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Archive of posts filed under the Central Platte Valley category.

Central Platte Valley: Balfour at Riverfront Park Update #3

Let’s head over to Downtown Denver’s Central Platte Valley district and check in on the Balfour at Riverfront Park project. When we last covered this project in October, the west side of the project was built up to three stories and the east side was a hole in the ground.

The west side of the project has since topped out at five stories. Here is a view of it from Commons Park.


Going in for a closer look, it appears Balfour at Riverfront Park will feature both rectangular and arched floor-to-ceiling windows as well as a rooftop patio looking over Commons Park. The passage through the building for Bassett Circle has now been fully built with three stories of apartments above.


Back to my favorite spot to follow this project: The east side of the development is now up to two stories with one more floor to go. I bumped up the resolution of this image so you can see more detail on the project site from above! Make sure you click to enlarge!

The Balfour at Riverfront Park is shaping up nicely and should be done by this summer. We will visit this project again for its final update when it is complete!

Central Platte Valley: The Confluence Update #2

The Confluence, a proposed 34-story apartment tower at 15th and Little Raven in Downtown Denver’s Central Platte Valley district, appears to be moving towards the start of construction. The project’s development review application was submitted to the city on September 17 and is working its way through the approval process. This project’s genesis goes back before the 2008 recession, so this post gives some historical perspective and, in August 2013, we offered our latest post on the project’s status.

Today, we have an additional rendering and some further explanation about the project’s design concept.

Here is a larger version of the rendering from our previous post (project architect is Dallas-based Gromatzky Dupree & Associates). This is the view along Little Raven looking northeast toward 15th Street:

Here is an additional rendering looking northwest, with 15th Street on the right and Little Raven on the left.

As I mentioned in our August post, I had the opportunity to chair the Urban Land Institute’s Technical Assistance Panel that recommended this concept. The additional rendering above helps illustrate some of the urban design ideas behind our concept.

The prior zoning on this site would have required a building covering the entire parcel with a footprint about the size of a football field and six to nine stories in height. Very few people in the neighborhood, or on our panel, were excited about that form of development. Thus, our challenge as a panel was to come up with a concept that maintained the same amount of development potential as the prior zoning, while reshaping that square footage into a form that would be more responsive to the site’s context.

The key was to shift the density upwards into a thin tower with a greatly reduced footprint, resulting in a site plan with open space that could become an extension of Confluence Park Plaza. However, there were choices as to where on the site the tower should go.

On one hand, we wanted to have some type of substantive building form to anchor the 15th/Little Raven corner. Corners are very important elements in the urban fabric, and not having any kind of building mass at that corner would be a missed opportunity. On the other hand, putting a 34-story tower right up against the sidewalks at 15th/Little Raven seemed too much for the corner to handle. Additionally, our panel also wanted to make sure that the design concept created a street wall along Little Raven, provided a strong pedestrian connection from the corner diagonally to Confluence Park Plaza, and offered places for ground-floor retail/restaurant uses to help activate the Plaza.

The solution can be seen in the image above. The tower is shifted down Little Raven towards the creek, and a low-rise, pedestrian-scaled building segment defines a street edge along Little Raven. At the 15th/Little Raven corner, a mixed-use building with active ground-floor uses and a scale compatible with structures nearby anchors the corner. A passageway near the corner penetrates the building to provide an important visual and pedestrian connection to Confluence Park Plaza.

I’m really happy with the way this project’s design turned out. The Confluence is a fantastic project to celebrate the Central Platte Valley’s remarkable transformation into a dense urban neighborhood. If all goes as planned, the project should break ground within the next few months.

Central Platte Valley: Balfour at Riverfront Park Update #2

It’s been a little while since we’ve taken a look at the Balfour project over in the Central Platte Valley. Since our last update in May, we are now able to see some things start to take shape. Let’s take a look!

First, let’s start out with my favorite view of the project. Given the size of the site and this project, I am quite surprised there is no crane on site but even without a crane, it looks like this project is moving forward quickly. On the east side of the project, concrete columns have been poured for the underground parking garage. On the west side, both the elevator cores and timber structure have started to rise.

Here is a closer look at the west side of the project. This building will have great street presence along both Little Raven and 15th Street and with ‘The Station at Riverfront Park’ across the street, there will be a great street wall along 15th Street heading into Downtown Denver.


Here is the answer to one of the logistical questions we had about this project: How are cars going to travel under the building to use Bassett Circle and what will the structure look like? Here you go! There will be a two story concrete structure with concrete supports separating the lanes of Bassett Circle.

This project will fill in a lonely gap in the Central Platte Valley. Here are a couple additional shots from further out just to give you an idea how this building will fit. The elevator cores are essentially topped out so the building itself will rise roughly as high as the cores.


The 204-unit building will have a combination of both 5-story and 3-story buildings with completion around the summer of next year. If you need a refresher on this project including renderings, head on over to our announcement post.

Central Platte Valley: AMLI Riverfront Update #3

Since our Inside the Infill update in May, a lot of progress has been made and the AMLI Riverfront project is starting to come together. As a refresher, this 5-story apartment building will be providing 242 rental units to the Central Platte Valley.

The main structure along 20th Street and Little Raven has since topped out and is wrapped for the brick facade; which we should start to see go up very soon. Since this building is occupying where the old Riverfront Park sign used to be, a new sign now sits right on the intersection of 20th and Little Raven.


Here is the building looking down Little Raven. We can clearly see there will be a very wide sidewalk leading right into the park and neighborhood. Excellent!

Here we are finally seeing the true elements that will be used on AMLI Riverfront Park. Just like what we have been seeing in all of the other low-rise apartment projects, Brick! Lots of brick. Not to mention, there is now a great street wall on the east side of Little Raven!


The timber structure is still going up on the south facing side, where the driveway and courtyard is going to be, with one more floor to go. The parking structure has been wrapped with brick colored paneling and looks much better than an exposed concrete structure. This is the garage from the Railyard Dog Park.


AMLI Riverfront is expected to open for occupancy this Fall so our next update of this project will be the final product!

The Confluence Project Update: 34-Story Tower Moves Forward

You may recall that before and even during the recent recession, developer Ray Suppa (Palace Lofts, Waterside Lofts) had been working on plans to build a major residential project at the corner of 15th and Little Raven next to Confluence Park Plaza. The project’s roots stretch back to the early 2000s. Please read this major summary of the project’s history that I wrote back in 2010.

With the rebounding economy and the strength of the rental market, the Confluence project is not only back, but has taken a major step forward towards getting underway.

The Denver Business Journal reports today that a partner, PM Realty Group, as acquired the site and has arranged financing for the project. You can read all of the details in the DBJ article here.

The Confluence will include 288 apartment units in a modern 34-story tower. Here is the rendering from the DBJ article:

This appears to be a view of the tower’s southeast side, looking along Little Raven towards 15th Street, with the Little Raven bridge over Cherry Creek in the foreground. Yes, I know that’s not what the bridge looks like (it’s two lanes, not six) and other details in the background don’t appear to be accurate either. But let’s skip past that issue for now, and consider this to be a concept image of the tower’s design. I’m sure in the future, more detailed drawings will be released as the design is finalized. The DBJ article suggests that construction could begin “in coming weeks” with completion in about two years.

The Confluence project is an exciting “exclamation point” to the redevelopment of the Central Platte Valley, which is slowly but steadily nearly completion. With all the development activity behind Union Station and with only a few remaining parcels in the Riverfront Park area, it is feasible that the entire CPV could be completely redeveloped by 2020. Amazing!   

Inside the Infill: AMLI Riverfront Park

For today’s AMLI Riverfront Park update, I had the opportunity to go inside the construction fence to take a look at the progress being made. Thanks to Andy Mutz of AMLI Residential for giving me a tour and a rundown of what’s currently happening at this project site.

First we’ll take a look at what is going to be the courtyard. There will be a paved portion along the edge of the property where cars will be able to get in and out of the parking garage. This will be a single entrance / exit garage. The courtyard will be pretty standard from what we’ve been seeing with these new developments: a common meeting place with a swimming pool wrapped around with residential units.


If you haven’t noticed or been by the site lately, the wood framing has also started to go up. Many sections are at different stages but along the parking structure facing 20th Street they are working on the 3rd floor. When this tops out, it will cover the parking structure along 20th Street.


There are two areas where steel has been needed. This is for two story open indoor spaces where wood framing cannot be used for structural support. The future clubhouse, pictured on the left, is an open 2-story space where residents will be able to meet and host private events. On the right is a 2-story leasing office which will have a very good street presence along Little Raven.


Lately I’ve been getting some pretty good vantage points on all the development going on. So, for this post’s high-resolution bonus photo, here is the whole Denver Union Station redevelopment taken from the top of the parking structure. Neat!

AMLI Riverfront Park is expected to open this Fall and will be providing the neighborhood with 242 rental units.

Central Platte Valley: Balfour at Riverfront Park Update #1

A little over a week ago Ken announced the Balfour at Riverfront Park project. This project has already started and construction is in full swing!

Like many other projects around Downtown Denver, Balfour at Riverfront Park is at the earth moving stage. Bassett Street has also been closed which will be interesting to see when the building bridges over it. Remember, this development will consist of two buildings: a 3-story building adjacent to the tracks / the DaVita Headquarters and a 5-story building towards Little Raven.



High resolution bonus photo time! I think I found a pretty good spot to follow this project’s progress.

Seeing how many projects around Downtown Denver are in the same stage of construction, it’s going to be quite a sight when everything goes vertical around the same time!

New Central Platte Valley Project: Balfour at Riverfront Park

The on-again, off-again proposed retirement community by Balfour Senior Living, planned for the corner of 15th and Little Raven in Downtown Denver’s booming Riverfront Park/Union Station area—originally known as the Cosmopolitan Club—is finally on again and actually under construction.

The project, now known as Balfour at Riverfront Park, has its roots back in the early 2000s as the second phase of the Archstone apartments (now called The Station at Riverfront Park) located across the street from Balfour on the southwest side of 15th Street. In 2005, Balfour, a senior care residential developer, acquired the project and redesigned it as an upscale housing community for urban-oriented seniors. The development went through a series of design changes in response to opposition from its Riverfront Park neighbors. By the time a compromise was reached and the project was ready to move forward, the economy tanked. Fast forward about five years, and the project is back and is now under construction.

The Balfour at Riverfront Park project has been scaled down from its original design, which was envisioned as a seven-story project with 264 units. Now, the project includes 204 units in 5-story and 3-story buildings. According to Balfour’s website, Balfour at Riverfront Park will include 112 units of independent rental homes, 65 units for assisted living, and 27 memory-care units. The project still includes the rehabilitation of the historic Moffat station, which will become the community room for the development. That is awesome.

Getting information about this project, particularly renderings and site plans, has been a challenge. But, here’s a rendering we’ve been able to obtain off the internet of the Little Raven and 15th Street corner, where the 5-story component is located. The 3-story section will be adjacent to the railroad/light rail tracks to the southeast:

Balfour at Riverfront Park should be completed by summer of 2014.