1144 Fifteenth Update #12

1144 Fifteenth Street, the largest and tallest project going up in Denver, is steadily rising as the core and parking structure start to make their way onto Downtown Denver’s skyline.

Here are two street level perspectives of the project. The two-story lobby is now prominent and the parking structure is currently up three stories. Once the garage tops out at 12-stories, the steel structure will start to go up ultimately topping out at 40-stories.

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I recently found a new perch to really capture how much of an impact 1144 Fifteenth is going to have. The Four Seasons (the building with the spire) is a great height reference as the 40-story office project will rise 37-feet higher than its neighbor.

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To wrap up, here is a bonus top down view of the project thanks to reader S. Autrey!

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The parking structure still has a bit to go and will take a significant amount of time. Hopefully by years end we will start to see the steel structure rise!

By | 2016-12-02T12:02:06+00:00 June 2, 2016|Categories: Central Downtown, Infill, Office, Urbanism|Tags: |10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. John R June 2, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    Ten stories of parking? Have they no shame? My building is 24 stories and has no parking and runs just fine.

  2. Chris June 2, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    When we say it will be 37 feet taller. Is that from the bottom of the small base structure around the spire that brings it to a much taller height?

    • Ken Schroeppel June 3, 2016 at 4:45 am

      1144 will be taller than the top floor of the Four Seasons but will fall short of the top of the Four Season’s spire.

      • Ryan June 3, 2016 at 10:24 am

        These must be tall floors, considering the Four Seasons building is 45 stories and contains some rather tall ballroom floors.

        Like others have mentioned before, hopefully this project inspires taller towers in Denver going forward. Real estate success in this building might finally convince developers to start looking fifty stories and upward again.

        • Jerry G June 3, 2016 at 10:30 pm

          Floor heights for office buildings are generally taller than floor heights for residential buildings, just as floor heights for institutional buildings (e.g. academic buildings) are generally taller still. The more people you pack in when the building is at ‘full’ occupancy, the more space you need for good air circulation and the HVAC systems.

  3. Nash June 2, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Ryan, in your third and fourth photos, we see the low-rise Federal Reserve Building, fronting along 16th, probably the biggest disappointment created by DURA, the Denver Urban Renewal Authority, some forty years ago. DURA was desperate to find a project to cover the lot they’d bulldozed, and the fortress-like Federal Reserve was the result. No retail serving the public on the Mall, and a surface parking lot in the rear. An absolute minimum use of a central Downtown core block. Someday soon, let’s hope the Federal Reserve moves out to a better location, and the building is razed, for a major high-rise development.

    • Mark Barnhouse June 3, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      Actually, DURA had nothing to do with the Federal Reserve block; it was not part of the Skyline Project. It was the target in 1963 of Park City Realty Company, formed by the principals of Central Bank and Trust Company to improve the blocks around the bank. First, they demolished one of the most distinctive 19th century buildings in Denver, the Mining Exchange Building, and built Brooks Towers (plural, even though there was only one tower; named for Central Bank president Elwood Brooks) in its place. Then, they demolished the historic Tabor Theater (built in 1881 as the Tabor Grand Opera House, the pride of the city) and old post office next door, with the initial plan to build more residential towers. But the Federal Reserve Bank, housed since the 1920s in a white marble Renaissance palazzo at 17th & Arapahoe, was in dire need of more space–mostly for the processing of checks (people used to write checks–it was a thing). With Central being a member bank, and wanting to keep the Fed from deserting downtown for the suburbs, the plans for the block were quickly changed, and Park City sold their assemblage (which did not actually include the 15th & Arapahoe corner–that was added later) to the KC Fed.

      That said, DURA did go nuts demolishing much of our historic infrastructure in the adjoining Skyline Project area, for a lot of banal projects that didn’t make the most effective use of the highly-subsidized land (DURA’s prices were far below market rates for the non-urban renewal downtown blocks not far away).

      Unlike the haters of William C. Muchow’s design for the Federal Reserve Bank, I’d like to see the structure remain, as a base for a high-rise or two built in the current parking lot. There’s a certain distinctiveness to the design (most people won’t agree–most don’t like Brutalism), and I think the building could be nicely repurposed (with the ground floor opened up with windows and entrances).

      • Jerry G June 4, 2016 at 2:07 pm

        While I am not a fan of Brutalism, repurposing this building would be possible. There are sufficiently large setbacks from the street edges (16th, Arapahoe, and Curtis Streets) such that all glass enclosures could be built on those three sides to allow for some very nice restaurant/retail spaces. However, something (preferable 2-3 towers) should be built above the building and the adjacent parking lot because that block’s current arrangement is an atrocious waste of space. That, I think, is the biggest problem I have with buildings like Brooks Towers and other buildings that were built around the same time frame. They used the entire block for just one moderately sized tower unlike what is happening with the 1144 Fifteenth/Four Seasons block, which will (eventually) fit three towers on a single block. Much more efficient and much more dense.

        • Rob C June 6, 2016 at 12:03 pm

          Using the parking lot for a tower and then re-purposing the existing Fed Reserve with a glass enclosed front is a brilliant idea!

      • Nash June 6, 2016 at 11:30 am

        Mark, thanks for correcting my inaccurate history on the origins of the Federal Reserve Building, based on long-ago conversations with a former associate of Muchow’s. Your precise historical knowledge clarifies some of the distinctions between the parallel paths of DURA and the Skyline Project — which I’ve blended into one basic memory of Downtown’s darkest days, when wonderful old buildings were demolished wholesale, in the name of progress.

        As for the Federal Reserve Bank Building itself, I still dislike it, not just because it’s such a blatant underuse of a Downtown core block. Maybe worse, the building has zero interaction with the streets it faces, especially the 16th Street Mall. It reminds me of FBI Headquarters in Washington, a forbidding fortress on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington’s Main Street. With no public venues of any kind, it totally ignores the thousands of people passing along its sidewalks. You sense the high security aspect of the blank space, punctuated only by a few rows of trees popping up through grates in the sidewalk. Obviously, the whole edifice connotes Secret Police, a place of dark, unfriendly power.

        The Feds and their monumental buildings are probably still the worst offenders to the new Urbanist consciousness permeating American cities, but bank buildings are far more prevalent, and forbidding along the urban streetwall. 17th Street remains a cold barrier of glass and stone and steel, in a cold canyon of tall, impersonal towers of money and power.

        The greatest challenge of the new Urbanism is to planners, and especially architects, to make the streetwall warmer and inviting with retail on the ground floor, day and night. For an easy comparison of what works and what doesn’t, linger for awhile on the sidewalks of Larimer Square, then walk up the 16th Street Mall and stand in front of the Federal Reserve Building. Nothing but hard, cold, empty space. Nothing to stop here for, so keep walking.

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