Skip to content
Archive of posts filed under the Lower Downtown category.

Lower Downtown: 1510 Market Update #1

A few months ago, we reported on a new infill project—1510 Market— coming to the corner of 15th and Market next to the historic Rocky Mountain Seed Company building. The project has been working its way through the design review process at the Lower Downtown Design Review Board and will be back for another review in July. The project has already received the LDDRB’s approval for mass, form, and context, and now the final approvals remaining have to do with details such as ground-floor railings.

This rendering, courtesy of Tryba Architects, is brand new and is what will be submitted to the LDDRB in July:

2016-06-24_seeds-building-rendering

One interesting aspect of 1510 Market is that the building has virtually no brick as an exterior facade material. This reflects an enlightened interpretation of the design principles found within the LoDo district’s design standards and guidelines, which require traditional brick masonry for a new building’s street facade but does allow for the “constrained” use of other materials, such as steel and cast iron. In this case, 1510 Market’s facade will be primarily structural and ornamental steel, with brick used only on the small stairwell tower adjacent to the project’s historic neighbor on 15th Street. Yet, despite the lack of a masonry facade, the proposed building appears to fit nicely into its context and meets the other standards set forth in the LoDo design standards and guidelines: the building has a base, middle, and top, and the articulated patterns and rhythms of the facade are drawn upon and consistent with those of neighboring structures. In my opinion, this is a nice example of contemporary architecture existing harmoniously within a historic district.

1510 Market is technically an addition to the historic Seed Building at 1520 Market, and one of the Seed Building’s tenants, GoSpotCheck, will expand into and fill the entire addition, including the ground floor. Because it is common and often desirable for a restaurant to occupy the street level, the new structure has been designed to easily allow for that to occur in the future, with a grease trap and other restaurant infrastructure integrated into the ground-floor design. The patio along the Market Street sidewalk will be used by GoSpotCheck as an outdoor working and social space.

If all goes as planned, preliminary construction activities may be evident at the site in September.


Summer 2016: Central Denver Tower Crane Census

Happy first day of Summer readers! Back by popular demand, we are going to start the week and season off with a tower crane census. There was a lot of crane action going on over the weekend so this will be a fun census. All of the tower crane photos, with the exception of one, were taken on Saturday for an accurate count; even though the count is going to be tricky.

This census is for tower cranes only. The self erecting cranes (cranes without a ladder mast or cab) on smaller builds are not counted.

Why tricky? Let’s start out with tower crane number zero. As I got down to the Union Station neighborhood, workers were taking down the crane at Union Tower West. As much as I would love to count this, this crane has been completely taken down.

2016-06-19_TowerCranes-09 2016-06-19_TowerCranes-03

Let’s move the count in a positive direction. One and Two belong to Pivot.

2016-06-19_TowerCranes-23 2016-06-19_TowerCranes-10

Three and Four are for 1709 Chestnut. The second tower crane for this project wasn’t up on Saturday but it should be complete today.

2016-06-19_TowerCranes-05 2016-06-19_TowerCranes-08

Tower crane number Five belongs to the 16th and Wewatta Hotel and Office Complex.

2016-06-19_TowerCranes-12 2016-06-19_TowerCranes-11

The Confluence offers tower cranes Six and Seven. As a bonus, they were jumping the south tower crane over the weekend.

2016-06-19_TowerCranes-06 2016-06-19_TowerCranes-22

Number Eight belongs to 28th and Vallejo and, since this is a Central Denver census, Alexan West Highlands brings number Nine to the table.

2016-06-19_TowerCranes-07 2016-06-19_TowerCranes-20

I forgot the memory card for my other camera before I went up to take this photo so here is number Ten, belonging to Modera River North, in cell-phone-picture fashion.

2016-06-19_TowerCranes-19

I said out loud, “No! What are you doing? I have a census to do…” as I saw what was going on at Dairy Block. A tower crane taking down another tower crane is not a sight we see everyday. Unfortunately, I can only count one for Dairy Block bringing the total up to Eleven.

2016-06-19_TowerCranes-04

Twelve and Thirteen, belonging to 999 17th Street, are nicely tucked away in Central Downtown.

2016-06-19_TowerCranes-13 2016-06-19_TowerCranes-14

1144 Fifteenth claims number Fifteen with Le Meridien / AC bringing the number up to Sixteen. If you look closely in the first photo, you can see the south tower crane for The Confluence continuing to jump itself.

2016-06-19_TowerCranes-15 2016-06-19_TowerCranes-17

Seventeen belongs to the rare luffing jib over at SkyHouse. I’m sure number Eighteen, at Alexan Uptown, will be taken down very soon.

2016-06-19_TowerCranes-18 2016-06-19_TowerCranes-02

Number Nineteen is working hard at Eviva Cherokee with Twenty and Twenty-One helping build the twin 30-story Country Club Towers.

2016-06-19_TowerCranes-21 2016-06-19_TowerCranes-01

Last but not least, Twenty-Two stands tall above the Alexan Cherry Creek site. After a five hour tower-crane-spotting hike, I forgot to take a current picture of this one but trust me, it’s still there.

2016_01_24_AlexanCherryCreek-03

As I was editing these photos last night, my wife nicely told me that she spotted one for Tennyson Place in Berkeley last month. After reviewing her phone picture footage, that brings our final total to Twenty-Three. Sorry, I don’t have a current photo of this one.

That’s a lot of tower cranes and about the peak number we are going to see this year. Our previous census, back in 2013, featured ten tower cranes with around three up in Cherry Creek at the time. 2016 has significantly more construction activity as the boom keeps on rolling!


Lower Downtown: 1600 Market Hotel Update #1

The 12-story, 220-room hotel proposed by T2 Development for the corner of 16th and Market in Lower Downtown Denver will be back for another round of review with the Lower Downtown Design Review Board on June 2. As you may know, the city requires an extensive architectural design approval process for LoDo to ensure that new structures are compatible in various ways with the district’s historic buildings and context.

This rendering, prepared by project architect DLR Group and obtained from the developer’s June 2 submittal package to the LDDRB, shows the latest version of the building’s design:

2016-05-28_1600-market-rendering

1600 Market conceptual rendering, courtesy of DLR Group

According to the staff report for the June 2 review, there are still some issues that need to be resolved with this project’s mass and scale, specifically the floor-to-floor heights on the upper levels, the corner massing, and the appearance of height/contextual relationship to the nearby historic structures. However, design approval is an iterative process, so expect to see this design continue to evolve in the coming months.

Once the project is approved for mass and scale, they will move on to final design approval, where issues like facade materials, color, windows, and other architectural details will be considered.


Lower Downtown: Dairy Block Update #8

Workers are making good progress on the Dairy Block project in Lower Downtown Denver. Our last update was about two months ago, so let’s check in on this major project.

Below is an updated ground-floor plan, courtesy of McWhinney, the project developer. The yellow areas are retail/restaurant spaces. As you can see, Dairy Block will add a substantial amount of retail space to Lower Downtown, including numerous stores that will front the project’s pedestrian alley and Blake Street passage (blue). The reddish area in the upper right at 19th and Wazee is the project’s hotel, and the entries to the upper-level office spaces are in green. The block of yellow in the lower right at 19th and Blake is the historic Windsor Farm Dairy building, and the block of yellow in the lower left at 18th and Blake are also historic properties. Those historic buildings’ ground-floor spaces will be reconfigured to provide entries facing the street, the alley, and the Blake Street passage.

2016-05-25_dairy-block-ground-floor-plan

Let’s start at 18th and Wazee and work our way clockwise around the block.

Approaching the Wazee/18th Street intersection, with Coors Field two blocks beyond:

2016-05-25_dairy-block-construction1

The corner of Wazee and 18th:

2016-05-25_dairy-block-construction2

In the center of the Wazee block face—the area above the blue dumpster—is the main entry for the upper-floor offices.

2016-05-25_dairy-block-construction3

Moving closer to 19th Street, we see the main entry to the Dairy Block’s hotel component, known as The Maven, an independent property managed by Denver’s Sage Hospitality. Note the difference in floor-to-ceiling heights between hotel uses (left) and office uses (right). Here’s an updated rendering of The Maven, courtesy of Johnson Nathan Strohe, the hotel architect.

2016-05-25_dairy-block-construction4

2016-05-25_dairy-block-maven-hotel

Now at the corner of 19th and Wazee, we see The Maven is almost topped out.

2016-05-25_dairy-block-construction5

Along the 19th Street side of the project, we get a good view of the pedestrian shopping alley and how the office floors span across the alley to connect to the project’s new Blake Street building.

2016-05-25_dairy-block-construction6

The Blake Street building is the furthest along. Here are three views, moving from 19th Street toward 18th Street, of the new building’s integration with the adjacent historic properties.

2016-05-25_dairy-block-construction7

2016-05-25_dairy-block-construction8

2016-05-25_dairy-block-construction9

From the corner of 18th and Blake, we look back at where we started: the 6-story office component at 18th and Wazee.

2016-05-25_dairy-block-construction10

The Dairy Block will provide a major infusion of pedestrian activity and energy to a part of LoDo that’s been fairly dead (blame: surface parking lots). Here’s a final overview rendering, courtesy of Shears Adkins Rockmore:

2016-05-25_dairy-block-overview-rendering

Let’s wrap this up with two final images I took about 10 days ago from Coors Field that nicely illustrate the Dairy Block’s contribution to the healing and enhancement of Lower Downtown’s urban fabric.

2016-05-25_dairy-block-construction11

2016-05-25_dairy-block-construction12

We’ll check in again on Dairy Block’s construction progress this summer.


Lower Highland: Riverview at 1700 Platte Update #1

This is a quick update to the recently announced Riverview at 1700 Platte project. Work has started on the development that will add a new 210,000 square foot office building to Lower Highland’s historic Platte Street. The existing structure located on the property—the former Empire Staple building—no longer exists. Here’s a shot from this afternoon:

2016-05-02_riverview-platte-demolition

Once the site is cleaned up, we’ll probably see excavation for the project’s two levels of underground parking begin soon thereafter.


New Lower Downtown Project: 1510 Market

A small but exciting project is on the drawing boards for the corner of 15th and Market streets in Lower Downtown Denver.

1510 Market Street is a proposed restaurant/office addition to the Rocky Mountain Seed Building at 1520 Market that will fill the vacant corner lot currently used for motor vehicle parking. Here are Google Earth aerial and street view images of the site:

2016-04-05_1510-Market_aerial

2016-04-05_1510-Market_streetview

In 2014, the Rocky Mountain Seed Building underwent a thorough restoration and conversion to office space, while an underground parking level was added to the undeveloped parcel at the corner. The underground parking was then topped with the current surface lot—an interim use until plans were finalized for vertical development on the site. This photo from March 2014 shows the Rocky Mountain Seed Building under renovation. On the left, 16M was under construction.

2016-04-05_1510-Market_historic

1510 Market is currently under design review with the Lower Downtown Design Review Board. Information about 1510 Market, including the following rendering, were obtained from the project’s application materials submitted to the LDDRB for their April 7 meeting and published on the city’s website. Because this project is still under review by the city, the standard caveat applies: project details and designs presented below are preliminary and subject to further modification, refinement, and approvals (rendering prepared by Tryba Architects).

The proposal calls for an addition of approximately 16,000 square feet of space on four floors. The ground level will feature a restaurant, while Floors 2 and 3 will each contain approximately 5,000 square feet of office space with interior connections to the adjacent floors of the Rocky Mountain Seed Building next door. The top level will feature a small indoor dining area and L-shaped outdoor deck. Here’s the proposed view from across the 15th and Market intersection:

2016-04-05_1510-Market_rendering1

This is a great addition to Lower Downtown! Not only does it replace a surface parking lot (yay!), but it also fills in a corner site—critical in an urban setting for establishing a consistent street wall along two streets and providing a great sidewalk experience for the pedestrian. We look forward to following this project as it moves through the design and approval process.


New Lower Downtown Project: SugarSquare Addendum

As I was out and about taking photos for DenverInfill this weekend, I had to stop by to check out the SugarSquare site. To follow up with Ken’s announcement yesterday, I had to take some current photos. Needless to say, I was wowed by how skinny and tight this project is going to be. Here are two photos showing just that.

2016-04-03_SugarSquare-02 2016-04-03_SugarSquare-01

It appears that there is work going on in the historic Sugar Building; perhaps to prepare for SugarSquare! I can’t wait to see this little project rise!


New Lower Downtown Project: SugarSquare

Denver-based Urban Villages, developer of SugarCube, is moving forward with a companion building, SugarSquare, on a small site on Wazee Street adjacent to the historic Sugar Building in Lower Downtown Denver.

To long-time DenverInfill readers, this project may sound familiar as something similar was proposed by Urban Villages back in 2006 when SugarCube was getting ready to break ground. But because that was almost 10 years ago and since the design has changed as well, we’re presenting this as a “new” LoDo project.

The site in question is the narrow undeveloped lot (currently functioning as a valet parking area) on Wazee next to the historic Sugar Building. Here’s a Google Earth aerial showing the project site:

2016-04-01_sugar-square-aerial

Before we get to SugarSquare, let’s review very briefly the history of the handsome historic Sugar Building. According to the Sugar Building’s application to the National Register of Historic Places, the original tan-brick structure facing 16th Street was built in 1906 by the Great Western Sugar Company and was originally four stories tall. In 1912, an additional two floors were added to the top to bring the building to its current 6-story height. Along the Wazee side of the building, the red-brick section was the “warehouse” part of the building and it too was originally only four floors tall. It received a 2-story addition in 1916 to bring it up to six stories as well.

SugarSquare will be an extension of the historic building (as opposed to a stand-alone building) with internal connections between the original Sugar Building’s and SugarSquare’s floors. The addition totals 10,800 square feet of office space on four above-grade levels, plus a basement. A green roof/amenity deck will top the building. Here are several renderings, courtesy of Urban Villages and their project architect, Semple Brown Design:

2016-04-01_sugar-square-rendering-1

2016-04-01_sugar-square-rendering-2

2016-04-01_sugar-square-rendering-3

An interesting aspect of SugarSquare is that the exterior facade will consist entirely of glass and blackened stainless steel—no brick whatsoever, which will be a first for LoDo. However, despite the building’s contemporary design and materials, it continues the rhythm and massing of Wazee Street’s historic architectural context and provides a nice transition from the 6-story Sugar Building down to its 2-story historic neighbor to the southwest.

SugarSquare is 100% pre-leased and a building permit is under review with the city. If all goes as planned, the project will break ground this summer.

What a great addition to Lower Downtown! Not only is SugarSquare a cool-looking building, but a (very skinny) surface parking lot will be eradicated as well!


Lower Downtown: Dairy Block Update #7

Dairy Block, over in Lower Downtown, is rising quickly! When we visited this project from a bird’s eye view in February, the first floor was complete on the Wazee Street side, with work beginning on the second.

Present day, the office portion, framed with steel, is up two-stories and the hotel portion, framed with concrete, is up five-stories. As with most steel builds, the two cores that will service the office building are up higher than the main structure.

The hotel will top out at seven-stories with the office topping out at five. Because of the different floor to ceiling heights, the two buildings will be close to the same height.

2016-03-16_DairyBlock-02 2016-03-16_DairyBlock-11

I think we can all agree that this is already a better view down Wazee Street than what used to be there; a single story parking structure and surface parking. If you look down the alley between Wazee and Blake Street, in the second picture, a bridge connects both sides of the project.

2016-03-16_DairyBlock-12 2016-03-16_DairyBlock-07

We never really visited the Blake Street side of this project since it started which is a huge oversight because there is a significant structure now fronting the street! The five-story office building has topped out with the brick facade starting to go in.

2016-03-16_DairyBlock-03 2016-03-16_DairyBlock-05

Here is one more photo looking directly at the office building along Blake Street.

2016-03-16_DairyBlock-04

Heading back over to the Wazee Street side, we were able to get a slightly higher view of Dairy block. Here you can see the significant difference of the floor to ceiling heights between the hotel and office portions.

2016-03-16_DairyBlock-08 2016-03-16_DairyBlock-10

This is one of the last views I will see of Central Downtown from my trusty Dairy Block viewing perch. However, it will be a great, urban scene once this project is complete.

2016-03-16_DairyBlock-09

Dairy Block adds some significant density to this area of Lower Downtown Denver. A great step forward to eradicating the surface lots scattered throughout Downtown Denver.