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Ballpark: Legacy 22nd Update #3

It has been almost a year since we’ve checked in over at the project going up on 21st and Lawrence. Since then, a lot has happened and the project has started to go vertical! As a refresher, Legacy 22nd is a 6-story apartment project that is going to provide the Ballpark neighborhood with 212 rental units.

Here are some recent photos of the project. This is quite the busy block! There are two cranes on site, the elevator cores have topped out and the wood framing has started to go vertical. The structure of Legacy 22nd will be a one story concrete podium with five floors of wood framing.

 

Here’s a fun little bonus picture I have for you today. This was taken from the roof of Uptown Square and you can clearly see all of the recent development that has been going on in the Arapahoe Square and Ballpark neighborhoods. The elevator cores at Legacy 22nd are barely peaking out above the Stout Street Lofts. Make sure you click to embiggen to see the full picture! (Disclaimer: When I made this panorama, I caught word that Legacy 22nd was going to be called 21 Lawrence, and then found that to be untrue. In the picture it is still titled 21 Lawrence.)

With Legacy 22nd going up, Lawrence Street between 20th and 22nd feels very different and much more urban! We should see this project complete in the late fall.

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19 Comments

  1. Brent says:

    Hard to be excited about this, when we’re replacing an old building that had real character with new look-alike trash. This project can only be described as one thing: a mistake. So it’s adding a few more people, big deal. Not worth what we had to give up. But oh well, affordable housing for the next generation…if this building even lasts that long…

    • Jeffrey says:

      What was on this site before it was demolished?

      Sad, as soon as things are torn down, they are often then forgotten.

      • Ryan Dravitz says:

        We took one last look at the building in this post:

        Ballpark: Legacy 22nd Update #1

        • Jeffrey says:

          Oh wow! I was wondering what happened to that very interesting looking building! It is a real shame to tear something like that down. It should have been renovated.

          • Randy says:

            Please post the last time you were at that building (formerly Quixote’s True Blue – now located on E. 13th Avenue)?

            I get the historical aspect, but sometimes these older building just aren’t usable any longer.

            I think in the reply from the developer on the Galvanize project, it was stated that they looked at using the building, but it just wasn’t feasible.

  2. Peter says:

    I had no idea the United Way building was so far along. Very cool.

    I have to say that I agree with Brent. I find it so disappointing how we continue to see historic buildings around Denver being torn down for these mediocre new projects. The same thing is currently happening over in the CPV with Galvanize and the Lab. Both are nice projects, but why tear down historic (not necessarily historically significant, but still historic) buildings in order to accommodate these developments? There are literally hundreds of surface parking lots around downtown; including right next door to both of these projects.

    I don’t mean to sound NIMBY-ish, and I can definitely see cases where it’s worth it to tear down the old and bring on the new, but this just doesn’t seem like that. We constantly lament DURA tearing down most of the city in the 1960’s and yet today we hear barely a peep when nice old buildings like Quixote’s get demolished for yet another stucco apartment complex. Downtown Denver has very little character compared to most other major American cities. This is why.

    • Jerry G says:

      Most of the new apartment buildings are being built on parking lots/undeveloped lots (2020 Lawrence, The Douglas, Broadstone Blake Street, Walnut Flats, Stout Street Lofts), but not all. I agree with you: it would be better if all new development happened on empty lots. The reason is simple: parking lots, especially well-located ones, make money. Enough money so that, even if the owner was willing to sell (not always), the cost to a developer would only make relatively high density development feasible. That is not necessarily the situation for small, 1-2 story, commercial buildings. The owners of those properties are more likely to make more money by selling, than by holding on to them. It is unfortunate.

  3. Django says:

    I can understand some people disliking this building considering the subjective nature of everything but I believe it’s lazy criticism to accuse it of being a look alike building. How does it look like 2020 Lawrence, the Douglas, or the Manhattan to site some examples. These buildings are similar in length but architecture wise they look very different.I think with a great many projects you can sometimes wish something else was going up according to your personal tastes.Anyway,I think it’s rather extreme to call Legacy 22 a trash building.

    • SPR8364 says:

      Well said! Some people think that if it doesn’t look like a very narrow definition of what they want, they think it must be trash.

    • Andy says:

      Even then, I think the primary concern is with the newness, not the similarity. Everybody likes the way New York’s East Village looks despite the fact that it’s all more or less some variation on a brick walk-up. Mature trees and a little bit of weathering can fix pretty much anything–except maybe the whole towers-in-the-park concept.

  4. Dan says:

    Thank you for the pictures! I am happy to see more development in a block that was unsafe and abandoned most of the time in the day. Lawrence between 20th to 22nd is significantly changing in a positive way and with more residents it will only bring additional business and pedestrians to the street. I hope the city at some point focuses on how to serve the homeless population in a different way versus concentrating all of the services in the Ballpark/Curtis Park neighborhood. Right now, with all the new developments in Lawrence and the Douglas as well as the fenced off triangle park, the homeless are displaced and moving towards Larimer and 20th creating issues for businesses in the area that is just developing. Having social services spread more widely among neighborhoods close to downtown would help avoid this issues.

    • Jim Nash says:

      It’s unrealistic to expect all the missions and service centers to move somewhere else. Most of the Downtown churches and charities cooperate in a food bank. It’s efficient to concentrate food, shelter and health care services in one area, because the street people will be around those services. Those services — and their buildings — are constantly being upgraded by the charities.

      Think of it in numbers. Maybe 500 or a thousand homeless Downtown, but already many thousands of working people all around them, at a development rate of 3-to-5-hundred units per block, each one adding more and more people, rapidly increasing the streetscape mix to renters, workers, shoppers.

      Big box retail along North Broadway, with housing above, will transform the whole neighborhood in a few years. The streets criss-crossing Broadway are the most walkable to Downtown. Eventually, the neighborhood will have supermarkets, pharmacies, all kinds of retail that’s walkable for tens of thousands of people who live and work Downtown. A new King Soopers at Union Station will be a good start, but thousands of new housing units will need many more stores — and a lot closer to this neighborhood.

      The homeless will always be there, but they become a smaller and smaller part of the whole neighborhood population. Much higher density turns Arapahoe Square into a very different scene.

      • Dan says:

        Hi Jim, I agree with you that the current services are not going to move…..until they have a compelling economic reason to do so. However, the city continues to plan additional services to be built in the area which I would hope eventually will be reconsidered and built elsewhere distributing the services more widely around the neighbhorhoods in the core. As you said, many churches and charities all cooperate together and leveraging other places for future social services would be great. I disagree with you that concentration makes sense. Other cities like NY, London among others learned the hard way that concentrating services creater wider issues as they also concentrate crime, drugs, and create “no go” areas. Weaving the underserved population within the larger community to ensure that there isn’t a disproportionate concentration in one area works much better. By doing this, the development you mention that in the future may happen around North Broadway can actually take place.

        • Ryan says:

          If there won’t be an economic reason to move these services, then the constituents of the neighborhood should create force legislation to do so.

          The churches are doing none of these people any good by placating their existing lifestyles. The best thing that could happen is to build a large facility out east on a farm, where you could house everyone cheaply, provide mental health and drug rehabilitation programs, feed them with self-sustaining resources, and let them work the farm to earn money at a fair wage.

          I’m as compassionate as they come, but what’s happening downtown is not compassion, nor is it a solution.

    • Jeffrey says:

      Yes, there needs to be a democratic distribution of homeless services and affordable housing.

      • Jim Nash says:

        Dan and Jeffrey, agree that totally integrating the homeless into the broader fabric of the community is best. Not easy to do, because of ownership and costs. The mayor’s primarily-subsidized rent control project in Union Station is a mistake, because it perpetuates the segregated reality of public housing. Better those rent-controlled units were integrated into much larger market-rate rental rate buildings. As conceived, the current proposed project stigmatizes even the market-rate minority of renters in the building. Too bad, since they’ll all share a lower grade of amenities in their common areas, than in buildings all around them.

        But the homeless pay no rent for their beds, either in a shelter or on the streets. In a shelter, their landlords are tax-free charities. On the street, they are wards of the state, or the city. The problem is, these people are often not fixable, no matter where they go. Sorry, it goes with urban life. Some people simply can’t function, but we (society) have to figure out better ways to improve the lives of these people, who are placed at our feet. The poor will always be with us, and how we serve their needs is the true measure of the kind of city we are.

        • Jeffrey says:

          Jim, I don’t know or understand the details of public housing, but I agree with the sentiment of your very thoughtful letter concerning the homeless.

          • Jim Nash says:

            Jeffrey, the point I failed to make is that city centers are the crossroads of all classes of people — as they should be — but in the public spaces, like streets, alleys, sidewalks and parks, there’s an inevitable clash between haves and have-nots over how to co-exist in the public realm. The only reasonable solution is in getting the right mix.

            Right now, due to the mass migration of Millennials into The Mile High City, the vast majority of housing being built around Downtown is rentals for middle income earners. Not many condos or townhouses, which appeal to higher-income people, because the market’s not there yet for more expensive housing. And there are very few “affordable” housing units, whether in traditional public housing — which segregates the poor — or in so-called “rent controlled” units, mixed in with market-rate apartments, like the project recently announced for one block of Union Station.

            My problem with that project is that it’s about 60 percent rent controlled units, in effect a public housing project. Why not integrate the same number of rent controlled units into a much larger apartment building, so that low-come people are fully blended into the mix?

            As for the homeless — who’ve often fallen from cheap housing to the streets — the city center still has more of the services they need than anywhere else. Even if you could persuade the homeless to move to some kind of a rural “work camp,” no other community would accept its presence. Because no community wants to host hundreds of people who smell bad, sleep in doorways, relieve themselves on the streets, and are often mentally ill and heavily addicted to hard drugs and alcohol and petty crimes. And not fixable.

            In Vegas, where the cops invented “the bum’s rush,” the homeless are run out of town, because they’re scary to tourists. In LA, there’s a very large, filthy Skid Row downtown — yes, that’s the actual name for the neighborhood — and the plastic bag-loaded grocery carts of the heroin and alcohol addicts line the sidewalks of a dozen square blocks. A definite No Go area. And neither accommodation in LA nor brutal police patrols in Vegas are fixing the problem. Because many of the homeless simply can’t be fixed.

            So, Infill Bloggers, I suggest the only reasonable way of dealing with the homeless in Downtown Denver is more shelters, to at least get them off the streets, in the greater mix of people of all classes. Because urban life includes lots of poor people, including the homeless, who can’t take care of themselves. A couple of recently-announced shelter expansions look a lot like the apartment buildings going up around them, and they fit pretty well into the street wall, simply as “housing.”