Atlanta-based Portman Holdings is planning a $100 million mixed-use project in Downtown Denver’s Union Station district.
Portman’s proposed hotel and office development at the corner of 18th and Wewatta was announced this summer, but details and renderings of the project at that time were very limited, so DenverInfill waited until more information was available. Fortunately, that time has come.
Let’s begin by getting you oriented geographically. The project—known as Union Tower West—will share the block bounded by 18th, Wewatta, 19th, and Chestnut with the proposed 1975 18th Street housing project and Xcel Energy’s Denver Steam Plant. Below is a GoogleEarth aerial with the site outlined in yellow:
For a bird’s-eye view of the site, this drone-tastic image by Ryan Dravitz will do the trick:
The Union Tower West development includes a 180-room hotel and approximately 100,000 square feet of office space. The project also includes 216 parking spaces and a pedestrian plaza facing the 18th and Wewatta corner. All of the following images are courtesy of John Portman & Associates architects:
Here’s a preliminary concept rendering of project showing the main entry at the corner of 18th and Wewatta and the tower rising above:
The project’s different components are stacked vertically. The ground floor contains the office and hotel lobbies and meeting/dining spaces. Floors 2 through 4 are the parking levels (including bicycle parking and electric-car charging stations). Floors 5 through 8 feature the hotel rooms, and Floors 9 through 12 contain the office space. Here are two images that help illustrate the building program. The first shows a cutaway slice through the building parallel with 18th Street, and the second in a stacking diagram that shows the project’s four major components vertically:
According to a recent press release, Portman is hoping to break ground on Union Tower West by the end of 2014.
Special Bonus: Did you know that Xcel Energy’s downtown Denver steam system is the oldest continuously operated commercial district heating system in the world? It’s true!
The original steam plant at the corner of 19th and Wewatta (official address is 1875 Delgany Street) was built by the Denver City Steam Heating Company and began providing steam heat through underground pipes to downtown customers in 1880 (Denver was just 22 years old at the time!). The plant was entirely rebuilt in 1972, which is the gold-colored building you see there today. The Denver Steam Plant is the hub for a network of over 16 miles of underground steam pipes that service over 130 customers in the downtown Denver area including many of downtown’s largest office buildings and major cultural, government, and civic facilities. Needless to say, Xcel has no plans to relocate the Denver Steam Plant, and its continued presence in the booming Union Station area gives us a small but important reminder of the Central Platte Valley’s industrial heritage. For more information about the Denver Steam Plant, below are links to two documents I stumbled across on the internet from which I gleaned the above information:
Denver’s 128-Year-Old Steam System: The Best is Yet to Come, by the International District Energy Association, District Energy, Fourth Quarter 2008 (a general news article about the downtown Denver steam system).
Engineering Assessment – Denver District Steam System, by Public Service Company of Colorado Engineering and Construction, March 2013 (a technical report that includes a variety of historical, engineering, and financial information about the steam system).