Skip to content
Archive of posts filed under the Education category.

Auraria: MSU Denver Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building Update #3

In our last update on MSU Denver’s new Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building in May, the steel skeleton of the structure was taking shape. Since then, much of the facade has been installed.

Here’s a 360-degree tour of the new building’s construction progress.

At the corner of Auraria Parkway and 7th Street looking east:


From 7th and Walnut looking north:


From the MSU neighborhood square looking west:


Near 9th and Auraria Parkway looking south:


Let’s conclude with a few renderings, courtesy of MSU Denver and Anderson Mason Dale. These are quite similar to the ones we presented in our initial post on the project in 2015, but represent what appears to be the final design.




The new MSU Denver Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building appears to be on track for its planned Fall 2017 opening.

Auraria: CU Denver Wellness Center Update #1

With today’s official groundbreaking ceremony, the CU Denver Wellness Center is under construction!

Utility relocation work occurred at the development site at the corner of Speer Boulevard and Auraria Parkway earlier in the summer in preparation for construction. For the past month or so, the project site—formerly a surface parking lot—has been fenced off awaiting today’s start of construction. Here’s a photo I took of the site a few weeks ago:

According to the University’s webpage dedicated to the new facility, the new CU Denver Wellness Center will offer a variety of amenities including:

  • Commuter lounge featuring a student kitchen, coffee shop, wellness information desk, lockers, study rooms, game rooms, and a lounge areas
  • Wellness suite with consultation, conference and reflection rooms
  • Fitness center that includes a three-court gymnasium, a six-lane lap pool, a 10,000-square foot cardio and weight room, three-story rock-climbing wall, two group fitness studios, and locker rooms
  • Outdoor amenities featuring social spaces and a bike repair shop

The CU Denver Wellness Center will cost about $42 million and is being paid for primarily by student fees approved by CU Denver students in a 2015 election.

We have some new renderings to share with you, courtesy of CU Denver. The project was designed by Anderson Mason Dale and SmithGroupJJR.

12th Street elevation looking east:


Aerial view looking southwest, with the Speer Boulevard/Auraria Parkway intersection at center foreground and the recently completed CU Denver Commons building on the left and the MSU Hospitality Center and Marriott SpringHill Suites hotel on the right:


Sidewalk-level view of the center’s Speer/Auraria corner at night with the rock-climbing wall on display:


The new CU Denver Wellness Center should be completed in time to open for the Spring 2018 semester.


Downtown Denver Non-Residential Projects: June 2016 Update

Yesterday we posted our Downtown Denver Residential Projects June 2016 Update, a semi-annual summary of new housing in the city’s urban core since the start of 2010. Today we take a look at all non-residential projects—office, hotel, civic, and other uses—that are completed, under construction, or proposed. Like our housing analysis, we use a 1.5-mile radius of the historic D&F tower at 16th and Arapahoe as our Downtown survey area for this summary. For our previous assessment, see our December 2015 Non-Residential Projects Update post.


New 1144 Fifteenth office tower under construction in Downtown Denver, June 2016.

Click on the image to view our June 2016 Downtown Denver Non-Residential Projects exhibit or view/download a high-resolution PDF version (6 MB) formatted for printing at 11″ x 17″.

Office: The only office building completed during the past six months within our Downtown survey area was the 40,000 sf Industry Phase 3 project in River North, bringing the total square footage of office space completed since the start of 2010 to 1,933,000. However, two big projects started construction since our last update: the 430,000 sf 16 Chestnut building and the 210,000 sf Riverview at 1700 Platte project. With the other projects already in progress, that puts the total amount of new office space currently under construction in Downtown Denver at 2,053,000 sf. After all office projects currently underway are completed, about 4 million square feet of space—a significant amount in any real estate cycle—will be added to the Downtown market since 2010. In looking at the office projects still in the Proposed category, it’s likely that four of them totaling around 200,000 sf (1510 Market, 1615 Platte, Market Station, and SugarSquare) will break ground before the end of 2016.

Hotel: Downtown Denver’s hotel market continues to thrive in light of record-setting attendance at the Colorado Convention Center and the Mile High City’s emergence as an urban tourism destination in its own right. The number of new hotel rooms added to the Downtown market since 2010 stands at 1,776 and the completion of the 1,128 rooms currently under construction will put the number of hotel rooms in Downtown Denver over the 10,000 mark. Since our last update, three more hotel projects were announced (1701 Blake, 1600 Market, and 2525 16th Street) bringing the number of proposed new hotel rooms in the city center to 908.

Civic/Other: Compared to the office, hotel, and multi-family residential markets, the number of new projects falling under our Civic/Other category (uses such as cultural, educational, governmental, etc.) is fairly minimal. Currently, only two projects (Kirkland Museum and MSU Aerospace Engineering) are under construction, and only one project (CU Denver Wellness Center) is proposed and is scheduled to get underway this fall. But the few new entries in this category reflect not a lack of investment in this area but more the fact that we just finished a massive civic-projects building boom; just look at the Completed list.

Like our Multi-family Residential analysis, we added a Floor column to our exhibit this time. Here’s a bar chart showing the distribution of projects by the number of above-grade floors:


Interestingly, the results are almost identical to our multi-family residential assessment. Half (33 of 66) of the projects are buildings 5 stories or less, about one quarter (16 projects) are in the 6-10 floor range, and around one quarter (17 projects) are buildings 11 floors or taller. Huh.

Just for fun, let’s look at all projects together—multi-family residential, office, hotel, and civic/other—to get an overall sense of the scale of new developments in the Downtown area since the start of the decade. The figures below are not just the merger of the data used to produce the bar chart above and in yesterday’s residential update. In order to avoid double-counting several mixed-use projects such as 16M, which includes both residential and office uses in one structure, I had to filter out the duplicates to come up with a list of unique buildings/projects. Also, as we did yesterday, townhome projects were eliminated from the residential data set. Anyway, here’s the frequency distribution table followed by a bar chart:



So far, 117 different projects have been completed or are under construction within the Downtown area in the past few years. That’s a lot of “urban fabric repair” going on! Of those, 23 are buildings greater than 10 stories high. And while our baseline for tracking these project is January 2010, in reality, the overwhelming majority of these projects have occurred since 2012 when the Denver economy came roaring out of the recession.

That’s it for our June 2016 summaries! You can access all of our semi-annual summaries on one page using the “Development Summary” graphic link on the right sidebar.

Auraria: MSU Denver Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building Update #2

Construction of Metro State’s new Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building is moving along nicely. In our Update #1 in February, excavation for the structure was underway.

Below are a few photos from this past weekend. First, the view looking northwest across the MSU neighborhood green:


Gap between the new Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building and the existing MSU Denver Student Success Building:


Close-up of the building’s southwest corner along 7th Street:


From across Auraria Parkway, the building’s north face:


New Auraria street wall developing along Auraria Parkway:


This project is schedule for completion in 2017.

Auraria: MSU Denver Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building Update #1

The Metropolitan State University of Denver new Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building is under construction!

Excavation recently started for the 142,000, four-story facility at 7th and Auraria Parkway. Check out our first post on this project for renderings and more.

I stopped by the site the other day and snapped these photos:



It’s great to see Auraria continuing to grow! The new facility is on pace for a 2017 opening.

Downtown Denver Non-Residential Projects: December 2015 Update

Yesterday we published our December 2015 Multi-Family Residential Projects update for Downtown Denver, now let’s take a look at the scope of non-residential development, i.e. office, hotel, and civic/institutional uses, over the past six months. Like our residential analysis, we use a 1.5-mile radius of the historic D&F clock tower at 16th and Arapahoe as our Downtown survey area. Use this link to view our June 2015 Non-Residential Projects Update post.

The historic D&F clock tower at 16th and Arapahoe in among Downtown Denver's high-rises, April 2015.

The historic D&F clock tower at 16th and Arapahoe in among Downtown Denver’s high-rises, April 2015.

Click on the image below to view in full size our December 2015 Downtown Denver Non-Residential Projects exhibit or use this link (Downtown-Denver-Non-Residential-Projects-Summary-December-2015) to view/download a high-resolution PDF version (6 MB) formatted for printing at 11″ x 17″.


Office: Since our June 2015 summary, two office buildings, 1601 Wewatta and the Triangle Building, have been completed, bringing the total square footage of office space completed in our survey area since the start of the decade to nearly two million square feet (1,933,000). The amount of new office space currently under construction is 1,453,000 square feet, a decrease since June due mostly to the completion of the aforementioned projects, but two new office developments are new to the Under Construction list: 999 17th Street and the Colorado Health Foundation headquarters. Regarding 999 17th Street, as we mentioned in our post on the project a few weeks ago, preliminary site work is underway but a formal project announcement has not yet been made; however, for the purposes of this summary, we are categorizing the project as being under construction. Proposed new office space has stayed largely the same at a little over 1 million square feet (1,180,000) but with one notable difference: since June, East West Partners announced an anchor tenant (DaVita) for their 16 Chestnut project allowing that project to definitively move forward in 2016. One major new office tower is in the pipeline… more on that soon.

Hotel: Downtown Denver’s hotel market continues to thrive. Since June, an additional 346 rooms were completed (Hyatt Place/Hyatt House) bringing the total number of new hotel rooms added to the Downtown market since the start of the decade to 1,776. The number of hotel rooms under construction increased since June to 1,128. While the Hyatt project moved to the completed column, a new hotel development with more rooms, the Le Meridien/AC Hotel, started construction. The list of proposed hotel projects has now been narrowed down to two totaling 319 rooms. Several new hotels, however, are in the pipeline. More on those projects in early 2016.

Civic/Other: In the Civic/Other category, which includes cultural, educational, and other institutional projects, the numbers have mostly stayed the same since our June update. No new projects were added to the Proposed category and one small but important project, the Kirkland Museum, started construction. Overall since the start of the decade, 3,521,000 square feet of Civic/Other projects have been completed.

That’s it for our December 2015 recap. For similar assessments that use a slightly different geographic approach, please check out the excellent development summary reports at the Downtown Denver Partnership. Our next comprehensive update will be in June 2016.

Downtown Denver Non-Residential Projects: June 2015 Update

Earlier this month we took a look at the dozens of multi-family residential projects developed in Downtown Denver since 2010. Today, we are focusing on Downtown’s non-residential development projects—that is, office, hotel, civic, and institutional uses—during the same time period. We did something similar in September 2014, but that was for office projects only.

1144 15th Street (left) and 1401 Lawrence (right) office developments. Image courtesy of DenverInfill reader Elizabeth W.

1144 Fifteenth Street (left) and 1401 Lawrence (right) office developments. Image courtesy of DenverInfill reader Elizabeth W.

As with our recent residential analysis, projects included are those within a 1.5-mile radius of the historic D&F Tower at 16th and Arapahoe, which works well as a geographic center for the Downtown area. Click on the image below to view in full size our June 2015 Downtown Denver Non-Residential Projects map and table. Use this link to view/download a high-resolution PDF version (6 MB) formatted for printing at 11″ x 17″.


Please note: The gross square footage figures listed are approximate. All projects are new construction with the exception of the Crawford Hotel at Denver Union Station and the Marriott Renaissance Hotel at the Colorado National Bank building. These two adaptive reuse projects were included to provide a more complete look at the Downtown hotel development market.

Office: Since 2010, approximately 3.2 million square feet of office space has been completed or is currently under construction in Downtown Denver. That represents roughly a 10% increase in the total Central Business District office inventory. The number of publicly announced Downtown office projects that have not yet broken ground is now down to just a handful. This is probably a good thing, as it makes sense to see how quickly the nearly 2 million square feet of space currently under development is absorbed. Fortunately, there are a lot of positive factors driving demand for office space in Downtown these days, such as the increasing number of firms who recognize their employees want great access to transit and an engaging, walkable work environment.

Hotel: 1,430 new hotel rooms have been added since 2010 with another 983 currently under construction. All of these, with the exception of the Fairfield Inn Lower Highland, are in the core Downtown area within easy walking distance of the Colorado Convention Center and/or RTD’s free MallRide or MetroRide. If and when the two hotels in the Proposed category are completed, they will put the number of hotel rooms in the Downtown core over 10,000 for the first time. Meanwhile, tourism numbers for Denver are setting records, business is booming at the Colorado Convention Center, and Downtown hotel occupancy rates are very strong.

Civic/Other: The public and institutional sectors have been busy investing in Downtown Denver, with over 3 million square feet of space added through numerous civic buildings, museums, and educational and health facilities.

The Proposed section for all three use categories is limited to those projects we’ve covered already on DenverInfill. Of course, there are more developments “in the pipeline” than these, but projects that haven’t been made public can be hard to quantify, so we’re not attempting to do so as part of this assessment.

In summary, Downtown Denver is firing on all cylinders. A strong office market fueled by companies moving Downtown for its desirable transit/walkable environment? Check. A strong hotel market driven by booming convention center business and Downtown urban tourism? Check. A steady stream of public and institutional projects reflecting our community’s desire to keep Downtown the civic heart of the city and region? Check. An off-the-charts Downtown multi-family residential market reflecting strong demand for an urban lifestyle? Check. Like all booms, this one will someday come to an end. Hopefully it will be a “soft landing” as they say. For now, however, the sheer magnitude of new infill development in Downtown Denver since 2010 (my rough estimate: $5 billion) is staggering; a sign that we must be doing something right.

New Auraria Project: CU Denver Wellness Center

Thanks to CU Denver students, a new building is coming to Downtown Denver’s Auraria Campus that will anchor the corner of Speer Boulevard and Auraria Parkway.

The new CU Denver Wellness Center will contain approximately 85,000 square feet of space and cost approximately $42 million. The facility will include weight and fitness studios, basketball courts, a rock climbing wall, wellness and information center, training and assessment rooms, social lounge, locker rooms, a multi-activity court, and a 6-lane indoor swimming pool. Here is a Google Earth aerial showing the proposed building’s location at the Speer/Auraria corner in between the new CU Student Commons Building and the MSU Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center/Springhill Suites Hotel:


This graphic, from the CU Denver video noted below, shows the building site plan and adjacent buildings:


The project was initiated by CU Denver students and will be funded primarily by student fees approved by CU Denver students in a recent election. For a complete overview of the genesis of the project and the inspiring story about how the CU Denver students convinced the CU Regents to support the project, please read this article by Chris Casey of the CU Denver University Communications office. Another great resource about the project is the project’s webpage on the CU Denver Office of Student Life website and this video from that webpage:

The following images are all screenshots I captured from the video. Please note that the building has not yet been officially designed. These renderings represent design concepts used for project scoping and cost estimating purposes, not the proposed architectural design. But they do give us a good sense of the scale and general layout of the building. It appears from the project’s webpage that credit for these design images go to Brailsford & Dunlavey and SmithGroupJJR.

12th Street elevation looking towards Downtown:


Courtyard passage below rooftop public space:


Auraria Parkway elevation:


Speer/Auraria corner:


Courtyard between the Wellness Center and the CU Denver Student Commons Building looking toward the Tivoli Student Union:


Finally, here’s a view of the Speer/Auraria corner where the building will be located. I took this shot from the CU Denver building at 14th and Larimer where I work at the College of Architecture and Planning:


According to the preliminary schedule, construction would begin in 2016 with completion set for January 2018.

Congratulations to the CU Denver students for their leadership and initiative in developing this exciting project!

New Auraria Project: MSU Denver Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building

Downtown Denver’s steadily growing Auraria Campus is about to get another new building: the Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building.

Slated for the southeast corner of Auraria Parkway and 7th Street, the new $70 million academic facility will feature 142,000 square feet in four floors. Here’s a Google Earth image with the site outlined in yellow:


Metro State’s new Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building is critical to help Colorado remain a national leader in the aerospace sector. According to the Metro Denver EDC, Colorado ranks third in the country behind California and Florida in the space economy, and metro Denver ranks first in the nation in total private-sector aerospace employment. The new Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building consolidates the university’s aviation and aerospace-related programs into a state-of-the-art facility for training workers skilled in advanced aerospace design, manufacturing, and assembly. Here are some images of the project, courtesy of Anderson Mason Dale Architects:

North elevation along Auraria Parkway, with the recently completed MSU Student Success Center‘s cantilevered wing visible to the left:


West elevation with Auraria Parkway on the left and 7th Street in the foreground:


South elevation looking northeast:


South and east elevations looking northwest:


Construction should begin later this year, with completion set for 2017.