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New Lower Downtown Project: 1350 16th Street

You may recall before the 2008 economic meltdown that Sage Hospitality was working on bringing a W Hotel and Residences to the corner of 16th and Market where the Office Depot is currently located. Unfortunately, like so many other proposals, that project didn’t survive the crash.

Now, four years later, the economy is much improved and new projects are popping up everywhere in the Downtown area, so it should come as no surprise that Sage is again moving forward with developing their 16th & Market property, one of the best development sites in Downtown. This time, however, it’s not a hotel, but a combination office and apartment project. Since the site is located within the Lower Downtown Denver Historic District, the development’s design must receive approval from the Lower Downtown Design Review Board. The project is currently working its way through the design review process with the LDDRB and earlier this month, the LDDRB Board give the project conditional approval for mass, form and scale.

Here are some preliminary project facts: 1350 16th Street will be a ten-story building with 47 residential apartments (floors 7 through 10) sitting above approximately 115,000 square feet of office space (floors 2 through 6) and about 13,000 square feet of retail, along with lobbies and other functions on the ground floor. There will be two levels of underground parking. Part of the project includes a four-story section that stretches along Market Street over to the empty Rocky Mountain Seeds building near 15th Street.

Here is a rendering of the proposed development that was submitted earlier this month to the LDDRB. Of course, this is a preliminary design that will continue to evolve until all approvals have been secured. Nevertheless, this gives you some idea of the project’s conceptual design:

At the April LDDRB meeting where the project received approval for mass, form, and scale, the two conditions the Board added as part of that approval included 1.) a refinement to the alley side of the residential portion by adding additional setback, more facade articulation, or both, and 2.) a redesign of the facade of the top six floors that face 15th Street. According to the city, the project will likely be back before the LDDRB in June with the latest refinements to the design.

Let’s hope this project moves quickly through the city’s approval process and gets under construction later this year. 1350 16th Street will certainly be a fantastic improvement over the current building on site. When the project moves forward, Office Depot will move to another location in Downtown.

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  1. Christopher M. says:

    While I am excited to see that re-development of the under-utilized Office Depot site is in progress, I am a bit concerned about the mix of uses proposed. This project looks very similar to the SugarCube building a couple of parcels down. That property’s lease-up has been slow, to say the least. SC finally has two solid restaurants on the ground floor, but the office floors remain mostly vacant. I wonder how the developer’s here hope to lease-up four large floors of office. Am I missing something?

    • Ken Schroeppel says:

      Chris, I used to work right across from SugarCube, and if i recall correctly, there was only one office floor vacant and I think now even that floor is getting built-out for a tenant. Office space is in good demand in LoDo at the moment.

  2. Dan says:

    Although I love the new investment in this location, I really hope Office Depot stays close (and moves into a newer/nicer building). We need more usable stores like this in the downtown corridor (grocery stores, department stores, retail stores).

    • Ken Schroeppel says:

      Dan, I agree. Fortunately, from what I understand, it is extremely likely that Office Depot will relocate to a nicer space nearby.

    • Dan says:

      Word is that Office Depot will be moving into the vacant retail spot in the EPA Building at 1595 Wynkoop. Glad they are staying downtown, now if we could just get a Target and a few other larger format stores to set up shot…

      • MarkB says:

        That would be excellent, particularly if they were to obtain a USPS substation. Yes, snail mail is a dying thing, but millions of people still depend on it every day. I worked at the Tattered Cover during the 1990s, and the presence of the Terminal Annex’s postal windows and boxes generated a LOT of foot traffic. Plus, it would add some necessary non-restaurant infrastructure to the neighborhood.

  3. Joe says:

    I like the idea of the site being redeveloped, and I’m certainly not a NIMBY. However, I really hope they revise the look of this building a bit. It just looks like they took two completely different buildings and stacked them up. That top section (3 or 4 floors) is just terrible. Something with a more uniformed style would improve it immensely.

  4. Alejandro says:

    Thank God! I hate that Office Depot building so much. While I agree that it’s useful to have practical stores like that downtown, that building was such an eyesore.

    I wish instead of Office Depot there was a small-business providing similar opportunities that could share space better. It also makes more sense to have such a business slightly further from the center of the “touristy” part of town.

  5. chachafish says:

    Thanks for the great posts recently. In the article you mention, “facade articulation.” Can you give a brief definition? Thanks again. 🙂

    • UrbanZen says:

      Better segmentation, or better detaining of the joints where the segments meet. In other words, make the building more pretty.

    • Ken Schroeppel says:

      Facade articulation generally means breaking up the “blank wall” effect of a building facade by adding insets and offsets, changes in patterns and materials, and variations in other aspects to create visual interest to the facade.

  6. Toast2042 says:

    The rendering shows an unbroken glass wall along 16th. No retail spaces along that side?

  7. Vern says:

    I agree that the top section is pretty ugly and looks too much like the Sugar Cube building, which I have never been a fan of (the top section, I mean).
    Is there a building code in Lodo that says the building’s main facade can only have a certain height, but a recessed section above that has no height restriction? Is that why this building and the SC building have the recessed top sections?

  8. Jeffrey says:

    I think this looks very nice! I would be happy to live in the upper part, if I could afford it.

  9. The buzz from commercial brokers is that LoDo office space is full–so perhaps this proposed land use makes sense. I would like to see Office Depot stay downtown for obvious reasons (Central Business District, right)? Is there any news on whether Office Depot would move or just leave?

    • Ken Schroeppel says:

      Michael, rumor has it they will relocate to the EPA building, but either way, I think everyone intends for them to say downtown somewhere.

  10. Chris says:

    Finally! Maybe soon we will get to find out what will become of Market Street Station across the street once this bus hub moves to Union Station.