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

Denver’s 3D Future Skyline: July 2016 Update

Back in April, we announced a new three-dimensional feature that provides us with a better visual of all the infill going in around Central Denver. Here is a short description from our announcement post:

Thanks to Google Earth and the new way they’re rendering buildings in three dimensions, and thanks in particular to the newest member of the DenverInfill team, Ryan Keeney—starting today we will periodically feature a collection of views of the Downtown Denver and Cherry Creek skylines with the massing of buildings, proposed or under construction, added in.

With the Downtown Denver Non-Residential and Residential project posts back in late June, it’s fitting to revisit the 3D future skyline.

Our first post featured the 3D skyline from a higher elevation overview perspective. Since there are many perspectives and elevations to share, we are going to explore the future skyline mostly from a lower elevation in this post. Let’s get to it! Make sure you click each image to embiggen.

Downtown Denver looking north:

2016-07-12_3D-Model-Downtown North-2016

Downtown Denver looking south:


Downtown Denver looking east:

2016-07-12_3D-Model-Downtown South-2016

Downtown Denver looking northeast:


Downtown Denver looking southeast:


Denver Union Station up close:


Cherry Creek looking west:


Central Denver high-level overview from River North to Cherry Creek:


It is truly amazing how many projects are proposed and under construction around Central Denver. A huge thank you Ryan Keeney for keeping these models up to date so we can visualize all of this infill!

New DenverInfill Feature: Denver’s Future Skyline in 3D!

We are excited to launch a new feature here at DenverInfill: Denver’s future skyline in 3D!

Thanks to Google Earth and the new way they’re rendering buildings in three dimensions, and thanks in particular to the newest member of the DenverInfill team, Ryan Keeney—starting today we will periodically feature a collection of views of the Downtown Denver and Cherry Creek skylines with the massing of buildings, proposed or under construction, added in.

The buildings have been color coded to match our DenverInfill Project Map, where yellow is residential, orange is office, red is hotel, and blue is civic/other. We will add a new “3D Future Skyline” link on the right sidebar below the Project Map box so that you’ll be able to quickly access the current and previous versions of our 3D Future Skyline images. We plan to issue a new collection of 3D Future Skyline images on a quarterly basis or perhaps more frequently, as needed.

A few important caveats to note about the buildings modeled in 3D in these images:

  • Each 3D object represents a simple massing of the building that has been extruded to the planned height of the structure. In most cases, buildings have step-backs and other architectural treatments that reduce the mass and scale of the building, particularly on the upper floors. Therefore, the three-dimensional space these buildings occupy in model form is going to be greater than they will in reality—an “objects will appear larger than they really are” situation.
  • Similarly, building footprints typically have small setbacks here and there from the property line, as opposed to the simple rectangular footprint used in most of our models.
  • The 3D model-making tools in Google Earth are fairly crude, so the purpose of our new 3D Future Skyline images is to convey a general sense of how Denver’s urban core is growing and densifying, not necessarily to show a specific building in three-dimensions. If you want to see what a particular building will look like, read the blog posts for that project.
  • Uses within a mixed-use building are colored with a very “broad brush” you might say, with ground floors and other parts of buildings that are planned to have other uses, like retail or parking, colored as one of the primary uses found in the building.
  • Google updates their imagery on a fairly regular basis (annually, it seems of late), so at some point in the future, when Google next updates their 3D imagery and a project has been completed, we will remove the 3D model of the building from our database because its physical representation will appear within the Google aerial background.
  • Buildings shown in 3D are only those planned or under construction for which we have published a DenverInfill blog post. There are many projects “in the pipeline” or recently announced that we haven’t yet profiled on DenverInfill, so those project aren’t in our 3D model yet.

OK, let’s get to the images! Each is presented in 2400-pixel HD glory, so click, zoom, and enjoy!

Downtown Denver looking north:


Downtown Denver looking south:


Downtown Denver looking east:


Downtown Denver looking west:


LoDo and Union Station districts up close:


Central Business District up close:


Downtown Denver high-level overview:


Cherry Creek district looking northeast:


Cherry Creek district looking southeast:


That’s a lot of urban fabric-repairing going on!

As I mentioned, the credit for our 3D models goes to our new DenverInfill team member, Ryan Keeney. Ryan is a masters student at the University of Denver studying Geographic Information Science, urban form, and multi-modal transportation. When Ryan moved here from Indianapolis in 2015, he was amazed by the magnitude of infill occurring in Downtown Denver and was excited to witness its impact on the vibrancy of the city, so modeling urban development for DenverInfill allows Ryan to engage his technical skills while also contributing to the energy of Denver’s growth and revitalization. In addition to keeping our 3D Future Skyline files up-to-date, Ryan may also start reporting on new infill projects in the DU/South Denver areas on the blog. After graduation, Ryan’s goal is to start a GIS career in urban or transit planning. Thank you, Ryan Keeney, for your excellent contribution to DenverInfill!

I hope you enjoy DenverInfill’s 3D Future Skyline images as yet another way of experiencing the profound way in which the Mile High City is urbanizing and creating a more walkable, compact, and thriving urban core.

Denver Union Station: Final Update – After Dark

This is it. The last ‘final update’ of the incredible Denver Union Station project. Today, we will be looking at each element of this project at night. Denver Union Station is great to see during the daytime, but it’s even better when the sun is down and the lights are on! So whether you are…

A kid (or adult) playing in the fountains at Wynkoop Plaza…

2014-08-03_DUSAfterDark-WP-01 2014-08-03_DUSAfterDark-WP-02

2014-08-03_DUSAfterDark-WP-03 2014-08-03_DUSAfterDark-WP-04

An observer watching the fountains from above…

2014-08-03_DUSAfterDark-WP-05 2014-08-03_DUSAfterDark-WP-06

A passenger catching the California Zephyr headed for Chicago…

2014-08-03_DUSAfterDark-CRT-03 2014-08-03_DUSAfterDark-CRT-02

2014-08-03_DUSAfterDark-CRT-04 2014-08-03_DUSAfterDark-CRT-01

Or a passenger getting off the California Zephyr in Denver …

2014-08-03_DUSAfterDark-HS-02 2014-08-03_DUSAfterDark-HS-01

And are having your first drink at the Terminal Bar….


Or a late night commuter taking the light rail home, or to work…

2014-08-03_DUSAfterDark-LRT-04 2014-08-03_DUSAfterDark-LRT-03

2014-08-03_DUSAfterDark-LRT-01 2014-08-03_DUSAfterDark-LRT-02

Or a pedestrian, talking a night stroll through the city…

2014-08-03_DUSAfterDark-Final-02 2014-08-03_DUSAfterDark-Final-01

This is what you see. Brilliant lights, illuminating a grand project. As I’ve said many times in the past: Union Station, you look absolutely incredible. I and many others are very happy with the outcome and are looking forward to the many great decades ahead!

Spring 2013: Downtown Denver Tower Crane Census

Today we are bringing back the tower crane census here on DenverInfill. As Ken mentioned in his previous post, there are a lot of projects under construction around Downtown Denver right now and a good handful of those projects wield a tower crane or two. It is always exciting (and a little geeky) seeing tower cranes scattered throughout the city which also represents a great sign of development to both the trained and untrained eyes. Let’s begin!

1, 2, 3, 4 -Exempla Saint Joseph Heritage Project


5 – Renaissance Stout Street Lofts, 6– 2300 Walnut (now known as ‘The Douglas’)


7 – North Wing Building, 8 – South Wing Building


9 – Cadence, 10 – The Delgany Apartments


I also have a little bonus photo for you! When I was out shooting, I was trying out my new wide-angle lens which is why some pictures seem a little distorted and stretched. Well, here’s a great wide-angle perspective of everything that is complete and under-construction in the Union Station field thus far. You can see the new light-rail station/plaza, Chestnut Pavilion, Wewatta Pavilion, the DaVita Headquarters building, Cadence, both Wing Buildings and the awesome train canopy. Absolutely amazing progress with much more to come! (click to view high-resolution):

We have a total of 10 tower cranes in Downtown Denver as of today. With new projects underway, I’m sure we will see that number climb this year. We will revisit this in a few months to see what has changed!

EXTRA BONUS PHOTO: Hi everyone. Ken here. I’m hijacking Ryan’s post to include a photo of my own of yet another nice shot of some of Downtown Denver’s tower cranes. Here’s the view on this beautiful sunny spring Mile High afternoon of four tower cranes from my Lower Highlands vantage point. From left to right: North Wing Building, Cadence, South Wing Building, Delgany Apartments (click/zoom to view at extra-huge resolution for your viewing pleasure):

It was nice of the operators to position the cranes for the weekend to be perfectly aligned for this photo!

The New 14th Street

What a difference two buildings make:

Denver’s Emerging Skyline

A couple of high-rise projects underway in Downtown Denver have climbed high enough to take their place on the Denver skyline.

In this view from my perch in the Highland district, the 45-story Four Seasons project on the right is starting to block the view of the Curtis Hotel, which it will eventually eclipse by over 200 feet.

In between the Curtis Hotel and Brooks Tower is a little corner of the beautiful Gothic-Deco Mountain States Bell building, along with its new under-construction neighbor, the 41-story Spire project. Eventually, the Spire will rise above the Curtis and climb to about 60 feet taller than the top of the Hyatt on the left.

The View

No, not the TV show. It’s the view from Lower Highland and our excellent trio of bridges that creates a 1.75 mile pedestrian spine through the heart of Downtown Denver. From the always-busy Lola at 16th and Boulder to 16th and Broadway and the State Capitol, it’s one heckuva corridor. Here are a few shots from yesterday. Enjoy!

City Park View Plane: Too Close to Downtown

With all the discussion about the City Park View Plane and its impact on development in Upper Downtown, I thought I would elaborate my position on this further.

I am not opposed to the City Park View Plane. I am not opposed to the height restrictions it imposes. What I am opposed to is the view plane’s western boundary. Here is a map (courtesy of of the City Park View Plane:

The view plane extends all the way to the alley between Lincoln and Sherman, yet the view plane is intended to protect the view of the mountains and the skyline from City Park. If that is the case, then I argue that Sherman Street is way too close to the skyline to be the western edge of the view plane. In fact, Lincoln and Sherman streets are located within the skyline! With our most iconic tower, the Wells Fargo (Cash Register) building located between those two streets, how could anyone argue otherwise?

Here’s a graphic I put together to show the view plane’s western boundary from a different perspective:

A more reasonable western boundary to the view plane would be Pennsylvania Street, or perhaps Washington Street. That would allow high-rise development to occur along Lincoln, Sherman, Grant, and Logan, which is appropriate given the location and existing conditions, with the view plane then taking effect to allow the skyline to taper down as it heads east into the Uptown district.

The point of the City Park View Plane is to prevent a building from blocking the view of the Downtown skyline with the mountain backdrop, as viewed from the Museum of Nature and Science. Certainly, a tall building built along, say, York Street would block that view and should be prohibited for that reason. But how close to Downtown do you get before a building no longer blocks the view of the skyline, but becomes part of it? Sherman Street is definitely too close; plus, given all the nasty surface parking lots in that area, the last thing we need to do is to discourage development.

I urge the City planning office, Planning Board, and City Council to consider shifting the City Park View Plane’s western boundary to the east by at least two or three blocks.

18th and Sherman Project Denied View Plane Variance

In the latest issue of Life on Capitol Hill, Vanessa Martin reports that the condo project planned for the corner of E. 18th Avenue and Sherman Street was denied a variance from the City Park View Plane by the Denver Planning Board. Back on March 10, I opined about this proposed project and the requested view plane variance.

According to the developers, as a consequence of the denial, the site will not be developed and will remain a surface parking lot. For all the details, here’s the full article by Vanessa: 18th & Sherman Project Denied View Plane Variance.