New Project: CDOT Headquarters

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is planning a new five-story 175,000 square foot office building immediately adjacent to the Decatur-Federal station on RTD’s W line.

The new building in the Sun Valley neighborhood just southwest of Downtown Denver will house both CDOT’s statewide Headquarters as well as its Region 1 office (the Denver metro area is CDOT Region 1). Currently, both the Headquarters and Region 1 offices are located in southeast Denver in separate old, inefficient buildings that are in serious need of upgrades. By constructing one modern, efficient facility for both offices, CDOT will realize significant savings on building operations and maintenance and provide a better working environment for its employees. The new facility will be financed through the use of Certificates of Participation—the same process used by the state to finance the History Colorado Center and Ralph Carr Colorado Judicial Center projects—which does not involve funds budgeted for highway construction. Here’s a site plan, courtesy of CDOT:


CDOT is acquiring the land for their new Headquarters from the Metropolitan Football Stadium District, the owners of Mile High Stadium. Currently, the site is used as surface parking for stadium events. The new CDOT facility will include a parking garage with around 500 spaces that will be available to the public for evening and weekend stadium events.

Here are a few early conceptual models of the new building, courtesy of CDOT. The project architect is RNL Design and JE Dunn will be the general contractor.

2016-08-28_cdot-hq-rendering1 2016-08-28_cdot-hq-rendering2


From an urbanist perspective, this is a good move by CDOT. Their current Headquarters and Region 1 buildings are not particularly convenient to public transit. The new location will allow visitors and the 700-plus CDOT employees who will work in the new building direct access to light rail and several major bus lines along Federal and Colfax that stop at the Decatur-Federal station. The site is also adjacent to the Lakewood Gulch and Platte River trail systems.

Construction is expected to begin in November 2016 with completion slated for early 2018.

By | 2016-12-02T14:10:45+00:00 August 28, 2016|Categories: Infill, Office, Sun Valley, Urban Design|Tags: |20 Comments


  1. John R August 28, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Why build a garage in a sea of parking lots?

  2. Rafael August 28, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    To replace the spots that are lost by the stadium I think.

    • TakeFive August 30, 2016 at 12:03 am

      Yes, it was required by the Metropolitan Football Stadium District in their purchase agreement.

  3. Joey August 28, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Great to see some density here. Would love to see more projects like these on stadium lots!

  4. William Spriggs August 28, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Wow! Nice addition to the West Rail Line!
    And the best part? The building is just north of the east-west bike path for a super easy commute via bicycle. Lots more room out west guys and gals for building more transit oriented development.
    Bill Spriggs
    2011 Transit Alliance Leadership Award winner.

  5. Chris August 28, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    If only the 500 car parking garage was below the building or just 3 stories, making it an 8 story building instead. I think the Pepsi Center is another prime area for development that gets rid of the sea of parking lots.

  6. Jim Nash August 28, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    Ken, I seem to recall discussions many years ago of “restoring” the Colfax-Federal cloverleaf interchange into something like the original intersection of decades ago, controlled by a traffic light at Federal, where the old Colfax Viaduct ended. Before Mile High Stadium, even before the old Denver Bears Stadium, the viaduct passed over the old Brooklyn neighborhood, a mostly grim industrial zone of scrap metal yards and little houses. The idea being kicked around was to bring back West Colfax and Federal as contiguous streets, with sidewalks and retail — in effect, what’s now underway to the west, with housing re-development in the neighborhoods straddling West Colfax. Maybe Broncos traffic for home games continues to justify the freeway-like existing interchange, but the cloverleaf is an ugly example of how urban streetscapes for pedestrians and storefronts get wiped out for handling cars. Does the City have any current plans to reclaim the intersection as an urban crossroads?

      • Jim Nash August 29, 2016 at 8:08 pm

        Thank you Pete and Marshall, for revealing just how much the Federal/Colfax Restoration was studied — and obviously, SHELVED by the city. Not hard to figure out who is the hidden hand in killing any of the project’s options: Think Mile High Stadium Interests. The current configuration serves car/parking interests, and ignores the surrounding neighborhood’s sidewalk/streetwall/retail/pedestrian/biking interests, because money talks.

        The Mayor’s and Planning Offices have this study, advancing all the urban virtues they claim to stand for, but why has this insightful study been ignored? The new CDOT headquarters development simply locks the existing cloverleaf in concrete. So-called “good public policy” again trumped by money and politics.

        • Paul August 30, 2016 at 10:41 pm

          Because maybe, just maybe, the city doesn’t want to spend $15M to rebuild an interchange that was just rebuilt? CDOT certainly isn’t going to spend its nonexistent cash.

          It’s clearly low on the priority list and that’s why it hasn’t been worked on.

          • Jim Nash August 31, 2016 at 2:02 pm

            Good point, Paul, it’s about how much value the city gets for money already spent. But why, then, did the city spend money four years ago, to study four options to re-configure the interchange?

  7. Thomas August 28, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    My greatest concern is the suburban site planning of this site & others in our transitioning central city industrial areas and surface parking lots. To surround the building with parking, surface and structure; orienting the entrance toward the parking structure on the opposite side of the train station; and attaching a parking garage to the sterile building is anti-urban.

    This is like the beginning of a new DTC within the surrounding fabric of neighborhoods of urban blocks. Although I like the location, I’m concerned this won’t actually significantly increase the rate of carpooling, bike and transit commuters. We are talking about the car and truck transportation engineering department after all.

    Should we imprint an urban land use code & site layout for these areas with public streets and urban design principles akin to the adjacent neighborhoods for mixed uses? Or should we allow another DTC to develop & continue to over stress our highway network?

    • ChrisA August 29, 2016 at 8:00 am

      Agreed. CDOT needs those 500 spaces to keep the status quo as the car and truck agency.

      • Paul August 29, 2016 at 5:11 pm

        Considering CDOT’s geographic area of responsibility is anyone really surprised that a large amount of parking is included?

        Not that Denver could do anything about it. This is state land IIRC, and does not fall under city zoning.

    • TakeFive August 30, 2016 at 12:31 am

      The parking capacity was a requirement of the Metropolitan Football Stadium District in the purchase agreement. It had nothing to do with CDOT, other than assessing their own needs as well.

      Personally, I remain delighted that the new stadium was NOT built in the suburbs. Admittedly, I’m a BIG sports and Broncos fan but I suspect many people underestimate the economic and social benefits of such a venue in the city rather than in the suburbs.

      I can potentially envision more urban style development in future decades but for now it is what it is.

      • ChrisA August 30, 2016 at 7:57 am

        Good to know. The interests of the MFSD is to make sure there is ample parking. I assume this is what would happen around Pepsi Center one day. I would have preferred the parking sat under the building instead of next to it.

  8. Marshall August 29, 2016 at 10:00 am

    A study of design alternatives for the adjacent Federal/Colfax cloverleaf was one of the outputs of the Decatur Federal Sun Valley planning process, which also included listing interchange redesign as a transformative project for the area. It was also suggested that as new development is proposed on properties adjacent to the interchange, that opportunities for public-private partnerships be pursued to help fund/design construction of an alternative configuration. The study is now four years old and nothing has yet evolved from the original effort and recommendations. The draft list of prioritized projects of the Federal Blvd Corridor Wide planning project currently underway has converting this interchange to at-grade as a low priority. Wondering how this project affects the future of this archaic cloverleaf?

  9. D.C. August 29, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    I hope something happens soon with the large private parking lot on the hill on the corner of Colfax and Federal. It has a great view of downtown and it sadly sits empty except for game days.

  10. Today’s Headlines | Streetsblog Denver August 31, 2016 at 8:42 am

    […] CDOT’s Sun Valley HQ to Abut Light Rail, Supplant Surface Parking (DenverInfill) […]

  11. Nathanael September 6, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Hopefully with CDOT officials crossing the street and catching the LRT on a regular basis, they’ll start taking pedestrian safety and mass transit needs more seriously.

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