will happen to the already down-at-the-heels middle stretch of the mall? Hopefully that will not be ignored.

  18. Kyle says:

    I believe they are currently installing 2 very large signs (I think moving billboards) on the DPAC parking garage on 14th and Arapahoe.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Great video. Denver's own little Rodeo Drive; except we will say it right lol. It looks like they are going to remove a lane and add parking and a bike lane. I am fine with this and it makes the area more livable. I hope some of the money will be saved for future care of the added vegetation; so many times improvements are made without continued care for the added trees plants etc and then it looks worse than before the improvements.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Well, all I see is that they are adding a bunch of trees and maybe some fancy sidewalk pavers. Other than that, I don't see anything different than what is there currently? Seems like a waste of millions of dollars for a pedestrian walk when there is already the mother of all pedestrian walks two blocks over. If they are going to spend millions of dollars on projects to improve the appearance of Denver, how about spending a couple million and moving the Denver Rescue Mission on Lawrence street some place far far away from the city center. I think that if you move the mentally disturbed, drug addicted element of Denver away from where the tourism is centered, you might see Denver have a higher profile in the nations eye. Mayor Hink is slacking on his bullying.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Awesome video presentation! I forwarded to all my friends in Albuquerque so they can see how much ABQ sucks ! you dont really realize how much Denver is growing and how cool it has become until you see from a different angle. congratulations!

  22. David says:

    is this part of the denver "theatre district?" sorry, but slapping some electronic billboards alongside a giant parking lot will not turn the block into times square.

  23. BHeb says:

    David – I agree. While I am excited that they are trying to create a theatre district once again, I struggle to accept that slapping screens on the side of the parking lot will do the trick. They really ought to find a tasteful way to do it at the entrance to the theatres on 14th and Curtis… in addition to other screens other places. I have long wished they reworked that entire intersection… Opened it up, more inviting, street activity…

    As far as anons comments about moving the rescue mission. I think that is truly unfortunate to suggest they move it "far far away." There are PLENTY of other things that Denver could do to improve its downtown, and that is not necessarily one of them. This idea that if we hide the problem so rich suburbans can feel "safe" downtown is ridiculous. The mission must be centrally located in order to be available to those it serves. That said… enough development takes place in that area over the next several years, and likely your wish will come true. Mayor Hick should stay out of it though.

  24. Anonymous says:

    ^^Anon at 6:51pm,

    I like how you so seamlessly combine your anti-spending and anti-homeless views. As if we didn't know where you were coming from, politically.

    *rolls eyes*

  25. pizzuti says:

    David, I think the "theater district" idea comes less from the billboards and more from the theaters on 14th Street.

    Also, Times Square may be in NYC's theater district, but I'm not sure how Denver needs to "turn the block into times square" to have a theater district here. Why does it have to be the same thing?

    Maybe if we called it the "special events district" the naming would be more accurate since much of what goes on at t he Convention Center is not theater related, but that name sounds awful. I like calling it a theater district, or theater and arts district. I don't think we need NYC-style ambitions to have a successful theme.

  26. Anonymous says:

    What ever happened to the "Bell Tower"? it looks good virtually but currrently, there is still a parking lot there.

  27. Jellyneck says:

    I'm not sure I get what all the fuss is about. 14 million is a drop in the bucket, and 14th street is still fairly lifeless. But I mean, I guess flowers are nice and stuff.