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Archive of posts filed under the Lower Downtown category.

New Lower Downtown Project: 1750 15th Street

Denver-based Nichols Partnership is planning a 12-story residential building for the corner of 15th and Wewatta that will add 91 homes within a short one-block walk from the Denver Union Station transit hub.

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The proposed development site is currently a surface parking lot, happily, an increasingly endangered species in Lower Downtown. Along 15th Street, the site is adjacent to the Nichols-owned Steelbridge Annex building—the majority of which is structured parking for the Steelbridge Lofts next door—and along Wewatta Street the project’s neighbor would be 1400 Wewatta, completed in 2008. Here’s a Google Street View image of the site, with 15th Street in the foreground and Wewatta Street on the right:

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Currently referred to by its address of 1750 15th Street, the development is in the review process with the Lower Downtown Design Review Board (LDDRB). The board will consider the project at their September 1 meeting for approval of mass and scale. The city staff recommendation is for “denial” for various reasons, but this is pretty common for a project’s first submittal. As proposed, 1750 15th would rise 130 feet, the maximum allowed, which is the same height as 1400 Wewatta next door and 1515 Wynkoop across the street.

The following images are all taken from the project’s September 1 submittal to the LDDRB, and were prepared by Shears Adkins Rockmore Architects. Of course, these are conceptual renderings and subject to further modifications and refinement over the coming months. You’ll note that what makes this project particularly interesting and challenging is the narrow lot—only 49 feet of frontage facing 15th Street.

View from about where the Triangle Building is looking southwest down Wewatta. On the left is 1515 Wynkoop and on the right, 1400 Wewatta, with the proposed project in the center:

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Opposite view from near Cherry Creek looking northeast along Wewatta Street:

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Overhead view of the corner of 15th and Wewatta and the proposed development’s surrounding context:

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Given the constrained parcel size and proximity to Union Station, no on-site automobile parking for residents is planned; however, the basement level will include significant room for bicycle parking. On the ground floor, a retail space would anchor the corner while the residential lobby would face Wewatta Street. The majority of the homes in the building would be micro-apartments in the 350 SF range, while the upper four floors would feature slightly larger units.

This is a really exciting project, as it will put even more homes within easy walking distance of transit and just about everything else anyone would need for car-free living. Plus, it removes a surface parking lot (yay!), completes the urban form of the entire block, and improves the pedestrian environment at a busy corner. We will gladly follow this project as it moves through the review and approval process.


Lower Downtown: 1600 Market Hotel Update #2

At the July 21 meeting of the Lower Downtown Design Review Board, the proposed 1600 Market Hotel development received approval for mass and scale. Here’s a rendering, courtesy of the project architect DLR Group, that was submitted to the LDDRB in July that depicts the approved building envelope (height, scale, mass, form, contextual fit, etc.):

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This represents a refinement of the project’s previous design that we shared in our Update #1 in May.

The next phase for the 1600 Market Hotel’s design process is seeking the LDDRB’s approval for building details, such as facade materials and color, which is why most of the building is rendered in a gray color since those building details are still in the works.


New Lower Downtown Project: 18th and Market Apartments

A new major infill development is proposed for what is undeniably the worst parking lot-infested hole in Lower Downtown. The 1800 block of Market is entirely undeveloped and is occupied on both sides by ugly voids of blight. That may change if Trammel Crow Residential is successful in completing their proposed 18th and Market project, an 11-story, 305-unit apartment building.

Here is the proposed development site outlined on a Google Earth aerial:

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The proposed 18th and Market Apartments is scheduled to go before the Lower Downtown Design Review Board for the first time on August 11. As we explained the other day with the proposed 14 Wynkoop project, the first step in the LDDRB process is reviewing the development’s proposed mass and scale. And like 14 Wynkoop, city staff have put forward a “denial” recommendation for this first design iteration for various reasons. It usually takes several rounds of review with the LDDRB before a project receives all of the necessary approvals. Consequently, the renderings below are preliminary and subject to future modifications.

All of the following concept renderings are taken from the project’s August 11 submittal to the LDDRB and were prepared by Johnson Nathan Strohe (JNS), the project architect. JNS recently designed The Maven hotel component of the Dairy Block just a couple of blocks down 19th Street from this project.

View from 19th and Market looking toward 18th:

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The proposed development, in its current form, would include about 9,500 square feet of retail at the corner of 19th and Market and the residential lobby at the corner of 18th and Market. Mid-block along Market Street are four walk-up ground-floor residential units, while on the alley side are 57 automobile parking spaces.

The 2nd level is proposed as all automobile parking—108 spaces—which is one of the items cited by city staff as not meeting the Lower Downtown Design Standards and Guidelines. The LoDo design standards discourage above ground parking and require that any parking above the street be set back from the front property line by at least 16 feet and wrapped by other uses. The design of the second level in this initial scheme does not meet either of those standards. The city’s staff report notes: “Parking above the ground floor has not been approved by the Board in any previous application since the adoption of the Design Guidelines in 2002.” I hope the LDDRB doesn’t start doing so now.

Moving up, the 3rd through 7th floors contain residential units, with a club room and outdoor pool near the center of the building facing Market Street on the 6th floor. The structure steps back along the front on the 8th through 11th floors, which contain more apartments units. A 4,200 square foot rooftop deck tops the building at the 18th and Market corner.

One and a half levels of below-grade parking include storage space for an additional 206 automobiles, bringing the building’s total parking count to 371 spaces, or a 1.22 parking space/unit ratio, with all parking accessed via the alley.

View from 18th and Market looking toward 19th:

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Retail space fronting 19th Street near the corner at Market:

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One of the LoDo design guideline requirements that we do see evident in these renderings is the breaking-up of the building’s massing, particularly along Market, to give the appearance of multiple buildings instead of one monolithic structure. It will be interesting to see the design of this development evolve as it goes through the LDDRB process.

Long-time DenverInfill readers may remember that this new Trammell Crow Residential development is not the first project proposed for this site. Back in the fall of 2000, Denver developer Bill Pauls proposed a two-building project on this site that included an 11-story, 50-unit condo building at 19th and Market and a 190,000 square-foot office building at 18th and Market. That project was cancelled in late 2001. Here’s a concept rendering of the office portion of that project:

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A few years later, Corum Real Estate Group proposed a 13-story, 300-unit condominium building on the property. The first design of the Corum project from early 2005 looked like this…

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…which morphed into this design by the end of 2005:

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I liked the first design better. Anyway, this project never made it out of the ground and eventually got axed with the financial crash of 2008.

Let’s hope Trammell Crow Residential has better luck getting this site developed than its predecessors. This block’s current condition is just wretched and the prospect of it finally getting developed is cause for celebration!


New Lower Downtown Project: 14 Wynkoop

Seattle-based Unico Properties continues to expand its presence in Denver’s urban core with a proposed mixed-use project, 14 Wynkoop, located along Cherry Creek between Wazee and Wynkoop streets.

The 14 Wynkoop development site is outlined in yellow on the image below and consists of two parcels. The parking lot along the Wazee Street side measures 12,500 square feet and was bought by Unico in February 2016. The surface parking lot on the Wynkoop side measures approximately 10,000 square feet and is part of the parcel that includes the adjacent building at 1430 Wynkoop that Unico acquired in October 2015. Unico has also requested an alley vacation which adds about another 1,500 square feet, putting the total project footprint at approximately 24,000 square feet.

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According to documents submitted to the Lower Downtown Design Review Board (LDDRB), the proposed development will include 73,000 square feet of office space on floors 2 through 4, 40 residential units on floors 5 through 8, 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, and three levels of underground parking containing 142 storage spaces for automobiles. The 8th floor is a residential penthouse level that is quite a bit smaller than the other floors in square footage, as it is stepped back significantly on all four sides. The image below shows 14 Wynkoop’s three building elevations. All of the following graphics are from the project’s August 4 submittal documents and are courtesy of OZ Architecture, the project architect.

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14 Wynkoop was informally discussed at the November 5, 2015 LDDRB meeting, but the Board will take up the project formally for the first time at their August 4 meeting. The first step in the LDDRB process is reviewing the project’s proposed mass and scale. City staff have put forward a “denial” recommendation for this first review, which is not unusual. It’s fairly common for a project to require multiple rounds of review with the LDDRB before receiving approval.

Here are several conceptual renderings for the proposed development. Keep in mind that these designs are preliminary and only address mass and scale, not necessarily materials or other design details. The design will definitely be refined in the coming months as part of the historic district design review process.

View from near the Downtown Children’s Playground across Cherry Creek:

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Wazee Street view:

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View from across the other side of the Wazee bridge over Cherry Creek:

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Wynkoop Street view with 1430 Wynkoop on the left:

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This is good news for Downtown Denver! Another big surface parking lot will be eradicated and replaced with an urban fabric-healing building that brings people and economic vitality to the edge of Cherry Creek.


Lower Downtown: Dairy Block Update #9

It’s been a couple of months since we last visited Dairy Block, and a lot has happened on the project site since then! All of the structures have topped out, the facade is starting to go up and the tower cranes have been taken down.

Let’s start out with an overview look on the Wazee Street side. The office portion of the project is receiving a red brick facade that’s progressing quickly.

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Here are two more ground level views of the office building from both Wazee and 18th Street.

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Swinging around to the 19th and Wazee intersection, the grey brickwork for the hotel, now known as The Maven, has started to go up.

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The Blake Street building is the furthest along with the facade and street level nearly complete. The architects, Shears Adkins Rockmore, did a great job integrating the new with the old.

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Dairy Block is looking sharp with the brickwork, and different facades at each corner. I can’t wait to see the final product!


Lower Downtown: Market Station Update #2

Since our Update #1 in February, Continuum Partners and their project team have been refining the design of the Market Station mixed-use development to meet the requirements of the LoDo design standards and receive approval from the Lower Downtown Design Review Board. The project already received approval from the LDDRB in December 2015 for mass and scale; since then they have been working to gain approval for more fine-grained building elements such as window sills, storefront awnings, and brick detailing. The Market Station project will be reviewed by the LDDRB next week, and the city staff recommendation is for approval. If the LDDRB agrees then the project will have cleared a major stage in the development approval process.

A quick glance at the renderings below and the ones we posted in February show that the project’s design has been refined in subtle ways. These images are from the project’s July 14 submittal to the LDDRB. Image credits go to Continuum Partners and their design team.

16th and Blake:

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16th and Market:

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Market Street arcade entry:

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17th and Market:

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17th Street paseo entry:

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17th and Blake:

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Additionally, in June the LDDRB approved the project’s Streetscape Plan. Here are a few images from the project’s June 2 streetscape submittal. Again, all images are credited to Continuum Partners and their design team.

Site plan:

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16th and Market streetscape perspective:

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16th Street paseo entry streetscape:

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Market Street streetscape:

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Blake Street and 17th Street streetscapes:

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It is great to see this project’s design evolve and advance toward construction. The Market Station project will not only complete the urban form for this block, but the significant retail, office, and residential uses will create additional pedestrian activity and further enliven the sidewalks of Downtown Denver.


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:

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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:

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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.