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Archive of posts filed under the Transit-Oriented category.

New Union Station Project: 16th & Wewatta Hotel/Office Complex

DenverInfill is happy to report that a major project in Downtown Denver’s Union Station redevelopment area is moving forward. Continuum Partners, part of the Union Station Neighborhood Company team responsible for developing several of the key parcels next to Denver’s massive Union Station Transit Center project, announced plans today for a significant mixed-use project along Denver’s 16th Street Mall near the historic station.

One of the prime development sites next to Denver Union Station has been the L-shaped parcel located at the east corner of 16th and Wewatta Street, immediately adjacent to Union Station’s new dramatic white canopy Train Hall, where several RTD commuter rail lines (starting early 2016) and Amtrak trains (starting a few days ago) arrive. A portion of that parcel is already under construction with The Platform at Union Station, a 21-story apartment building. Continuum’s new project represents not only the final piece of this L-shaped parcel to be developed, but a major project in its own right for Downtown Denver. Here’s the site outlined on a Google Earth aerial:

Continuum’s project consists of several components:

  • A 12-story, 200-room Kimpton Hotel that includes over 8,300 SF of meeting rooms, adjacent pre-function space, street-level and rooftop outdoor patios, and two locally based restaurants with podium-level outdoor spaces.
  • A 53,000 SF, five-story boutique office building with 12,500 SF  floor plates designed for smaller firms looking to locate in the Union Station area, plus three ground-floor retail spaces.
  • A two-level, 210-space underground parking structure of which 100 spaces will be reserved for general public parking, thanks to financial support from the Denver Urban Renewal Authority.

Here are some excellent high-resolution project images, thanks to the great team at Continuum and their design partners at Semple Brown Design and BOKA Powell. First, a view of the hotel/office complex looking east at the corner of 16th and Wewatta, with the 16th Street Mall to the right and Wewatta Street to the left (for all images, click/zoom to view in full 2400-pixel-wide size):

Here’s a view looking north, with the 16th Street Mall in the foreground and the Millennium Bridge on the far left edge:

Of course, one of the coolest aspects of this project is that it has two fronts: one facing 16th Street, the other facing the commuter rail platforms at Union Station. Here’s a view looking from under the big white Union Station canopy towards the Kimpton Hotel (right) and office building (left):

Finally, another important aspect of this project is that it will provide a public walkway in between the hotel and office buildings that goes directly from the commuter rail platforms to the 16th Street Mall and a planned RTD Mall Shuttle stop. Here’s the view from the 16th Street Mall looking into that walkway towards the canopy-covered Train Hall:

Continuum’s 16th and Wewatta hotel/office complex is planned to begin construction June 2014 and be completed by late 2015.

Gates Redevelopment: A Refresher

If you’ve driven by I-25 and Broadway lately, you might have noticed that the old Gates Rubber Factory is finally coming down. This demolition has been over a decade in the making and sadly does not give us any reassurance that the site will be redeveloped anytime soon. Over at DenverUrbanism, Ian Harwick has offered his perspective on what the redevelopment could become, but if you’re new to the project, or just can’t remember the details of this lengthy process, here’s a timeline, map of the project and some photos of the redevelopment. (But first, here’s a picture of the demolition)

Timeline for Redevelopment

1995 – Gates Rubber Factory Closes

2001 – Cherokee Denver purchases the heavily contaminated, 62-acre site between Broadway and Santa Fe Drive from the Gates Corporation (Gates later sells 30 acres of property east of Broadway to the Lionstone Group; this property is currently in various stages of redevelopment)

2003 – City approves Urban Renewal Area for the project

2005 – General Development Plan (GDP approved)

2007 – Trammell Crow Residential purchases uncontaminated land south of Mississippi for construction of a new mixed-use residential apartment building with street front retail. Thanks to a community benefits agreement drafted early in the planning process, this building has a sizable affordable housing component.

2008 – Economy tanks. Amidst financial troubles, Gates takes the property back from Cherokee Denver

2009 – Trammell Crow’s building opens with 418 market rate units, 50 affordable units, and 12,000 square feet of retail space.

2013 – Gates tries to pull permits to demolish the buildings (so it can finish soil remediation under the buildings and remarket the land to a new developer). Permits were delayed by a last-minute attempt by a University of Colorado student to get the building listed as historic. When the historic preservation committee turned down his request, demolition permits were granted.

2014 – Demolition begins and should continue for the next 12 months or so.

At this time, the Gates Corporation is committed to cleaning up the property and finding a new development partner for the 62-acre site. As a formal GDP has already been filed, any developer looking to make major changes to the plan will have to go through a public process. Doing so would only push vertical development further out. Given the high demand for transit-oriented development (the property is adjacent to the Broadway Light Rail Station) in Denver, however, there is hope that one day this property will become a thriving, mixed-use, dense, urban development as anticipated over a decade ago. For now, we get to watch as this old factory slowly succumbs to the bulldozers and backhoes.

Map of the Project:  

At over 90 acres, this is a huge infill development project. In the map above, I’ve divided the land into its various development components:

The green area was purchased by Trammell Crow and has been redeveloped into the Broadway Station Apartments.

The blue area was the area originally purchased by Cherokee Denver, now owned by the Gates Corporation, the current demolition is outlined in cyan. The GDP for the project only covers this site as it is in the greatest need of infrastructure.

The purple area was purchased by Lionstone Group and is now in various stages of redevelopment. First, there is a new office complex housed in two former Gates buildings. This was redeveloped several years ago along with a new parking garage. Second, there is the (currently under construction) 1000 S Broadway Apartments. This is a massive block-long four-story apartment building that has been architecturally divided into smaller chunks so its not so imposing. Parking for the building is provided in a four-level parking structure in the center of the project and wrapped by apartment units. Behind the office complex and apartments, there is some land that is just now being prepped for townhome development as well as some additional vacant land that does not appear to have any set plans at this time.

Now for a few photos:

Here is Broadway Station by Trammell Crow

Here is the soon to be completed 1000 S. Broadway apartment complex.

I especially like this red component at the north end of the project.  Very striking against our blue Colorado Sky.

And here’s one last picture of the demolition. This is a huge building, and I couldn’t get a really good panorama, but the building extends down another full block from the left side of the picture. Demolition will continue for a long time and should be interesting to watch.

DenverInfill will continue to cover the redevelopment of Gates as new information becomes available.

City Approves Redevelopment Plan for Former St. Anthony’s Hospital Site

On Wednesday, December 18, 2014, the City of Denver Planning Board approved the general development plan (GDP) for the redevelopment of the former St. Anthony’s Hospital site on the south shore of Sloan’s Lake in the West Colfax neighborhood of Denver (the GDP was officially signed on Tuesday, January 14). The GDP will transform the old hospital site into a mixed-use urban town center across from one of Denver’s largest parks and minutes away from the new Perry Street light rail station on the new West Line. With passage of the GDP, EnviroFinance Group (EFG), the owners and horizontal developers of the property, (i.e. they don’t build buildings) now have the go ahead to build new streets, install infrastructure, and sell parcels to vertical developers (i.e. those who DO build buildings). The following diagram (courtesy of RNL, the site planners of the project) shows how this project intends to link to the park and the existing transit stop.

The plan for the site reintegrates the Denver street grid, by extending Raleigh and Quitman Streets as well as West 16th Avenue into the site, creating six new Denver-standard blocks. Raleigh Street is to become a new main street through the development complete with ground floor retail, restaurants, office space and an exciting new anchor development (similar to the Lowenstein project on East Colfax) where it meets West Colfax (the circle labeled “identity” in the above diagram). The right-of-way along the new Raleigh Street will be wider than Denver’s minimum requirements in order to accommodate additional pedestrian amenities, street trees, and sidewalk cafes as shown in the following conceptual rendering:

In 2006, a task force of local residents set forth a vision for the site that included the reintroduction of the street grid, a dense mix of uses for the site, and preservation of some of the existing buildings. The developer has followed their instruction and is retaining four buildings on the site: The 1940’s Kuhlman building (a former nurses dormitory which is slated to become a new boutique hotel), the existing 4-story parking garage, a 4 story-office building on the block near Colfax (which will be re-skinned), and a historic chapel on the site. The historic chapel happens to fall within what would have become the West 16th Avenue right-of-way, but the developer has chosen to stop the street short of the chapel and create a 1-acre public plaza in front of the chapel as part of the project’s open space requirement set forth by the city. West 16th Avenue will be designed in such a way that it could be closed down to extend the plaza for festivals, farmers markets, and other events in the neighborhood. As part of EFG’s efforts to achieve LEED-ND Platinum certification for the project, they are planning on installing natural storm water management features along West 16th Avenue as well. The following is a conceptual site plan of the project:

As of now, EFG has almost completely demolished the hospital and is currently grinding up all the old concrete to be reused as road base for the new streets. Early this year, they’ll start re-grading the site, installing utilities, and creating the new streets. The photo below is  a panorama of the site taken from the top of the Metro Village Apartment tower at Colfax and Quitman Street. The photo shows the breadth of the site and some of the great views that will be had by the new residents. You can also see the Kuhlman building (on the upper right) the parking garage (on the left) and the little chapel (behind the parking garage) that are being saved as part of the development.

When the project is complete, the seven city blocks under redevelopment will likely contain 800-1,200 new residential units and 75,000 – 150,000 square feet of neighborhood-serving office/retail space in buildings that range in height from two to twenty stories (although anything over 5 stories will have to go through a re-zoning process). According to the developer, “the redevelopment of the former St. Anthony Hospital campus will create a new sustainable urban neighborhood that has a unique identity, informed in large part by its engagement with Sloan’s Lake Park.” The mixed-use project certainly capitalizes on its proximity to multiple modes of transit, and brings neighborhood-serving retail to a currently under-served neighborhood. The St. Anthony’s project should be a very exciting infill development in Denver and will hopefully be a catalyst for significant reinvestment along West Colfax Avenue.

For more info on the Plan for this development, go to: EFG currently has three developers on contract to develop Phase 1 of the development. Each developer will be unveiling the plans for their buildings at an open house on January 22, 2014 from 5:30-7:30 PM at 1400 Quitman Street (just south of the project site). After the unveiling, EFG will post the developers’ plans and renderings to their website, so stay tuned. St. Anthony’s should be an exciting urban infill project!

Denver Union Station Update #121

Good news has recently been delivered by RTD about the opening day for Denver Union Station: May 9th, 2014! While there is still a lot of work to be done, we are finally starting to see everything come together. In this update, we are going to take a look at the redevelopment from Wynkoop Street, Millennium Bridge, and the 18th Street Pedestrian Bridge.

Let’s start with the wing buildings. Over the past couple weeks the tower cranes have been removed from both sites and we can start to get a sense of scale for these buildings. Here’s the North Wing building. A lot of the brick facade has gone up and thanks to the wind moving some plastic coverings around, we can see the glassy portion facing Wynkoop Plaza.

Here is a view of how the North Wing building fits in along with the historic station.

Now that there are no tower cranes in the picture, you can see the South Wing building is very architecturally similar to the North Wing building.

Trees have been planted at Wynkoop Plaza and the plumbing for fountains has started to get filled in. Also, right now is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the entire historic station wrapped in scaffolding!

Here is something I have yet to do with these updates: A panorama of the progress being made behind the station. This first one is off of Millennium Bridge. Here we can see (going left to right) the new lightrail station and plaza, the Alta City House parking structure, Chestnut Pavilion, the new mall shuttle loop, Cadence, the 1650 Wewatta crane, the commuter rail canopy, and the South Wing building. Make sure you click to zoom! Click here for a super high-resolution version!

Here is another view off of the 18th Street pedestrian bridge. There are still a lot of empty parcels that need to be filled in but progress is being made quicker than we expected! Click here for a super-high resolution version!

May 9th is coming up soon! This will be the last summer we will be following the construction of this great project!

Union Station: Cadence Apartments Update #6

Piggybacking off of Ken’s last Denver Union Station update, today we are going to look exclusively at Cadence‘s progress. The structure has topped out and is beginning to really take its true shape.

Installation of glass has begun and soon we will start to see what facade materials are going to be used. Judging by the renderings, we will most likely see more earth toned materials being used; somewhat like the RiverClay condos in Jefferson Park.

Now that Wewatta Street is open, we can finally get up close and see what the front of Cadence is going to look like. Notice that there are setbacks in the front and on all sides of the building. It is definitely nice to see that this isn’t going to be a generic box apartment building.

Here are two more angles with Cadence in the picture: the newly opened 17th Street Gardens and the Millennium Bridge. It will be great once all the lots around the 17th Street Gardens are filled, making it quite the urban passageway! Did you also notice that GE Johnson has cleared the 1601 Wewatta site? We will have some more details on that project later!

Cadence may look all alone in the open Union Station field but that won’t last for long. Right next door you have the proposed 1601 Wewatta project along with the proposed 16 Chestnut and the under-construction 1650 Wewatta project sandwiching it in. Cadence will soon be in the center of it all surrounded by buildings!

Denver Union Station Update #119

Our last three Denver Union Station update posts have looked at what’s happening on the downtown side of the project along Wynkoop Street. Now, let’s check out the progress being made on the Central Platte Valley (northwest) side of the station.

First, the new section of 16th Street between Wynkoop and Wewatta continues to near completion. The roadway is now finished, the landscaped median is in, and trees will soon be planted along the sidewalks. This last block of 16th Street should open in its final configuration soon:

Wewatta Street is now open! It was in September of 2011 when the stretch of Wewatta Street between 16th and 19th was closed and removed to allow for excavation of the southeastern half of the underground bus terminal. Twenty-one months later, it has reopened. The new Wewatta Street still feels pretty construction-y, with lane closures and not many of the sidewalks open yet, given construction of the 13-story Cadence and the 21-story 1650 Wewatta projects (plus the Union Station project itself) along its edges. But, you no longer have to detour to Chestnut Street to cross from 15th to 20th behind Union Station:

The new Wewatta Street affords you a close-up view of the Wewatta Pavilion (photo above) and the fabric being installed on the dramatic canopy structure surrounding the new commuter rail platforms:

Being able to get physically closer to the canopy structure gives us a better sense of its scale. The photo below shows workers at the northern end of the canopy, where the pedestrian bridge crosses over the platforms:

For this post’s high-resolution bonus photo, here’s a shot of the entire pedestrian bridge structure. On the far left edge of the photo, the rust-colored box-like structure is the top of the elevator core located next to the stairwell adjacent to the IMA Financial Center and Wynkoop Plaza (see Update #116). In the center and center-right of the photo are two more (white) box-like structures. Those are the tops of the elevators that will allow you to drop down to the two sets of platforms in the center of the commuter rail station area. Finally, at the far right edge of the photo, another white box-like structure is the elevator core at the end of the bridge that will allow you to drop down to Wewatta Street:

In Update #120, we’ll take a look at the newly opened 17th Street Gardens!

Denver Union Station Update #118

We’ve just covered the IMA Financial Center in Update #116 and 1701 16th in Update #117, so let’s take a quick look at what’s in between—the historic Denver Union Station, of course!—plus downtown’s newest public space, Wynkoop Plaza.

Wynkoop Plaza will feature a large water-jet-type public fountain in front of the historic station’s south wing. The infrastructure for the fountain has been under construction for several months:

The north and south wing buildings being set back a bit from the property line will allow Wynkoop Plaza to extend all the way to the corners of 16th and 18th Streets. In the photo below, the plaza area in front of the south wing building is being graded. Plaza construction in front of the historic station’s north wing (which will feature seating and a grove of trees) is further along; the plaza’s concrete base has been poured and holes for the street trees have been cut out:

The historic station, which is getting a full restoration inside and out, will have retail/restaurant spaces and public transit waiting areas on the ground floor and a 110-room hotel on the upper floors. Parts of the historic wings have already been scrubbed clean and repaired, and now the facade of the Great Hall is getting a major makeover:

Let’s end with our double-sized bonus photo. Here’s a once-in-lifetime photo of the iconic facade of Denver Union Station covered in scaffolding:

Coming up… Wewatta Street is open!

Denver Union Station Update #117

Continuing on with our series of Union Station update posts… let’s take a look at progress on the “south wing building” or what’s now known as 1701 16th Street.

Like its cousin down the street, 1701 16th Street is a five-story office building with ground-floor retail/restaurant spaces. Antero Resources will occupy most of the office space. Courtesy of Union Station Neighborhood Company, here’s a project rendering:

Even though construction started on the south wing building a few month after work had begun on the north wing building, the south wing building has mostly caught up and recently topped off:

Here are a few more construction photos. First, here’s 1701 16th Street from Wewatta Street. This shot will only be possible for a few more months as the 21-story 1650 Wewatta tower (under construction in the foreground) and the future remaining “A” block buildings along 16th Street will eventually block this view.

Here’s the view from near 16th and Wynkoop—almost the exact same perspective as in the artist’s rendering above—minus the blurry people:

Let’s conclude with another double-sized overview shot showing 1701 16th Street and its neighbor, the EPA Building:

Next, we’ll take a quick look at the historic station and Wynkoop Plaza.