Before we get to the exciting infill news, I would like to thank everyone for all of your kind words, views, and shares with my ‘A Day in Denver’ photo project. It has been a fun week watching it spread around the internet and seeing everyone enjoying it in the process. Truly, thank you readers of DenverInfill. It wouldn’t have been nearly as fun of a launch week without you all!
Now for the infill! Remember in November when we provided an updated rendering of the Hyatt Place / Hyatt House project, predicting construction was to begin soon? As of last weekend, construction has already begun and heavy machinery has started to move onto the site!
The parking lot has already been torn up and a caisson drill has been moved on site. Because the hotel will have mostly above ground parking, there will be minimal excavation needed. Once the foundation and utility relocation is complete, we should see this project rise quickly. Here are a couple pictures of the site.
The 21-story, 361-room hotel still has a long ways to go but it is always exciting seeing another parking lot bite the dust in Upper Downtown!
White Lodging, a national hotel developer based out of Merrillville, Indiana recently announced plans to construct a 21-story hotel at the corner of 14th Street and Glenarm Place in Downtown Denver. White Lodging also developed the Embassy Suites Downtown Denver/Convention Center hotel at 14th and Stout that opened in late 2010. The new project will be located across the street from the Denver Athletic Club and next door to the small but historic Colorado Press Association and Denver Press Club buildings. Here’s a Google Earth aerial where I’ve outlined the project location:
The project will be a dual-branded Hyatt Place and Hyatt House property, with a total of 346 rooms. While an official rendering of the project is not yet available, here is a site plan the developers recently submitted to the city as part of the development review process:
What this site plan tells us is that the hotel’s main entry will be off of 14th Street, with a drop-off/valet lane to the right of the bike lane, similar to the condition at the Hotel Teatro at 14th and Arapahoe. Also, the streetscape will be upgraded in front of the tower to include the enhanced 14th Street landscaped planters, plus additional streetscaping along Glenarm and sidewalk canopies along both 14th and Glenarm, which will greatly improve the pedestrian environment.
This project is significant not only for the fact that it is a new 21-story tower in Downtown Denver, but also that its location is in a part of Downtown—sometimes referred to as the Silver Triangle—that hasn’t seen a lot of private-sector development in many decades. This project represents the expansion of developer interest into a part of Downtown ripe with development potential.
Here’s the site:
According to White Lodging, construction will begin late this year and be completed by Spring 2015.
This is great news for Downtown Denver! We will keep you posted as the project works its way through the development review process with the city and when official renderings of the tower are available.
Three street reconstruction projects are underway in Downtown Denver. Here’s a quick look at these civic investments—two of which will greatly enhance the pedestrian environment in the vicinity.
First, let’s start with the one that is a straight-forward street reconstruction project. 15th Street is being rebuilt in concrete between the bridge over the South Platte River and the intersection of 15th/29th/Boulder/Umatilla (one of those fun grid-colliding Downtown intersections). As a Lower Highland resident, I can vouch for the fact that 15th Street through there, particularly around the Platte Street intersection, has been a bumpy ride for years. The street reconstruction is about 50% complete, as you can see from these photos:
Next is Larimer Street between 15th and 17th. This project includes reconstructing the street in concrete (from the current asphalt) as well as removing one traffic lane and widening the sidewalk with the reclaimed space. The sidewalk expansion will occur on the Writer Square/Tabor Center side of the block. While the Larimer sides of those two mixed-use complexes are not all that interesting from a pedestrian perspective, they’re more interesting than the Larimer Place/Barclay condo towers on the other side of the street. Bulb-outs (or, if you prefer, bump-outs) will be installed at each intersection, shortening the crosswalk distance across Larimer even more. Currently, Larimer is four through lanes in this area, and at 15th, the left two lanes continue as through lanes into Larimer Square and the right two lanes are right-turn-only lanes onto 15th. After the reconstruction, there will be three through lanes, and at 15th Street the left lane will continue into Larimer Square, the right lane will be right-turn-only onto 15th, and the center lane will be a combo through/right-turn lane.
Finally, there’s the Colfax/13th/Tremont intersection. Chris blogged about this project a couple of months ago. That project is now under construction. Here’s a Google Earth aerial of the existing intersection (an automobile-oriented mess) and the diagram Chris provided of the reconfigured, more-pedestrian-friendly, new intersection:
Here’s a photo of the corner I took this morning:
There are more infrastructure improvements planned for the Downtown area coming up… topics for future blogs.
If pressed to name an historic district in Downtown Denver, I’d estimate that 98% of Denverites would cite Lower Downtown. In the 22 years since it was designated as an official Denver Historic District, LoDo has transcended from a seedy skid row of boarded-up buildings into one of the largest preserved Victorian-era commercial districts and coolest mixed-use neighborhoods in the country. Its fame is well-deserved. But less well known yet just as important is Downtown’s other historic district, the Downtown Denver Historic District, #7 in our countdown of Denver’s Top 10 Urbanism Achievements of the Aughts.
Unlike the Lower Downtown Historic District, which has relatively simple and straightforward boundaries, the Downtown Denver Historic District doesn’t really have any boundaries at all. The DDHD, designated by the city in 2000, consists of 43 buildings located on 18 different blocks throughout the Central Business District. About half of the DDHD’s buildings are also designated Denver Historic Landmark Structures, but the creation of the DDHD provides additional protection and control to ensure that these buildings will be around for a long, long time.
It is difficult to overemphasize the importance of the buildings in the DDHD to the integrity of Downtown Denver and to the soul of our city. Eleven of the buildings front the 16th Street Mall, and eleven more front 17th Street. These buildings are the core of Downtown. Their distinguished architecture, their impressive yet approachable scale, the craftsmanship and pride that went into them, gave credibility to a fledgling city back then, and give us today an understanding of our heritage as a city. Can you imagine Denver without the D&F Tower, the Brown Palace Hotel, or the Equitable Building? The fact that these buildings are scattered across a relative large area, from Tremont to Lawrence and 14th to 18th, means that you’re never more than a block or two from a building that serves as an historic anchor amid a sea of modernism and surface parking lots.
We lost a lot of great buildings during the second half of the 20th century, but the formation of the Downtown Denver Historic District in 2000 was a partial redemption and an important achievement in Denver’s evolving urbanism.
Here’s a press release from the Downtown Denver Partnership with good news!
Downtown Denver’s 14th Street will soon emerge has a vibrant pedestrian-oriented thoroughfare, thanks to the successful result of the November 3rd election in which private property owners along the street voted to contribute $4 million to the overall $14 million cost of the streetscaping project through the formation of a general improvement district.
Through this public-private initiative, sidewalks will be expanded, encouraging outdoor seating and ground floor shopping and dining uses that will bolster the experience one has when walking down the street. Key elements include the addition of about 200 trees, as well as new flower planters, better “wayfinding” signage, crosswalk bulb-outs, improved pedestrian lighting, decorative street corner monuments, bike racks and enhanced maintenance. A dedicated bicycle lane will be added in the street and on-street parking will be retained.
14th Street is becoming known as the “Ambassador Street” due to the diversity of visitor-oriented uses found along this corridor, including the Colorado Convention Center, the Denver Performing Arts Complex, the Hyatt Regency at Colorado Convention Center, and four other new or recently-constructed hotels. Altogether, $1.5 billion in public and private investments have been made along the corridor since 2002. The new streetscaping project will build on these investments to strengthen this new identity. The district covers the entire the 12 block length between Market Street and Colfax Avenue and extends approximately one-half block on either side of 14th Street.
“With the completion of this ambitious plan, 14th Street will serve as an excellent complement to the 16th Street Mall,” said Tami Door, President & CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. “Consistent with the vision of the 2007 Downtown Area Plan, 14th Street will truly be a magnet for pedestrians, which will benefit residents, business owners and the overall community.” The project will cost roughly $14 million, with property owners contributing $4 million, and $10 million coming out of the Better Denver Bond Program, which was created in 2007.
“14th Street will see improvements on every level, from bike lanes to traffic signals, to sidewalk improvements and other placemaking installations for a truly multi-modal corridor,” said Deputy Mayor and Manager of Public Works, Bill Vidal. “The project is unique in that in addition to the Better Denver Bond funds, we have the property owners contributing to the improvements and we are thrilled to see this public private partnership moving forward.”
Meeting and consulting with property owners in the District was a four year process, assumed by the City, the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District and the Downtown Denver Partnership. A consultant team including Parsons Brinkerhoff, CRL & Associates and studioINSITE assisted with design and consensus building services. From February 2009 to June 2009, eight two hour workshops were held with interested property owners, other stakeholders, City representatives and representatives from the Downtown Denver Partnership.
“We are glad we could contribute to a greater ‘sense of place’ along 14th Street,” said Josh Fine of Focus Property Group. “As property owners in the area, we recognized the opportunity we had not only to improve the value of what we own, but the type of experience people have when they’re here.” Construction is slated to begin in the summer of 2010 with the goal of completion in the fall of 2011.
Here is a 3D animation video of the project, modeled and produced by Parsons Brinkerhoff’s Project Visualization Group in Denver. Animation team: Brian Peterson (Viz lead), Eric Martens, Leslie Hodgdon (PM), Ryan Sander, Barry Bankhead, Larissa Holderness, and Sara Wedul (AE Intro).
It’s not an infill project, but it is an important renovation of an existing building in the core of Denver’s Central Business District. I’m talking about 1800 Glenarm, the unique three-sided 14-story office building on Block 193.
St. Charles Town Company recently purchased 1800 Glenarm and is in the process of a “green” renovation of the entire building into office condominiums. Here are a few images of the building after the conversion:
From the company’s 1800 Glenarm press release, here are additional details about the project:
“This building’s unique small floor plates (4,452 SF) allow business owners the opportunity to purchase most or all of an entire level, with direct elevator access. Expansive new windows at each corner allow views and natural light to flow from all directions. Space plans and finishes can be designed to meet each owner’s specific needs.
The building’s new elegant, contemporary lobby will make a statement with terrazzo flooring, Eucalyptus wall paneling and modern lighting. The lower level of the building has a number of common amenities including two handsome conference rooms with adjoining kitchen, a fitness area, showers, and a bicycle room.
1800 Glenarm is being redeveloped using green building practices. St. Charles Town Company will reuse the majority of the existing building structure. ‘Recycling’ this 60,000 square foot building structure will save the equivalent energy of 760,000 gallons of gasoline and 4,800 tons of construction waste. In order to vastly improve 1800 Glenarm’s energy efficiency, St. Charles Town Company will be performing an extensive overhaul on the building’s systems including new high-efficiency heating and cooling systems, Low-E windows, a new high-albedo (reflective) TPO roof membrane, and a wind turbine. Common areas will receive low-VOC paints to improve indoor air quality. Conference rooms will have Energy Star-rated appliances. Restrooms will have occupancy sensors to save energy, as well as highly-efficient water closets and fixtures to lower water use. Overall, the core & shell building is being engineered to exceed the IBC-2003 Energy Code requirements. St. Charles Town Company will also be providing buyers with the option of a sustainable tenant finish package that features materials such as concrete kitchen countertops, bamboo woodwork, and natural fiber flooring.
1800 Glenarm is conveniently located on Broadway, one block north of 17th Street – Denver’s Wall Street of the West. The iconic Brown Palace Hotel is just around the corner. Within a short walk are the 16th Street Mall, Colorado Convention Center and some of Downtown Denver’s best restaurants. The building has direct walking access to multiple modes of alternative transportation being within two blocks of the 20th & Welton light rail station, Civic Center Station, and the 16th Street Mall Shuttle. 1800 Glenarm will also have bicycle storage, showers, and changing facilities in the lower level of the building, making it convenient for owners and their employees to take advantage of this free transportation option.
St. Charles Town Company (www.stcharlestown.com) is an established Denver-based development firm led by its President, Charlie Woolley. The company is best known its work redeveloping the historic Equitable Building into a very successful office condominium project, as well as the Lowenstein Theater redevelopment – home of the Tattered Cover Book Store on East Colfax.”
In addition to Downtown Denver’s many new construction projects, it’s great to see all the renovation/conversion projects that are taking place in Downtown too, like 1800 Glenarm. They can be just as important as new construction, as a tired, underutilized building can often have the same detrimental effect on the vitality of its surrounding area as a surface parking lot. Whether renovation or new infill, the massive investments in Downtown Denver continues.
With the recent completion of One Lincoln Park, the 32-story condo tower at Lincoln and Welton Streets on Block 177 in Downtown Denver, now is a good time to take a look back at the project that was the first residential high-rise to join the Downtown skyline in twenty years.
One Lincoln Park was the topic of my very first blog entry, dated July 5, 2005. At that time, we didn’t even know the exact location of the project; all we had to go on was the teaser ad that appeared in the June 24-30, 2005 edition of the Denver Business Journal:
In my March 21, 2006 blog, I reported that One Lincoln Park had their ceremonial groundbreaking that day. Looking back on it, that was a pretty fast turnaround from project announcement to groundbreaking: about 8 months. Don’t you wish all projects could get underway so quickly?
It took a few months for actual construction to get started however. Here’s a photo of the site from my May 7, 2006 blog:
By October 2006, the tower crane had been installed:
and by the end of November 2006, One Lincoln Park construction was fully engaged:
Then, it was just a matter of watching the building go up.
January 2007 – June 2007 – July 2007:
August 2007 – September 2007 – January 2008:
February 2008 – April 2008 – July 2008:
Congratulations, One Lincoln Park and welcome to the skyline! Now, if we could only get about 30 more One Lincoln Parks in Downtown…