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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.


Denver International Airport South Terminal Expansion Final Update

As we all know, the A-Line from Denver Union Station to Denver International Airport opened over the weekend. We, here at DenverInfill / DenverUrbanism, took the opportunity to photograph the great new transit line along with the south terminal expansion over at DIA.

Back in February 2012, we provided the renderings for the project but never did any construction updates. Now that this project is complete, it is definitely worth covering.

The signature structure in the expansion is the 500-room Westin Hotel. Resembling wings, or how ever else you would like to interpret it, the 15-story building creates a whole new look for the airport. Here are a few photos looking at it from the new Denver Airport commuter rail station.

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Also included in the expansion is a 60,000 square foot plaza that connects the Jeppesen Terminal with the new hotel and rail station. Once you leave the Jeppesen Terminal, also known as the great hall, you are greeted by a glass canopy that protects you from the elements. It also covers the escalator that goes down to the rail station.

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The plaza is a great public space where the airport can hold events, live music, and festivals. In these photos, everyone was gathered for the A-Line grand opening ceremonies.

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Back under the glass canopy, there is enough room for a stage and ample seating.

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The south end of the plaza looks over the rail station canopy and offers views of the mountains on a clear day.

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A balcony runs along the entire hotel and features patio space for the retail that lines the plaza. This space will be open 24 hours which will be great for passengers and visitors!

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The hotel lobby is a spectacular sight with an arched ceiling and glass curtain walls on both ends.

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The hotel lobby also features a bar with ample seating around the room.

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What a great view of the commuter rail station!

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That wraps up the South Terminal Expansion. Keep your eye on DenverUrbanism this week for all of the great A-Line festivities that went on over the weekend.


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″.

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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″.

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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.


West Colfax: Mile High Vista Final Update

This Past weekend, the City of Denver celebrated the opening of the new Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Library in the West Colfax Neighborhood. This library is one of three components of the Mile High Vista Project that I first introduced in 2013. Here’s a photo of the project as it stands today.

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I realize that I’ve been a bit behind on posting about this project (the first component a 7-story workforce housing project south of the library opened last fall -more about that later) but last fall I took a job as City Planner for the City of Evans and have moved to Northern Colorado. Anyway, I made it down for the grand opening celebration last Saturday and thought it would only be fitting to give everyone an update.

The new 25,000 SF library is a very modern, colorful and highly textured addition to a very busy Colfax intersection. While the form of the building is basically a rectangular box the colors and textures really make it stand out within the neighborhood. Neon signage incorporated into the Facade ties back to the historic Colfax “car culture” of the ’50s and ’60s and the colorful horizontal lines speak to the “speed of travel,” not just of cars but also of information. Here are two closer views of that colorful facade.

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With two entrances, one at the corner of Colfax and Irving and the other on the east side facing the parking lot, it is open to both walk-up and drive-up traffic; perfect for a neighborhood that is transitioning from a car-only neighborhood to one that’s more walkable and transit-able.

Inside the library is very open, modern and glassy. There’s a lot of natural light (especially from the north side facing Colfax) and bright modern colors are used throughout the building. Reading rooms open to views of downtown, the mountains, and the Cheltenham Elementary School grounds diagonally across Colfax from the Library. If you’d rather escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, there is a interior courtyard on the second floor where library users can sit outside during the warmer summer months. Here’s a shot of a lower level reading area along Colfax and the main stairway to the second floor.

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One other cool feature; the Building is designed to meet LEED Silver standards and the building is designed to educate the public on the sustainable features of the building. This mural in the main lobby, begins the conversation.

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Now a little update on the Workforce housing project.

The “Avondale Apartments” which opened last Fall contains 70+ units of affordable housing plus amenities, and some rentable office space on the lower two levels.  The building is quite modern and almost minimalist in its color and material palate. It serves as in interesting counterpoint to the more richly decorated library. (Side note: I took these pictures last October, so I apologize for them looking warm and sunny while we still have snow on the ground.)

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This building met LEED Gold standards (an amazing feat for an affordable housing project) and includes a rooftop solar array (sadly invisible from the street). While the 7-story building dwarfs the 2-story library, it blends in just fine with the four 8-story apartment towers built in the ’60s that currently exist to across the street to the south. This photo shows the new building in relation to the older towers.

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The last component of this project, which has yet to be realized, is a retail pad just east of the Library along Colfax to be developed by the Urban Land Conservancy. The following picture shows the site from inside the library. Development of this parcel will help create even more of a street wall along Colfax and bring some needed retail and potential office space to the West Colfax corridor. Unfortunately, it might also block a portion of this great view of Downtown and Mile High Stadium from the second floor of the Library.

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New Arapahoe Square Project: Lawrence Street Community Center

The Denver Rescue Mission recently broke ground on their new Lawrence Street Community Center, located next door to their shelter facility at Park Avenue and Lawrence in the Arapahoe Square district.

The new Community Center will provide a safe place for the homeless to gather and receive needed services during the daytime before the Denver Rescue Mission’s shelter opens for the evening. The one-story facility will feature a kitchen, a 216-seat dining area, showers and restrooms, and an enclosed courtyard. For more details about the project and the services that will be offered at the Lawrence Street Community Center, the Denver Rescue Mission’s website has a nice bullet-point summary.

I’ve outlined the project location on this Google Earth image from October 2014:

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This rendering, courtesy of Eidos Architects, shows the one-story facility and courtyard. The two-story building on the left is the existing Denver Rescue Mission and the two-story building on the right is an unrelated property across the alley on Arapahoe Street.

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Ryan and I were at the site around the end of January when the project officially broke ground:

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The Lawrence Street Community Center is expected to open Fall 2015.


Denver Union Station Update #128: The Historic Station Opens!

As we near our final update on the Denver Union Station redevelopment, there is one final milestone in the project that has been reached: the historic station is now open to the public! On Saturday July 12th, Union Station had a soft opening, meaning only a portion of the ground floor retail and amenities inside the building are open. The grand opening and block party will be on July 26th!

To sum it up in a few words, the inside of the historic station looks absolutely incredible. Everything from the new benches and couches, to the historically accurate chandeliers, this building has gone through a complete transformation. I encourage you to head to our post from December 2012 to see the before photos!

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There will be two bars in the station. One on the ground floor and the other on the mezzanine level. The ‘Terminal Bar’ on the ground floor will feature benches on the outside as well as a seating room inside the bar.

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The second level bar will feature multiple couches and chairs along the eastern portion of the mezzanine. Bar seating is also available with a great view of 17th Street!

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The ground floor retail outside the station is done incredibly well. The patios hug the station closely with entrances scattered throughout the wing buildings.

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Last but not least, here are two views I was able to capture from the mezzanine level; one from a hotel room looking towards the Union Station neighborhood and the other from the mezzanine bar!

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This project will be complete by July 26th! We will see you at the grand opening! As the date nears, we will provide you with more information and details about the event.


Denver Union Station: Transit Center Grand Opening Part 5

For the final part of our Denver Union Station Transit Center grand opening coverage, we are going to head back under the very impressive commuter rail train canopy. This was the first completed piece of the transit center when it opened to Amtrak back in February, however our coverage would not be complete if we didn’t photograph it at grand opening!

There are a total of eight tracks, with six of them under the canopy. Tracks 4 and 5 will be used for Amtrak and private excursion trains. These tracks are also more shallow in the ground than the other tracks. As previously mentioned, Tracks 4 and 5 also provide access to the underground bus terminal.

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The other tracks, which will be used for the commuter rail trains, are deeper; much like your typical subway track.

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Here are a couple more pictures from under the canopy. The pedestrian bridge is still closed, but we suspect it will be open by the time the historic station opens on July 12th.

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That’s a wrap on our grand opening coverage! You are now up to speed on the grand opening festivities, underground bus facility, Wynkoop Plaza, and now the new commuter rail train station. As a great bonus, we even got some awesome aerial shots from Shawn Murry of CloudBase Aerial Imaging. The next time we cover the Union Station redevelopment will be when the historic station opens on July 12th. We’ll see you then!


Denver Union Station: Transit Center Grand Opening Part 3

Today, for the third part of our grand opening coverage, we are going to head to the front of the station to take a look at the progress being made at Wynkoop Plaza. On DenverInfill, the last time we covered Wynkoop Plaza was back in September, when the granite pavers were not even in place yet. A lot has changed in eight months!

The passageway between the commuter rail train hall and Wynkoop Plaza is now open. On the South Wing building, there are two patio spaces along this passageway along with a patio space on the plaza itself. The patio with the red umbrellas belongs to the Thirsty Lion and the other patio, that is currently empty, is for a future tenant who should be occupying the space within the next few months.

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The fountain portion of the plaza is not yet complete but has made some great progress. Granite pavers are now in place and the entire fountain system has been capped. This portion of the plaza will be complete when the historic station opens on July 12th.

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The north side of Wynkoop Plaza is in a similar situation. The portion in front of the North Wing building is complete and work is wrapping up in front of the historic station.

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Later this week, we will be looking at the two wing buildings exclusively so you will be able to see, in more detail, how the buildings interact with the plaza. We still have more grand opening coverage coming your way; up next: a unique perspective of the grand opening ceremonies!