Re-Envisioning the Denver Coliseum

DenverInfill had the privilege to partner this year with NAIOP-Colorado to promote the Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge, the annual high-profile competition between the real estate programs at the University of Colorado and the University of Denver. This year’s challenge, as discussed in my post of April 20, involved a re-envisioning of the Denver Coliseum property near I-70 and Brighton Boulevard in the Elyria-Swansea neighborhood.

The challenge focused on a 46-acre site that included the Coliseum and its parking lots to the southwest toward Globeville Landing Park. The site sits at the crossroads of the redeveloping area north of Downtown that features nearby the RiNo arts district, future FasTracks transit stations, South Platte River amenities, and excellent highway access. One of the competition’s main assumptions was that the Coliseum had to remain the property of the city and continue as an entertainment venue. For all of the program’s rules and requirements, review the document included with the April 20 post.

Last night, over 600 people packed the ballroom at the Downtown Marriott to hear the two teams’ presentations and the selection of the winner. The result: the University of Colorado was victorious and snapped a four-year DU winning streak. Congratulations CU!  Both teams, however, put forth excellent presentations that offered innovative, yet different potential futures for the Coliseum area. I’m happy that DenverInfill is able to present both teams’ proposals from last night.

CU envisioned the site as the Denver Center for Creating Art, with the Coliseum reconfigured as a performance and rehearsal venue and new development providing space for the Art Institute of Colorado and other arts-related businesses. Below is CU’s proposed site plan and here are links to PDFs of CU’s executive summary (1.6 MB) and full presentation (14.7 MB).

2010 RMREC - CU Team Site Plan

DU, on the other hand, envisioned the site as the Frontier Center at the Denver Coliseum, a complex focused on “agri-tech” and alternative energy education and business development, with a conference center and incubator space for entrepreneurial businesses focused on these evolving industries. A site plan from the DU presentation is below, and here are links to PDFs of DU’s executive summary (0.6 MB) and full presentation (6.1 MB).

2010 RMREC - DU Team Site Plan

While both plans represent academic exercises only and do not necessarily reflect what will eventually be planned for the Coliseum, the potential for the site as described by both teams is exciting and gives Denver citizens and its leaders plenty to consider as the Coliseum area transforms into a vibrant extension of our urban core. Congratulations to the students from both schools, and many thanks to everyone at NAIOP and the City involved in organizing this year’s Rocky Mountain Real Estate Challenge and for their efforts to enhance the quality of both universities’ real estate programs and to promote excellence in Denver’s urban environment.

By | 2013-05-27T04:22:01+00:00 May 6, 2010|Categories: Adaptive Reuse, Brownfield, Events & Meetings, Infill, Plans & Policies, River North|7 Comments


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  2. Paul May 7, 2010 at 1:20 am

    Both plans are fantastic. Now if Denver could somehow find a way to get both a “Denver Center for Creating Art” and a “Frontier Center” somewhere within its borders, it would be quite an accomplishment.

  3. bryan May 7, 2010 at 8:39 am

    these are both pretty boring i’d say…nice that they have an arts focus…but how about some business and residential? how about some height and density? this will be a train station stop 1.5 miles from the center – ideal for a mini-village.

  4. Aaron May 7, 2010 at 10:14 am

    I really like the CU arts idea though not sold on the title. I would have liked to see the southern section not be surface lots.

    But all said it seemed more innovative and something that could give that whole area a new identity other then the warehouse/industrial area that sometimes has a stock show. It would also have the potential to attract artists to the area and artists traditionally have been early adopters of neighborhoods about to rebound.

    Also the Colosseum retrofit seemed like a place that could attract tourists and their dollars to that area as well.

    Hope the city takes it and runs with it (at least a feasibility study).

  5. scott May 7, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Your in an area stuck right under the interstate so I don’t think residential and retail make a ton of sense when you have all of Arapahoe Square and a ton of other space between the coliseum and CBD that should be developed. I think both of the ideas are pretty interesting but at the same time it would not be disappointing to me if they tore the whole thing down or left it as is for monster trucks and Disney on ice and what not. Seems like resources could be better spent in other parts of teh city. Its a tough area to work with but thumbs up to the students for making the best of the project given.

  6. Matt Pizzuti May 8, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I like the first proposal, IF and only if the surface parking lots are developed.

    And I would definitely request that the light rail line includes a stop there.

  7. Bri Guy May 11, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    I think reenvisioning the Coliseum as part of AI-CO campus is a very innovative idea. I also like their siting plan.

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