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Archive of posts filed under the Lower Downtown category.

Lower Downtown: Dairy Block Update #5

Just a few blocks away from Union Station, work is progressing on a very prominent Lower Downtown project: Dairy Block, formally known as Z-Block. This project is taking up a large amount of surface parking while keeping to the true historic form of Lower Downtown.

First let’s take a look at the hole in the ground. The last time we visited this project, the two tower cranes were just going in. Now, construction is in full swing as the three levels of underground parking are beginning to rise. It looks like they have one more level before going above street level.

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Keeping up with the aerial theme, I noticed Dairy Block was in the set of photos I took this last weekend! You can’t see it yet, but this project will fill in another gap of Lower Downtown’s already established urban fabric.

Stay tuned for many more aerials throughout the week!

Lower Downtown: Z Block Update #4

The infill tracker in me never sleeps and now with cameras always accessible, it is much easier to document it all. As my fiancee and I were at the Rockies game last night, I noticed that the second crane for the Z-Block project is now up.

Using the top deck of Coors Field to my advantage, I was able to get a great vantage point of the Z-Block and its new crane. When we covered the new tower crane at 1144 Fifteenth Street, I posted a chart with every tower crane around Central Denver. This second Z-Block crane was included in the count giving Central Denver a total of 17 tower cranes.


Looking towards Denver Union Station, you can now see six tower cranes!


There you have it, 17 tower cranes over Central Denver. Currently, we are not expecting any more to go up but I’m sure, as new projects take off, we will go crane spotting again!

Lower Downtown: Z Block Update #3

Just as you thought I was done with all of the crane coverage, more tower cranes are still popping up around Downtown Denver! This time, we are heading over to Z Block in the Lower Downtown neighborhood to check out tower crane number one of two going up on the site.

It was a quiet afternoon around Lower Downtown as the storms were rolling in, but workers were busy to get a tower crane erected. In this photo, the counterjib (back part of the crane) was just put into place.


The jib was staged along Wazee Street. Here are a couple more photos of the crane with just the counterjib installed.

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Up go the main winch and motors!

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After a quick lunch, and relocation to a different vantage point, work on installing the jib commenced.


Here is the rest of the jib getting put into place.


There you have it: an almost complete crane with just the counterweights missing.


Stay tuned for coverage on tower crane number two at Z Block!

Lower Downtown: Z Block Update #2

There’s more good news for Z Block, the office/hotel project slated for Wazee Street between 18th and 19th Street.

In our Update #1, we reported on how the development was reconfigured to include a hotel component and we presented several new renderings. Today, we’ve got two more exciting things to share with you about Z Block, but first, here’s a reminder of how nicely this development by McWhinney, Sage Hospitality, and Grand American fits in with its historic neighbors (image courtesy of Shears Adkins Rockmore):


The big news is that Z Block has scored an anchor tenant for the project: Prologis will be moving is Operational Headquarters from northeast Denver to Z Block, taking the top two floors of the office portion. Prologis is a global leader in industrial development and the company’s decision to move to LoDo is another huge win for Downtown Denver. There have been a number of high-profile corporate relocations to Downtown announced recently (like Liberty Global’s HQ move from Douglas County to the Triangle Building); let’s hope this trend continues!

With all the positive momentum this project has, it’s not surprising to see that the site is being readied for construction. This photo from today shows the small 1930s-era building on the property being removed; it’s a non-contributing structure to the LoDo historic district.


Even better, how about this photo showing that we officially have one fewer surface parking lots in Downtown Denver!


Finally, how about an extra-big, whole-block panorama bonus photo:


Z Block should be completed by late 2016.

Lower Downtown: 16M Final Update

Since the announcement of 16M back in April 2012, everyone rejoiced that the old Office Depot building at 1350 16th Street was going to be demolished and something much better was going to stand in its place. Now that the fences are down, and 16M has been mixed into Downtown Denver’s urban fabric, the intersection of the 16th Street Mall and Market Street has a new breath of life. Before we get to the pictures, make sure you visit our previous updates of 16M.

New Lower Downtown Project: 1350 16th Street

Demolition Begins for 16th & Market Project

Lower Downtown: 16M Update #1

Lower Downtown: 16M Update #2

Lower Downtown: 16M Update #3

Lower Downtown: 16M Update #4

Summer 2013: Downtown Denver Hole-in-the-Ground Census

Lower Downtown: 16M Update #5

Lower Downtown: 16M Update #6

Lower Downtown: 16M Update #7

Time to take a look at the completed building. Designed by Gensler, 16M rises a total of 10 stories and provides the Lower Downtown District with 115,000 square feet of office space, 13,000 square feet of retail, and 47 residential apartment units. Here are two views of the building looking down the 16th Street Mall towards Union Station.

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16M shares a similar design with its neighbor down the block, SugarCube. The first six floors are dedicated to retail and office space and floors seven through ten, set back from the office portion, are dedicated to the residential units.

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The street level, where the pedestrians interact with the city, is the most important part of any project. 16M hit it out of the park, with a tucked away garage ramp, attractive office entrance, and ample ground-floor retail.


If you ask for my opinion about the ground-floor treatment, I would say this is infinitely better than walking along the blank wall of an Office Depot with a single entrance on the 16th Street Mall!

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The presence, look, and feel of 16M is outstanding. It’s a very attractive building with brick and glass throughout the entire facade and it has the most important feature every urban building should have: an amazing street presence. Welcome to Lower Downtown, 16M! We are glad to have you!

Lower Downtown: Z Block Update #1

In January 2014, we reported on Z Block, a new mixed-use development in Lower Downtown that would remove nearly a half block of ugly surface parking from the historic Windsor Dairy block. Z Block was proposed by McWhinney in cooperation with the brokerage team at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank and property owner Grand American.

The original Z Block concept included a new office building along the entire Wazee Street side of the block, and multifamily residential in a new building fronting a portion of the Blake Street side, with the two components connected by spanning over the alley and forming a T-shaped project site.

With this update, there are two major changes to the project. First, Denver-based Sage Hospitality, operators of the historic Oxford Hotel and the newly opened Crawford Hotel at Denver Union Station, have joined the development team. Consequently, the second major change: the residential component of the project has been dropped, a hotel component added, and the uses rearranged on the block.

The new eight-story Z Block Hotel will occupy the corner of 19th and Wazee and offer 170 rooms. The 6-story office component will now have an L-shaped footprint, fronting most of the Wazee side of the block and spanning across the alley to the Blake Street side.

We have a bunch of brand-new renderings to share with you, courtesy of the nice people at McWhinney, Dovetail Solutions, Shears Adkins Rockmore (designers of the office component) and JG Johnson Architects (designers of the hotel component):

The corner of 18th and Wazee showing the office component that extends for about two-thirds along the Wazee Street frontage:


A close-up of the center part of the Wazee side showing the main office entry:


The Z Block Hotel anchoring the corner of 19th and Wazee:


Closer view of the hotel at 19th and Wazee:


From the corner of 19th and Blake, the view of the hotel on the right and, on the left, the portion of the office space that spans across the alley to the Blake Street side:


View from 18th and Blake showing the office component in the center of the block and the alley side of the Wazee building:


Finally, a close-up of the offices facing Blake Street:


The project also includes 400 underground parking spaces and 30,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

In my opinion, this is a wise move by Sage Hospitality and McWhinney. With Sage already operating what are arguably two of Downtown Denver’s most prestigious boutique hotels in amazing historic structures with the Oxford and the Crawford, the addition of the Z Block Hotel gives Sage a third property—in this case a modern facility in a sleek new building—and over 360 rooms within three blocks of each other all between Union Station and Coors Field in the heart of Lower Downtown. Smart.

Z Block is scheduled to be completed by September 2016.

Lower Downtown: 16M Update #7

Let’s head up the street and check in over at 16M. This project, just like The Platform, is in an exciting phase of construction: the facade has started to go up! Because 16M is in Lower Downtown, there were very specific design guidelines this project needed to meet. One very clear feature of the facade is copious amounts of brick are being used.

Here is the building from both 16th Street Mall and 15th Street along Market Street. The building is now up to nine stories which means it will top out when the next floor is poured. Can you spot the brick behind the scaffolding?


Here is a closer look at the brickwork. 16M will feature both red and dark brown brick on the facade with plenty of glass mixed in!


Next time you are on the 16th Street Mall and you pass by 16M, stop and take a second look at it and think back to 2012 when the single story Office Depot stood on this site. I’m confident you will all agree with me when I say, what a fantastic improvement 16M brings to this previously underutilized intersection!

New Lower Downtown Project: Z Block

A major mixed-use infill development is coming to Lower Downtown Denver, and a big gap in LoDo’s urban fabric will be healed in the process.

Colorado-based McWhinney, along with partner Grand American, is planning an office, residential, and retail project on the block bounded by Wazee, 19th, Blake, and 18th streets. Named “Z Block” to highlight the project’s location along LoDo’s fun-sounding Wazee Street, the mixed-use development will bring a substantial infusion of activity to the heart of Lower Downtown and replace nearly a half-block of surface parking with buildings that reinforce the historic district’s traditional urban form. Here’s a GoogleEarth aerial photo where I’ve outlined the project site in yellow:

The image above shows Z Block’s key location between Denver Union Station and Coors Field, as well as its T-shaped footprint that covers not only the full half-block along Wazee, but a portion of the block’s Blake Street frontage as well. The white-roofed building in the image above on the Wazee side of the block is an old one-story warehouse (used for parking cars!) and adjacent to it at 18th and the alley is a small three-story office building. Both of these buildings are non-contributing structures to the Lower Downtown Denver Historic District and will be removed. Here’s a Google Street View image showing these two structures.

Additionally, two one-story buildings in the center of the Blake Street side of the block are also non-contributing structures to the historic district and will be replaced by new construction. Here’s a Google Street View photo of these two buildings:

On the Wazee side, Z Block will feature a 6-story, 260,000 square foot office building with office space on floors 2 through 6, and a mix of office, restaurant/retail, and lobby spaces on the ground-floor. On the Blake Street side, the project will include 70 apartment units in a 6-story structure with residential and retail spaces on the ground floor. Z Block also includes three levels of underground parking with a total of 425 spaces, allocated as follows: 260 spaces for office users, 70 spaces for residential users, 83 spaces for existing tenants on the block, and 12 additional spaces. Here’s a ground-floor site plan (all the following images are courtesy of McWhinney and their project architect, Shears Adkins Rockmore):

The image below shows how the project will span across the alley, connecting the office and residential portions. The “invisible” building in the center foreground is the historic building where the Celtic Tavern is at 18th and Blake (18th Street is on the left and Blake Street is on the right). The new structure on the right side of the image is the residential component facing Blake Street, and behind and to the left is the block-long office building facing Wazee. The top five floors of the office building on the 18th Street side has been cut away to illustrate the project’s mid-block connections, ground-floor uses and street-level passageways.

Z Block viewed from 19th and Wazee looking south:

Z Block viewed from 18th and Wazee looking east:

The residential part of Z Block on Blake Street:

According to McWhinney, Z Block is scheduled to break ground in October or November 2014 with an 18-month construction time frame.