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Ballpark: Legacy 22nd Update #4

Heading back over to the Ballpark neighborhood, we are going to check in at Legacy 22nd, going up at the intersection of 21st and Lawrence Street. Over the past couple of months, Legacy 22nd has topped out at six-stories and we are now able to see some of the elements on the facade.

Here are two corner views of the project looking down Lawrence Street; one from 22nd Street and the other from 21st Street. For the majority of the facade, blonde brick will be used which you can see in the second picture.

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Looking at the project from Larimer Street, the one-story retail buildings now have a significant backdrop also making them blend in better with the streetscape.

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Now for the important part of the project: the impact at the street level. The new view down 21st Street is getting more impressive but the view down Lawrence is beginning to get incredible. In the past 5 years, three new buildings ranging from six to ten stories have gone up in this view: Solera, 2020 Lawrence, and now Legacy 22nd.

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Legacy 22nd is another great step in repairing the urban fabric of the Ballpark neighborhood. We should see this project complete around fall-time.

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21 Comments

  1. Dave says:

    Another 6 story building with no ground floor retail/restaurant (see Broadstone Blake Street)! Honestly, what gives? I spoke with the owner of Lower 48 about it and he was disappointed as well. The infill is a huge plus, but at some point, these types of decisions can have a negative and lasting impact on this developing urban fabric.

    • Jeffrey says:

      I agree. This trend is not good. Big block projects + no retail = lifeless streets.

      • Bryan says:

        but here is the thing…not every single street can have / support retail. in small doses (e.g. a corner here and there) yes. but denver is nowhere near dense enough to support retail all over downtown. instead, we need to FOCUS our retail and services into corridors – Larimer is the main street this case.

        rest assured, as the larger area (not just one block) continues to add population, then more retail will follow on more than just the main street. space in a building like this can always be converted later if density demands more retail than larimer can handle.

        in the meantime, we should be pushing for retail to predominantly be on the corridors so that critical mass is achieved .

        • Jeffrey says:

          Bryan, retail and restaurants are supported in, say, Cherry Creek, without residential density that is especially high. It is supported in many areas in many cities without high residential density. Such are shopping and dining districts of a town. What I’m trying to support, however, is a downtown that is vibrant in many dimensions. A downtown with a real density of residents, yes, but also a downtown where people work, a downtown where people from outside, from the suburbs, want to visit, to shop, to dine, to have an urban experience. And that, in turn, would add real incentive for residents to live downtown, etc. etc. and more etc.

          We probably agree on the generalities. I’m just worried about how downtown development is proceeding because I love Denver and I want it to be a great city!

          • Peter says:

            But Cherry Creek is a destination in itself. Downtown may be a retail destination (more for dining than shopping), but this particular street is not, especially with the restaurants and bars of Larimer only one block over, as Bryan noted.

            Additionally, if you look at this area on Google Earth, you’ll note there are still acres of parking lots around this development. Each one has potential to include retail in the future. Is the lack of retail for this project a missed opportunity? Maybe. Does it doom this block to mediocrity? I don’t think so.

  2. Michael says:

    No doubt it’s a great project, but have you seen the homeless encampment that this block has become? I wonder who would find living there attractive with such a concentration of vagrancy just outside the building.

    • TakeFive says:

      “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” (BD)

      Hopefully this effort pays big dividends. http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/blog/broadway_17th/2014/06/denver-unveils-new-approach-to-downtown.html

    • Jim Nash says:

      Michael, the only way to change the concentration of vagrancy around the missions and shelters in the area is to house thousands of working people on every block, simply engulfing the homeless into the greater urban mixture. After awhile, you don’t see the street people as much, because the predominant group is people with jobs and money. As infill changes the population mix to a broader cross-section, the whole street scene changes.

      But the homeless are drawn to every city, just like every other class. We have an “estimated” homeless population of 60-thousand in LA, many of them downtown, but they’re on Rodeo Drive, too. The Ballpark and Arapahoe Square neighborhoods will change fast, once there’s retail, like a Trader Joe’s, on North Broadway. That will stimulate a lot more high-density housing, and more retail, and hopefully in a few years there will be enough shelter space to at least get past having broken people camping on the sidewalks. No simple answer to it, but increased density will dramatically change the bombed-out feeling in the neighborhood now, from all the surface parking lots.

      • Nathanael says:

        Utah has discovered that the cheapest way to deal with homelessness is not “shelters” …. but rather simply paying to house homeless people. In apartments.

        This deals with everyone except the severely mentally ill, who should probably be institutionalized anyway.

        Colorado should try it.

        • Nathanael says:

          (And what does someone who is homeless but still mentally healthy need most, after housing? Housing within *walking distance of workplaces* where they can apply for jobs — or in other words, *urban, walkable* housing.)

        • BallPark resident says:

          Interesting. I wonder if Denver would “pay” the homeless to live in some other city? Considering the current rental rates within Denver; it would be much cheaper for them to live almost anywhere else!

          I empathize with the plight of the homeless, but I always wonder why it’s Denver’s responsibility to deal with the societal implications for the vast majority of this population. Why doesn’t Broomfield have to consider these options? Or Lakewood? Or Castle Rock?

          The biggest mistake that Chicago made in the 60′s was to locate all their low-income housing in one section of the city, which created the “slums”. Lower income housing should be spread throughout the metropolitan area and that includes options for the homeless. Five Points shouldn’t have to do the heavy lifting all by itself.

  3. TakeFive says:

    I’ve always preferred blondes, thought they were more fun.
    I’m sure the same is true of blonde brick buildings.

    Spot on with the view from Larimer Street. Huge difference.

    • Jim Nash says:

      …and Larimer Street is Exhibit A of a transforming neighborhood. When I was a kid, it was Skid Row, nothing else. Now it’s LoDo, gateway to original Denver, due to enlightened re-habing and infill. In five years, the whole scene straddling North Broadway will be a hot scene, if this apartment boom continues.

      • TakeFive says:

        Jim… Your fetish with Broadway is sinking in with me as well. Streetcars running north from Colfax along Lincoln for a few blocks and then down Broadway could be the ticket?

        • Jeffrey says:

          Yes, street cars, on Broadway, on Colfax, on Colorado (or light rail), on 38th, …

        • Jim Nash says:

          And TakeFive, all those angular corners, producing 4, 5, 6 street directions, will evolve into the intriguing streetscapes you find so often in cities like DC. North Broadway will be the most interesting street in Denver.

  4. Brent says:

    I don’t think this – “Legacy 22nd is another great step in repairing the urban fabric of the Ballpark neighborhood.” – is an accurate statement. I know it comes straight off the “DenverInfill positive catch phrases master list.” But there was nothing wrong with the urban fabric here before. A mediocre 5-story building is not inherently better than an interesting 1- or 2-story building.

    • TakeFive says:

      Reasonable point.

      To be fair, much of that half-block was vacant and Ryan did note in his 1st update that: “I’m a little sad to see this building go and always wondered if its incorporation in the new development was impossible. But, on the flip side…” and he also included some great shots of Quixote’s True Blue Cafe.

      • Jeffrey says:

        TakeFive, Brent and I and others are wanting downtown to be a “destination”, for the character of interesting historic buildings to be retained. Part of reaching this goal means not simply accepting development that only contributes apartments. We can and should be pushing for more. We want apartments, we want restaurants, we want offices, we want mass transit, we want a walking lifestyle, with local amenities. In short, we want a vibrant livable workable city.

        • TakeFive says:

          I would have been “all in” for keeping the Quixote True Blue Cafe building.

          Gratefully, Denver has done a respectable job when it comes to preservation. What’s especially cool is the many investors who have put up the dollars necessary to painstakingly bring many historic gems back to vibrancy.