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New Ballpark Project: Walnut Flats

New apartment construction continues to densify the upper Ballpark district with the addition of the Walnut Flats project at 27th and Walnut.

Walnut Flats is a 169-unit apartment building planned for the half block along the northwest side of Walnut Street between 27th and 28th streets. Long-time DenverInfill readers may remember this as the site of the second phase of the Blake 27 condo project; the first phase was successfully developed on the Blake side of the block (plus part of an adjacent block) in the pre-recession era. With the economic downturn now in our past, a reconceived version of the project is back, this time as a multi-family rental project being developed by Simpson Housing. Here is a GoogleEarth image with the site outlined in yellow:

Walnut Flats is a 5-story building with 224 structured parking spaces that will likely break ground in late 2012 or early 2013. Here is a rendering of the Walnut/27th Street facades, courtesy of the project architect, KTGY.

Units will range from 612 to 1225 SF. If all goes as planned, the project should open in early 2014.

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14 Comments

  1. dave says:

    Funny how the stadium district complains about losing parking spots to development-

    http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_21856572/parking-garage-near-coors-field-wont-solve-game

    “In a 1-mile area around the stadium, Henry’s company identified 9,085 parking spaces not owned by Coors Field. By 2010, developers had snatched up 4,365 and more are soon to be developed, Henry said.”

    Turning surface lots into buildings is something to be celebrated not lamented. If they wanted the stadium surrounded by parking they should have built in broomfield.

  2. Django says:

    The stadium district could care less about the urban fabric around the stadium.I think the Monforts worry more about parking than the quality of teams they field.

  3. J. Almarine says:

    While it is exciting to see this development come to the Ballpark neighborhood is a 1.3:1 parking space to apartment ratio really necessary? Especially in such a transit-rich area…

  4. Ted says:

    I really don’t understand why they would complain about parking spaces being lost in the neighborhood. They have more than enough in their gigantic lot (and potential future parking garage) to fill the gap. Doesn’t this just mean more money for them as people will be forced to pay to park in their own lot rather than the other parking lots in the area?

  5. Dave says:

    I love this blog, it really is exciting to see downtown and its neighborhoods surrounding fill in.

    But I look at all these projects and it looks like we have one architect building every single apartment project. They all look the same. And I have to say unimaginative save for some tweaking (usually in the form of accent colors–oooh, we’re so hip using yellow brick, and our other project we use blue!)

    It reminds me of the 60s and 70s in Denver when the apartment buildings took on the exact same look, all following the recently deceased architect who started the trend (the big brick buildings with the preform concrete balconies and narrow windows–think Polo Club Apartments on East Alameda, or nearly any building of that era around I-25/Colorado Blvd). I can’t recall the architect’s name, but not only did he design the trend, he designed most of the buildings.

    Today, whether it’s the AG Spanos monster or the smaller ones along Boulder and 16th, it’s the same squared off look, extended faux roof lines, and outstretched balconies. They all. look. the. same.

    Perhaps this is just the way it goes, but it feels extraordinarily dull and I think risks making us suffer another era of these buildings where 40 years from now we’ll be lamenting this period of unimaginative residential housing.

    That’s my only criticism of this blog–I wish you’d take a harder more critical look at some of these projects rather than just cheering every single one as a “win” for the neighborhood infill. Perhaps that’s not your goal, but it does feel like nobody is holding these markitechture firms to account.

    • Ken Schroeppel says:

      Great comments, Dave.

      I intentionally do not criticize the projects, particularly the architectural design, as my primary goal for my blogs is bigger: promoting city building, density, walkability, etc. However, I do consider the Comments section as the place for people to offer a critical analysis of the projects and any of their attributes, including architectural design, as long as it is done so in a civil manner (such as your comment!).

      thanks,

      Ken

    • Josh says:

      Dave,

      Think the ’60s architect/developer to which you you refer was Roland Wilson. He had quite the development model going at the time — one that was tailored to its era as much as the current ‘boom’ reflects so many of today’s forces/factors that are, for better or for worse, at play.

      To invite a little discussion, and perhaps to clarify, do you lament the Wilson period as being an unimaginative period? Because if so, and if as you say, 40 years from now we’ll look back on today’s crop with the same eye as looking back on the 60s/70s, we may well one day find that our recoil from the visual impact of today’s stuff will be minor compared to (i) their contribution over time in terms of increased urban density, walkability, interconnectivity, etc., and (ii) the comparative ghastliness of whatever the architecture d’jour is 40 years hence.

      Personally, I don’t disagree with you on the bland homogeneity of stuff we’re seeing presently. It’s just that, strictly speaking, in a really long-term historical context, as a city unfolds and gets shaped by its eras and layers and phases, etc., I don’t find the architecture of any one period to be any less valid than the rest — and today’s boom is about cheap, stick-built (which maxes at 5-stories) urban housing that is more about filling Denver with people than it is about making it prettier. The better architecture happens in the subsequent ripples.

  6. SC48 says:

    Can’t remember where I read it, but I came across an article at some point during this last season discussing game attendance figures and team records. Two teams stood out as having strong attendance figures despite awful team records – they were the Rockies and the Cubs. Part of the conclusion was that both were teams located in vibrant nightlife areas and close to jobs, so people could go to a game as part of a night out, or after work. Going to a game didn’t require devoting an entire evening or afternoon solely to attending a game in a wasteland of surface parking lots, far from work and where there is nothing else to do. When a baseball team is awful, people simply don’t go out of their way to attend many games when a losing baseball team is the sole attraction. Seemed like a logical conclusion to me. It’s ironic that if the Monfort’s had all of the parking they seem to crave, Rockies attendance would probably have averaged significantly lower than it did this season. The lack of parking and the interest of developers in the neighborhood (or rather, the reasons the developers are interested in the first place) probably contributed to more ticket sales than the 98 loss baseball team the Monforts fielded this season.

    • Andy P. says:

      Dunno if you’ll see this, but I just thought that someone should tell you: this is a really interesting point. Hadn’t thought of that before.

  7. Daryl Kinton says:

    I wonder why it is that Denver is so obsessed with parking structures (City Park museum and zoo, Botanical Gardens, Cherry Creek, etc, etc… and now Coors Field but never seems to take a serious look at improving non automobile access). I guess the decision makers are just hopelessly out of touch? Hopefully this will change in the not too distant future.

    • Brent says:

      That’s easy – two related answer. (1) Because we have this pesky (rare, and very progressive, looking at things nationally) habit of funding things regionally. SCFD, RTD, the Metro Stadium DistrictS, all funded by people stretching from Conifer to Brighton, Parker to Longmont. Which makes the leadership of these entities at least somewhat accountable to people who live over a 1,000 square mile area. Which leads me to (2) Money…”not take a serious look at non-automobile access,” are you kidding me? Fastracks? $7 billion or so isn’t a “serious look?” But you’re right, that only gets us minimal coverage. So if you’re serving a 6-county clientele, can you name another $20 million investment that has a transportation improvement for your facility that objectively has as big an impact as improved parking? Probably not, because whether we like to admit it or not, the best transit we can build still isn’t going to make conveniently accessible for more than a small fraction of the metro area. That’s the flip side of regionalism – we can’t be Denver-only-centric.

  8. John Wilker says:

    As a resident of the existing Blake 27 development I’m glad something is being built, but sad the developer is being such a turd to existing residents. They plan to build right on top of the walk way that serves our front doors (for the units facing walnut) and modify our drainage to suit their needs. We’ve been trying from the beginning to work with them to no avail.

    The joys of living in a half completed development, the ‘new guy’ doesn’t care one bit if he destroys our property or property value.

    • Don C says:

      Well that’s what happens when dealing with Simpson Property Group. If they could care less how they treat their own residents, they very well could give two craps about anyone else. Good luck fighting Goliath.

  9. Kyle says:

    Dave, great comment and I couldn’t agree more. I understatnd why Ken can’t crticize the architecture but I sure hope the developers and architects visit this blog and see the endless laments on how lame they are making their new buildings. Interesting comment SC48. The Monforts don’t even know how lucky they are to be in Denver and have Coors field where it is. They don’t get what keeps people coming to the games; its obviously not the team’s record. Also, i too wish Denver, specifically downtown, would put a bigger emphasis on the pedestrian experience. More greenery, creativity, and sustainability is sorely needed. Here’s to getting rid of the “business as usual” and same old ways of developement and urban design.