New Project: 17th & Pearl Apartments

A new multifamily residential project is slated for Denver’s Uptown district along the west side of the 1600 block of Pearl Street. To be developed by Southern Land Company, the 17th & Pearl Apartments will feature 316 homes in a ten-story building, along with over 10,000 square feet of restaurant/retail space.

News of this project broke in 2015, with the fate of the two historic buildings along 17th Avenue—known as the Uptown Tavern—unclear. Historic Denver, concerned that the project could result in the demolition of the two handsome early-20th-century commercial structures, reached out to Southern Land Company to seek a compromise for preserving the two historic buildings and also allowing the proposed development to proceed. Fortunately, a deal was reached that resulted in a rezoning, approved by Denver City Council in October 2016, to shift the density to the center of the block while preserving the two historic buildings and not increasing the overall height limit on the site. The location of the new construction is outlined on the Google Earth aerial below. The two historic buildings that will remain and be incorporated into the project are directly above (north) of the yellow outline.

The tallest part of the 17th & Pearl Apartments, at ten stories, will be in the center of the block with a step-down to seven stories along 16th Avenue and a similar reduction in the building height and mass adjacent to the historic buildings. This article on the Historic Denver website provides a good history of the project and a description of the revised mass and scale of the proposed structure. Thank you Historic Denver, Southern Land Company, and the Uptown neighbors for working together to save the beautiful historic Tavern buildings!

The two drawings below are courtesy of Southern Land Company and Shears Adkins Rockmore, the project architect, and are preliminary in nature. A more refined rendering is in the works. In both images, the view is to the southwest with East 17th Avenue along the short side of the project and Pearl Street on the long side.

There were two other structures within the project boundary that were less significant historically and architecturally than the Tavern buildings that have recently been demolished: a small 2-story office building south of the Tavern buildings and a 2-story apartment building on the 16th Avenue corner. Two-thirds of the half-block was covered by an ugly surface parking lot. This part of Uptown still suffers from a case of parkinglotitis, but the situation isn’t quite as bad as it appears in the aerial image above; the large surface lot to the left of the “Pennsylvania Street” label is now the 5280 Senior Residences development site.

These recent photos show that the property is fenced off, the parking lot is being eradicated, and the site is getting ready for construction.

The 17th & Pearl Apartments will include  a pool, club room, and fitness center on the seventh floor and a second-level rooftop bar at the Tavern buildings. Approximately 425 vehicle parking spaces will be located along the alley side of the ground floor and in 2.5 levels below ground.

Official groundbreaking is scheduled for early June with the building topping out in July 2018 and completion in January 2019.

This project has been added to our DenverInfill Project Map.

By | 2017-09-18T18:52:32+00:00 April 22, 2017|Categories: Historic Preservation, Infill, Residential, Uptown|Tags: |6 Comments


  1. TakeFive April 23, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Southern Land became my BFF when they compromised and agreed to preserve those historical gems.

  2. Dan April 24, 2017 at 7:52 am

    I’m skeptical of the design (same generic wireframe that’s going up all around the city… sigh…) however as these are just renderings there’s a chance (albeit a slight one) that the developer actually uses higher-looking quality materials and some sort of ornamentation so it’s not such a boring structure… and it’s a HUGE win in terms of retail/restaurant space along Pearl.

  3. Jon April 24, 2017 at 8:06 am

    I like the combo of massing and setbacks on this. It’s a huge property, but doesn’t feel overpowering…almost a slight European feel. Anything is better than the giant swath of surface parking that exists today, and the compromise with the historical buildings should create a good mix of architecture at that corner.

  4. Susan Barnes-Gelt April 24, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Could be worse. But it could be a whole lot better. Progress in historic Swallow Hill/Uptown?? Not really. Better than surface parking? Yes. But Except the scale, material and 4-dimension-ality of adjacent structures are – in most cases – nuanced. In an attempt to be contextual, this massive muffin is . . . trite.

  5. Citizen Kane April 26, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    I like it. I think more projects should happen where historic structures are maintained but new density is added.

  6. Tyler April 28, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    I would have like for them to have saved and incorporated the other two buildings as well, which could have been even more interesting architecturally. But I am certainly overjoyed that they will be saving and implementing the other old buildings! This is an absolute win for preservation and adaptive reuse. And this should be a model for how infill should be used around old buildings instead of just tearing them down!

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