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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 Five Points-Curtis Park Project: 2300 Welton

March 2 UPDATE:

We’ve received word from the developer of 2300 Welton that the renderings featured below from the Humphries Poli website are rather old (Summer 2013) and are conceptual in nature. The project’s design has evolved since then. We’ve added captions to these renderings to make that clear as well. The development has a few milestones yet to be completed before the project can move forward, and the developer hopes to share new information about 2300 Welton with us in the near future.

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Great news for the Welton Corridor in the Five Points-Curtis Park neighborhood! A new apartment project is proposed on a half block gravel lot which is, believe it or not, even worse worse than a surface parking lot.

First, let’s start off with an overview of the location with the project site outlined. 2300 Welton will sit between Park Avenue West and 24th Street along Welton Street.

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This project will have a huge impact along both Park Avenue West and Welton Street; it activates a part of the Welton Street Corridor that has been barren and desolate for many years along with continuing the street wall along Park Avenue West. Here are three renderings of 2300 Welton courtesy of Humphries Poli Architects.

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Project rendering dated June/July 2013.

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Project rendering dated June/July 2013.

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Project rendering dated June/July 2013.

Back in the Fall, I took some site photos of 2300 Welton. As you can see, this site a sizable crater along a great corridor that’s begging to be built on!

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2300 Welton is a workforce housing project and will be providing the Five Points-Curtis Park neighborhood with 223-units. The construction time-frame is still unknown but we will keep you posted when this project moves forward!


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.


New Lower Highland Project: 18th and Central Apartments

Tennessee-based Southern Land Company has started site preparation for its first Denver project, a 302-unit apartment community located at the corner of 18th and Central in popular Lower Highland. Since the mid-1980s, the site was the headquarters for Mile High United Way, which moved last September to a brand new facility on Park Avenue in Curtis Park. Southern Land purchased the property from Mile High United Way in the spring of 2013 and arranged for United Way to stay in the building while their new headquarters was under construction. The L-shaped development site is outlined on this Google Earth aerial:

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Over the past few weeks, the 1970s-era concrete-block building and surface parking lots have been undergoing demolition:

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The new apartment project will feature two five-story buildings: one occupying the half block facing 18th Street between Central and Boulder, and the other located on a parcel on Boulder Street next to Highland Gateway Park and behind Prost Brewing Company. Here are two drawings, courtesy of Southern Land Company, showing the preliminary design concept:

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Although the project’s details are still being finalized and may change, the development is envisioned to include approximately 330 spaces in underground structured parking, bicycle storage, a resort-style pool, rooftop decks, fire pits, and a high-end fitness center. Also proposed is approximately 9,400 square feet of restaurant and retail space facing Central Street. Here is the retail streetscape concept plan for along Central:

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Finally, here’s a preliminary glimpse of the design from project architect EVstudio:

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The 18th and Central Apartments project is planned for completion in 2016.


New Lower Highland Project: 28th and Vallejo Apartments

A new 270-unit apartment development is coming to West 28th Avenue and Vallejo Street in Lower Highland.

Dallas-based The Richman Group (Richman Ascension Development) is planning a three-building multifamily residential project where the Denver Public School District’s Contemporary Learning Academy was formerly located. DPS sold their three parcels on 28th Avenue between Vallejo and Wyandot to Richman in January 2014, and the Contemporary Learning Academy has since moved to a new location at 9th and Sherman. The former school building, constructed in 1979, will be demolished; the other two parcels are surface parking lots. Below is a Google Earth aerial image with the project site outlined:

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Richman’s plans call for a five-story building on the larger parcel facing West 27th Avenue (with killer views of the Denver skyline) and two three-story buildings where the parking lots are located. Parking will be provided in partially below-grade structures.

Here is a concept rendering from The Richman Group’s website. In the foreground is West 27th Avenue and the five-story building; on the right edge of the image a bit of the three-story building at 28th and Wyandot is visible. Davis Partnership Architects is the project designer. We hope to provide additional renderings and details in the future as the project advances through the design approval process.

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Construction is expected to begin in the first half of 2015.


New River North Project: Great Divide Brewery

Brighton Boulevard is getting a lot of attention these days, and rightfully so. The historically gritty industrial street is rapidly transforming into a thriving mixed-use corridor, and the street itself will be receiving a major upgrade. While many of the new developments along Brighton and elsewhere in River North are mostly residential or office in use, a major new industrial mixed-use project is currently under construction in the district: Great Divide Brewing Company’s new $38 million campus at 35th and Brighton. Here’s a Google Earth aerial image to get you oriented:

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Phase 1, which broke ground last fall and will feature a warehouse, packaging facility, and a small tap-room called Barrel Bar, is expected to be completed this summer. Phase 2 will begin in late 2015 or early 2016 and will include a new brewing facility and a large tap-room and beer garden. Here is a rendering of the Phase 1 building and a site plan showing both phases, courtesy of Great Divide and their project architect, Coburn Partners.

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Phase 1 is coming along quickly as you can see from these photos Ryan took recently:

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Great Divide’s new facility builds upon RiNo’s industrial heritage while contributing to the amazing revitalization taking place all throughout the area. Cheers, Great Divide!


New River North Project: The Freight Residences

Another innovative infill project is underway at Zeppelin Development’s TAXI campus in RiNo. The Freight Residences, a high density multifamily housing project, is currently under construction. The 4-story building will offer a combination of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments for a total of 49 residential units.

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The Freight Residences are designed specifically with growing families in mind. With for-sale housing prices steadily increasing and a rental market that generally gears its amenities toward singles with an active lifestyle, the housing options for Denver’s growing family sector are limited. Zeppelin Development seeks to offer a creative mix of family-friendly amenities in Freight Residences that will tempt growing families with young children.

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Large swaths of grass-covered open space will surround the building and create an urban backyard that will certainly appeal to adults and children alike. Outdoor family film nights promise to be a staple form of entertainment, as a movie projector sits in the center of the Freight courtyard next door. And for working parents, an award-winning early childhood education center is also next door in the original Freight building. Some classroom enrollment spaces will be especially reserved for tenants of the Freight Residences.

Construction at the Freight Residences is scheduled to be complete this spring. Architectural renderings of the building (designed by Stephen Dynia Architects) are courtesy of Chris Woldum at Zeppelin Development. Check back for updates as this project continues!


Central Downtown: 1401 Lawrence Update #6

It’s Tower Crane Tuesday at DenverInfill!

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If you like watching a tower crane be assembled, I suggest you head down to the 1401 Lawrence site as soon as possible.

Like its tower crane, 1401 Lawrence is going vertical!

1:50 PM Update:

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3:15 PM Update:

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Thursday 10:30 AM Update:

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Thanks to DenverInfill reader S. Autrey, we have two final images showing the tower crane in its finished state—and a pretty sweet view of the LoDo/Union Station skyline as well!

Saturday 2:00 PM Update:

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