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Lower Highland: The Lab on Platte Update #1

Today we have a short update on The Lab, a proposed 73,000 square foot, four-story office building at 17th and Platte Street behind the Denver Beer Company. Details are available in our first post on this project last October.

It appears the project is moving forward, as the old janitorial supplies building that occupied the site is now mostly history. As of this morning, here is the site:

2014-04-19_lab-platte-demolition

We’ll keep on eye on this project and let you know when construction of the new building is underway.

 

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14 Comments

  1. Nik says:

    This is not highland, but thanks for the great updates

    • Ken Schroeppel says:

      Actually it is. The original town of Highland, followed later by the Town of Highlands, both had their boundary as the Platte River. Additionally, the City of Denver’s official statistical neighborhoods map uses the Platte River as the eastern boundary for Highlands.

  2. Ryan Nee says:

    I like these two latest “Infill as seen from Ken’s balcony” updates. :)

  3. Jeff says:

    If that area is also Lohi, then should the term “commons park” be used at all, with the exception of specifically referring to the actual park? Little Raven would be “Riverfront Park,” right?

    • UrbanZen says:

      Technically, commons park and riverfront park are meaningless terms. As it LoDo. The whole area from like Lawrence St to the Platte River is oficially the Union Station Neighborhood. This is actually become a pet peave of mine, having seven different made up names for one area just to make it “hip”. Uptown, Ballpark…also meaningless. I’m not saying some these names have not come to better represent an area, I’m just saying the city should rename some neighborhoods, redraw boundaries if needed, and stick with one f’in name. {Rant over}

  4. Jim Nash says:

    No one’s talking about the elephant in the room, the freeway. Do people who live south of I-25 really think they live in the same neighborhood as people on the north side?

    There’s also a railroad there, spanned by only a few bridges. Sad fact, but in LA they at least accept that big highways divide, and define communities. Freeways are the “natural” boundaries of nearly every named neighborhood in Los Angeles, where the car rules.

    Denverites — yes, that’s still our city’s tribal name — may not like it, but freeways are real neighborhood boundaries. Agree there are way too many real estate-engendered names. Locale identity crisis.

    • Ken Schroeppel says:

      Jim, I think you mean east and west of I-25, not north and south. Anyway, the boundary line for Highland at the Platte River existed nearly 100 years before I-25 arrived on the scene. I live on Central and yet feel totally connected to Platte Street as part of my ‘hood, thanks to the Highland Bridge.

      • BoulderPatentGuy says:

        I’m going to agree w/ Jim & Ken that north and west both apply here, actually. Looking at a map, it seems clear to me at least that lower highlands is both north and west of 15th and Platte (I use north). I’ll also agree with Jim & Nik that it’s only the area across I-25 that people refer to as the “highlands,” regardless of the area’s “official” designation.

        • BoulderPatentGuy says:

          I stand corrected. In chatting with a group of business owners around 15th & Platte, they refer to working in “LoHi” or “lower highlands.” Ken wins! :)

      • Jim Nash says:

        Ken, in your hood the freeway runs more east-west than north-south, so my reference was to the orientation of the neighborhoods, not the official N-S direction of the highway.

        We all appreciate that you’re a stickler for historical accuracy, but so much has changed in 150 years since Highland and Denver were founded along the South Platte River. And I suggest that nothing has transformed the land around Denver’s beginnings at the confluence of the Platte and Cherry Creek as much as, first the railroad, and then the Valley Highway, which morphed into I-25.

        My point is that freeways really do divide communities, and impact local identities. In the same way that we all agree that surface parking lots are ugly and fracturous to the urban streetscape, big highways are noisy, numbing barriers, especially for the pedestrian and bicyclist’s on-street experience. That’s why neighborhood groups along a section of I-70 from Globeville east are looking for ways to “bury” the freeway, with a built-over park. There are similar discussions in LA, to cover part of the Hollywood Freeway — to re-claim, and re-unite a divided neighborhood.

        I’ve argued here on this blog that most of the pedestrian bridges approaching Union Station are improvements, but still pretty pedestrian-unfriendly, especially when it snows. A lot more should be done — transparent weather ceilings over bridges and stairways, and escalators — to raise pedestrian access to the same standard as at DIA, so the disabled and elderly can traverse the transportation barriers to rail and Downtown. And those improvements would do so much to weave historic Highland back into a more cohesive community, fronting along the river.

        • Jerry G says:

          What would be good if the city placed transparent sound barriers (plastic) along the lower half of the mesh walls of the Highland Bridge to help block the highway sounds. Maybe even angled more outward to deflect the sound away from those crossing the bridge. However, considering that the only bridges that force people to actually take stairs also have elevators, leads me to conclude that escalators are not necessary.

  5. Ken Schroeppel says:

    I agree highways definitely do divide communities, unfortunately, and I’m sure in the case of Highlands, I-25 is responsible for people thinking that Platte Street is part of the Union Station area or something.

    However, with the Highland Bridge helping transform the area to a significant degree over the past seven years as a major ped/bike thoroughfare into downtown, I think attitudes are starting to change. Again, as a six-year Central Street resident, it never crossed my mind that Platte Street wasn’t part of my Lower Highland neighborhood.

    The Platte River and Commons Park represent a wider gap to cross to get between Platte Street and the Union Station neighborhood, than the gap over I-25 is to cross to get between Lower Highland and Platte Street. Therefore, Platte Street feels to me more Highland than it does Union Station.

    Perhaps in time, with the Highland Bridge continuing to adjust people’s commuting patterns and perceptions of the area, the Platte River will become the commonly-accepted boundary, in addition to the city’s official boundary, for Highland.

    Oh, one other thing… as someone who loves history as much as urbanism and planning, I can’t help but to be a stickler and to inform when necessary. :)

    • UrbanZen says:

      That bridge has almost single handedly reconnected platte st to the rest of its rightful neighborhood. Now if only the city could get a sweet ped tunnel under speer blvd for Auraria. Maybe take the dinky one currently existing under the north bound lane between Larimer and Lawrence and do something like Boulder just did at Euclid/16th/Broadway.

  6. Jeff says:

    There are businesses along Platte that refer to their location as Lohi and it is gaining some traction. I just wish people would say “Highland” and not the plural just to really put some distance between us and Highlands Ranch.