Downtown Denver’s Auraria Higher Education Center (AHEC) has been undergoing a construction boom in the past few years, with Metro State University’s Hotel & Hospitality Learning Center and Student Success Center, Community College of Denver’s Confluence Building, and University of Colorado Denver’s Academic Building One adding to the Downtown scene. Now, another new Auraria campus project is about to get underway.

At the western edge of the Auraria campus, the proposed AHEC 5th Street Parking Facility is in the works. This new 1,100-space, five-story parking structure will occupy a site that’s currently a surface parking lot and will provide parking capacity to replace the surface lots removed due to the construction of the above-mentioned new buildings. The 5th Street Parking Facility is part of the implementation of the AHEC Master Plan which envisions the eventual replacement of all surface parking lots on campus with parking garages. Here’s the site:

The development is only a block north of RTD’s Auraria West Campus transit station, so of particular importance is the fact that this project will include ground-floor retail (approximately 15,000-sf) on its 5th Street and Larimer Street sides. Larimer Street runs along the southern side of this project—currently just a parking lot drive aisle—but it’s envisioned to be re-established in the future as a street/transit corridor to connect with the existing segment of Larimer Street on the eastern side of the campus that runs from the Tivoli to Speer Boulevard and into Lower Downtown. (That big parking garage to the east of this site will have to be “modified” in the future to make that happen.)

Below is a rendering of the AHEC 5th Street Parking Facility, courtesy of Denver-based Pahl Architects, looking at the 5th and Larimer Street corner:

The expected completion date of the project is Summer 2014.