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Archive of posts filed under the Upper Downtown category.

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!


Union Station: 1975 18th Street Update #3

Union Station’s first mixed-income residential project is starting to make some progress. As a refresher, this is a four story, 108-unit apartment combining both market rate and low income units.

The concrete podium is now complete with the wood framing now up two stories. Here are two perspectives of the project from 19th Street.

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1975 18th Street has one more floor to go until it is topped out. This project takes the entire half block between 18th and 19th Street along Chestnut Place.

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How about some bonus pictures? As I was out taking photos, there were trains everywhere; from light rail to the freight lines. Each photo features five trains, how wonderful!

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1975 18th Street is expected to finish later this year.


Upper Downtown: SkyHouse Denver Update #5

Let’s quickly head over to Upper Downtown to take a look at Skyhouse Denver; a 25-story, 354-unit apartment building. Since the structure has topped out, the facade has been making its way up with the parking garage making steady progress.

The parking structure going in is a peculiar thing. First off, they are building it like you would any high-rise structure with a tower crane and concrete pours; no precast construction is being utilized. It would almost seem as if it is being built for a second tower to go on top at a future date but that is pure speculation at this point.

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SkyHouse Denver fills in a huge gap in the sea of parking lots around this part of Downtown Denver. Next time we visit it, we will take a look at the completed project. See you then!


New Upper Downtown Project: 14th and Court Apartments

A new apartment tower rising upwards of 14 stories may soon occupy a small 10,620 square foot site at 14th Street and Court Place in Upper Downtown Denver.

Block 233 is the tiny triangle-shaped block bounded by 14th Street, West Colfax Avenue, and Court Place where the downtown and metro grids meet. The site currently is home to the Denver Warm Welcome Court Childcare building, constructed in 1977. Below are Google Earth aerial and street view images with the location outlined in yellow:

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Recently, the Denver Post reported that Urban Villages, developer of Sugar Cube in LoDo, and Jeff Hermanson, CEO of Larimer Associates, are under contract to purchase the site from the City and County of Denver. The daycare center currently on the site will relocate to the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse at the Denver Justice Center.

The tower will feature ground-floor retail and restaurant uses, with the majority of the residential units as micro-apartments in the 300-350 square foot range. Given the small size and triangular shape of the parcel, accommodating structured or underground parking within the project is not practical and no parking will be provided on site except for possibly a few car-share spaces. The property is zoned D-C (Downtown Core). There are no parking requirements for any uses in the D-C zone.

The property is subject to the Civic Center View Plane that restricts building heights in the Civic Center area to preserve mountain views from the state capitol. For this parcel, the height of a building may not exceed 5,391 feet above sea level in elevation. According to Google Earth, the ground elevation of the site is approximately 5,239 feet above sea level, resulting in a building with a maximum building height of about 152 feet. The map below, courtesy of the City and County of Denver, shows the Civic Center View Plane height restrictions:

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As the Denver Post article notes, the proposed tower could be between 12 and 14 stories tall depending on the ultimate design of the tower and its floor-to-ceiling heights. Typically for multi-family residential buildings, each story is approximately 10 feet in height except for the ground-floor, which usually is in the 15-20 foot range. With a little over 150 feet to work with, that comes out to about a 12-14 story building. Given the preliminary status of the tower’s design, the number of units has not been reported nor is a rendering available.

This project will add a much-needed residential use to a part of Downtown that is dominated by government office uses during the day, which makes the area fairly dead at night. The proposed tower will also pair with the 192-foot high Wellington Webb Municipal Building across 14th Street to nicely anchor and frame the end of 14th Street.


Upper Downtown: Hyatt Place/Hyatt House Hotel Final Update

Back in the summer, we covered the Hyatt Place/Hyatt House hotel when it was near completion. Now it is time to wrap things up and take a look at the final product. Announced back in 2013, DenverInfill covered this project a total of eight times. Here are all of our previous posts that mentioned the Hyatt Place/Hyatt House.

New Downtown Denver Project: Hyatt Place/Hyatt House Hotel

Upper Downtown: Hyatt Place/Hyatt House Hotel Update #1

Upper Downtown: Hyatt Place/Hyatt House Hotel Update #2

Spring 2014: Downtown Denver Hole-in-the-Ground Census

Upper Downtown: Hyatt Place/Hyatt House Hotel Update #3

Upper Downtown: Hyatt Place/Hyatt House Hotel Update #4

Upper Downtown: Hyatt Place/Hyatt House Hotel Update #5

Upper Downtown: Hyatt Place/Hyatt House Hotel Update #6

The 21-story hotel is just a couple of blocks away from the Colorado Convention Center and provides Upper Downtown with 361 rooms. This area of Downtown Denver is riddled with surface parking lots making this project a great sight and breath of fresh air on the street level.

Now to the photos of the completed project, starting out with the street level. Looking up from 14th Street and Glenarm, you are greeted with stonework on the ground floor, a thin glass curtain wall that spans the entire height of the building, and a nicely treated, hidden parking structure.

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Stepping back a couple of blocks, you can see the glass curtain wall exceeds the roof of the tower and slopes up, making the roof-line visually appealing. Overall, from these angles, this project looks fantastic and provides a great street presence.

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Now let’s address another element of this project that is very prominent: the blank walls. Ken discussed the topic of blank walls in great depth, covering the Le Meridien/AC Hotel project. I recommend heading over to that post for a great read on this topic.

Regardless, this project is complete and the final outcome leaves us with these blank walls. To the southeast, along 14th Street, a blank wall stands next to a historic office building built in 1923. Given the age and historic status of that building, I’m not sure why there is a blank wall; I don’t think 414 14th Street will ever get replaced.

Looking up Glenarm towards Central Downtown, two small structures sit behind the Hyatt with a parking lot further down. A blank wall makes sense here, with hopes the parking lot will develop and cover most, if not all, of that blank wall. A great example of a blank wall that is now getting covered, is over at The Platform in the Union Station neighborhood.

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With two very large surface lots on the same block, there is a very good chance at least one of the blank walls will get covered in the next few years. But what about present day, while we are waiting for that to happen? Well, I found a couple of examples…

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Last weekend, I visited another city that has a similar mission in their downtown: eliminate surface parking lots and become a dense, pedestrian and transit friendly urban center. There, I found dozens of blank walls next to surface lots and shorter buildings, just like the Hyatt. Since Denver has never had a real problem with blank walls, the subject of treatment has not been addressed whereas in other places, blank walls are a common occurrence. Here are two examples I found, both simple and complex. As I understand giant advertisements are not really Denver’s thing, it is a neat concept. I’m sure an artist here in Denver already has plans for these giant canvases.

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The Hyatt House/Hyatt Place is a great start to adding density to Upper Downtown Denver and activating sidewalks that have been asleep for many years.


Upper Downtown: SkyHouse Denver Update #4

If you are a crane nerd, like myself, you should tune into this update as this isn’t your ordinary SkyHouse post! Over the years, I have gone over the different types of tower cranes we see around Downtown Denver, and explained why we haven’t seen certain types of cranes around.

With that being said, there is an exciting sight over at the SkyHouse Denver project. Recently, a luffing jib crane was installed to help workers build the parking structure.

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What is a luffing jib crane, and why is it unique in Downtown Denver? Luffing jib cranes are designed to be used in tight, urban spaces where a top slewing crane (the yellow SkyHouse crane, for example) would not fit. In addition, they have the capability to lift vertically, and have a very small radius compared to a top slewing crane. Given we still have a lot of open space around our new projects, these cranes are rarely used around Downtown Denver. The last luffing jib crane was sighted in 2011 which helped build DaVita World Headquarters.

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Now back to the progress of SkyHouse Denver starting with some higher views of the project. The structure has officially topped out at 26 stories with the glass facade almost complete. The foundation for the parking structure is now underway.

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Here are some additional views of SkyHouse beginning with the intersection of 18th and Broadway.

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Continuing to 17th and Broadway…

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And finally, across the street from the Brown Palace.

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This is the final form of the main SkyHouse structure, since it is now topped out. It’s very impressive what kind of an impact a 26-story building has in a sea of parking lots!


Upper Downtown: SkyHouse Denver Update #3

Three months ago, Skyhouse Denver was just peeking above the ground, beginning to make a statement at 10 stories. Fast forward to present day, the structure height has doubled with the glassy facade following directly behind. Let’s take a look!

We all know that Upper Downtown is riddled with a giant sea of surface parking creating Downtown Denver’s largest no-man’s-land. Back in 2008, One Lincoln Park started to break the mold with a 32-story condo tower providing 177 units. Now, seven years later, Skyhouse takes up another large surface parking lot.

With only two more stories to go, this project is starting to make quite the impact. With the 1970’s and 1980’s architecture surrounding Skyhouse, we can surely appreciate a refreshed, modern design in this district.

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The facade is composed of blue/aquamarine glass which has only been seen on two other residential buildings here in Denver: Glass House and The Spire.

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Looking at the project from above, you can see that excavation for the detached parking structure has begun. If this follows the other Skyhouse projects around the country, the precast parking structures go up fairly quick.

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So what about the Broadway street level? I think we can all agree this makes a great difference.

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Skyhouse Denver will be topping out within the next few weeks. The rooftop will be set back from the main structure and will have some interesting architectural features. Head on over to our announcement post for a rendering refresher!


Upper Downtown: SkyHouse Denver Update #2

Happy Friday DenverInfill readers! To end the week, we are going to take a quick peek at SkyHouse Denver which is starting to climb up along Broadway.

This week, I am conveniently working a block away from SkyHouse, giving me a great opportunity to step outside and check out the project. The structure is now up to the 10th floor, with fifteen more to go.

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If you like tracking projects on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis make sure you check out this project’s webcam. Here is a screenshot from today.

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Courtesy of OxBlue: http://oxblue.com/open/skyhouseapartments

Have a great weekend!


Upper Downtown: Hyatt Place/Hyatt House Hotel Update #6

Let’s head on over to an area of Downtown Denver that hasn’t seen any form of development for many years. Over the past two years, we have been following a 21-story 361-room dual-brand hotel project: Hyatt House / Hyatt Place.

The structure has topped out and most of the facade is now complete. The only other element that is missing on the exterior are the logos on the blank walls. Here are some views from the southwest side of the building.

In regards to the blank walls, the one facing 13th street might get covered up in the near future with another hotel project, and the one on 14th street is a great blank canvas for possibly a mural, if allowed.

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The 14th Street side is where this project really stands out and has a great street presence. In the corner, a glass facade rises up the entire building length with the street-level enclosed in glass.

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Looking southeast on 14th Street towards Colfax, you can clearly see how much of a presence this building has. A pointed roof is always a welcome change on our skyline.

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White Lodging is expecting a completion date of around November of this year, which will be the next time we look at this project for a final update.