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Archive of posts filed under the Transit-Oriented category.

Denver Union Station: Transit Center Grand Opening Part 5

For the final part of our Denver Union Station Transit Center grand opening coverage, we are going to head back under the very impressive commuter rail train canopy. This was the first completed piece of the transit center when it opened to Amtrak back in February, however our coverage would not be complete if we didn’t photograph it at grand opening!

There are a total of eight tracks, with six of them under the canopy. Tracks 4 and 5 will be used for Amtrak and private excursion trains. These tracks are also more shallow in the ground than the other tracks. As previously mentioned, Tracks 4 and 5 also provide access to the underground bus terminal.

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The other tracks, which will be used for the commuter rail trains, are deeper; much like your typical subway track.

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Here are a couple more pictures from under the canopy. The pedestrian bridge is still closed, but we suspect it will be open by the time the historic station opens on July 12th.

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That’s a wrap on our grand opening coverage! You are now up to speed on the grand opening festivities, underground bus facility, Wynkoop Plaza, and now the new commuter rail train station. As a great bonus, we even got some awesome aerial shots from Shawn Murry of CloudBase Aerial Imaging. The next time we cover the Union Station redevelopment will be when the historic station opens on July 12th. We’ll see you then!


Denver Union Station: Transit Center Grand Opening Part 4 (Above the Infill Edition)

Yes that’s right, Above the Infill edition. DenverInfill is happy to announce our collaboration with Shawn Murry at CloudBase Aerial Imaging, who took some spectacular aerial photos as Friday’s grand opening ceremony of the new Denver Union Station Transit Center was coming to a close. Periodically, Shawn will be providing DenverInfill with shots from high above select infill sites and aerial panoramas of Denver’s growing city center neighborhoods.

Without further ado, here are the photos. Thanks, Shawn!

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Denver’s own CloudBase Aerial Imaging specializes in low altitude aerial photography and filming for land planning, real estate development, and other industries. For more information, please contact CloudBase at www.cloudbaseheli.com.


Denver Union Station: Transit Center Grand Opening Part 3

Today, for the third part of our grand opening coverage, we are going to head to the front of the station to take a look at the progress being made at Wynkoop Plaza. On DenverInfill, the last time we covered Wynkoop Plaza was back in September, when the granite pavers were not even in place yet. A lot has changed in eight months!

The passageway between the commuter rail train hall and Wynkoop Plaza is now open. On the South Wing building, there are two patio spaces along this passageway along with a patio space on the plaza itself. The patio with the red umbrellas belongs to the Thirsty Lion and the other patio, that is currently empty, is for a future tenant who should be occupying the space within the next few months.

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The fountain portion of the plaza is not yet complete but has made some great progress. Granite pavers are now in place and the entire fountain system has been capped. This portion of the plaza will be complete when the historic station opens on July 12th.

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The north side of Wynkoop Plaza is in a similar situation. The portion in front of the North Wing building is complete and work is wrapping up in front of the historic station.

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Later this week, we will be looking at the two wing buildings exclusively so you will be able to see, in more detail, how the buildings interact with the plaza. We still have more grand opening coverage coming your way; up next: a unique perspective of the grand opening ceremonies!


Denver Union Station: Transit Center Grand Opening Part 2

For the second part of our grand opening coverage, we are heading underground to the new bus terminal! The 980-foot-long concourse is incredible and is leaps and bounds ahead of Market Street Station, which spans 366 feet. Bus service in the new 22-bay facility will begin on May 11; however, the grand opening ceremony allowed the public to see it all for the first time! In case you missed it, make sure you check out part 1 of our grand opening coverage!

First let’s start off with the two pavilions; Chestnut Pavilion and Wewatta Pavilion are essentially identical minus an announcement screen at the Chestnut Pavilion. There are ascending and descending escalators on the sides with a central staircase. Elevators are accessed at the entrance of each pavilion; which are behind us in each photo.

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Down we go! The look and feel of the bus concourse is incredible. Here in Denver, we are used to dark, brutalist-style bus stations; this terminal sheds a whole new light on Denver’s bus transit.

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The signage is clear, and easy to read. There is a ticket/information counter in the center of the concourse and a self-serve map station towards the Platform 4 staircase. Even though it was a cloudy day, the skylights still provided a pretty good amount of natural light throughout the station.

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Speaking of Platform 4, there are many ways to enter this terminal besides the pavilions and at Union Station. Right in the middle of the commuter rail train hall, at Platform 4 and Platform 2, there are staircases and elevators to access Amtrak or future commuter rail trains.

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One very noticeable thing about the new terminal is that there is a lot of open space and an ample supply of seating. What matters the most out of all this is that it’s very comfortable.

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On the outside of the concourse, the bus turnaround loop is very friendly to riders. There are arrows and bulb outs on each bay assisting boarders.

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Service to this station starts on May 11, terminating all service at Market Street Station. If you are a frequent bus rider, make sure you head over to RTD’s website and plan accordingly! Coming up next, we will be looking at Wynkoop Plaza at the front of the historic station!


Denver Union Station: Transit Center Grand Opening Part 1

Today was great day for Downtown Denver; after more than four years since the groundbreaking, the Denver Union Station Transit Center has finally opened! As Ken outlined in the Grand Opening Preview post, DenverInfill and DenverUrbanism have around 200 posts on this project, and has led 50 walking tours since its groundbreaking. Needless to say, it brought us great joy to attend and photograph this great ceremony. For part one of our grand opening coverage, we are going to be looking at the festivities around the 17th Street Promenade.

The skies may have been cloudy, but that did not stop people coming down to Union Station to celebrate! Thousands of people from all around Denver came down to hear words from Colorado senators, the U.S Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, RTD, DUSPA, Kiewit, and Governor Hickenlooper. Following their speeches, the ribbon was cut and the Denver Union Station Transit Center was officially open!

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Along Wewatta Street, there was a free Metro Ride bus for everyone to tour!

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Here are some interior shots of the bus. It looks and feels like an updated version of the articulated bus fleet RTD currently uses.

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Thanks to David Zucker of Zocalo Community Development, we were able to get up to the top floor of Cadence to check out the festivities from above! This was a great treat to an already great day!

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If you weren’t able to check out Union Station today, fear not, it is now open and you can visit it anytime! Bus service will begin on May 11th where all service to Market Street Station will terminate and be moved to the new bus facility at Union Station. Coming up, we will be looking at the underground bus facility, Wynkoop and IMA Plaza, and under the new Commuter Rail Train Hall. Stay tuned!


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: www.sloansdenver.com. 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!