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).