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Cherry Creek: Coda Update #3

Density is the new trend over in Cherry Creek North. Rising to 12-stories, the same height as its neighbor the Steele Creek Apartments, Coda, formally known as the First and Steele Apartments, is making its mark in the neighborhood.

The structure has topped out with the facade working its way up. Coda will feature a prominent glass curtain wall, which you can see is well underway, along with paneling and more glass features around the rest of the building.

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Here is one additional view of the front of Coda from East 1st Avenue and Steele Street.

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There is a lot of new density and glass going up in this corner of the Cherry Creek neighborhood. Here is an early 2014 and present day shot from the same vantage point.

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Even a 12-story building can have a huge impact on the street level. Looking down Steele Street, and west down First Avenue, we can clearly see that this project provides some great density.

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Coda will provide Cherry Creek North with 185 apartment units and is expected to complete mid-late 2016.


Cherry Creek: 245 Columbine Update #2

I will admit, I let 245 Columbine slip through my project tracking as it has been almost a year since our last update. As you can imagine, a lot has happened since last March: excavation, foundation, tower crane install, underground / above ground floor structure, and topping out. That leaves us with one last element which we will cover in this update, the facade.

Let’s start with the project details, since it’s been a while. 245 Columbine is an 8-story, 155-room boutique hotel that will be run by Sage Hospitality. It will feature 5,900 square feet of ground floor retail, an underground speakeasy style bar, and a rooftop deck and pool. Designed by JG Johnson Architects, here is an updated rendering of this project.

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Now for some current photos. The structure has topped out, work on the facade is underway, and the tower crane is still up, probably not for much longer.

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Here are two additional views of the hotel. It’s very hard to see anything because the building is completely wrapped in scaffolding.

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245 Columbine is expected to open around April. We will check back in around then to see the final product!


New City Park West Project: The York

Let’s start the week off with some new infill! Over the past couple of months, readers have been asking about the hole along York Street between 17th and 18th Avenue. Starting back in September, this project, named The York, went through the review stage with the city and received an approval; Shea Properties promptly started construction. The site had three existing structures (two single story office buildings, and a car repair shop) that were demolished to make way for this new project.

Here is an updated aerial with the project site outlined. As you can see, the new aerials taken for Denver reflect that this project already started in the late summer.

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Moving in a little closer, here are some fresh photos of the project from the street level. A large yellow crawler crane now sits on site.

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Finally, peeking over the fence, we can see that excavation is well underway with the foundation starting to go in. It will still be a couple months until this project is at street level.

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How about some details and renderings? The York is going to consist of 212 apartment units over 237 parking spaces; giving it a parking ratio of 1.11. The project will also feature internal courtyards and several retail units facing the park. Below are two renderings courtesy of Oz Architecture, the designer of this project. The York has very similar features to One City Block over in Uptown.

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This project adds density to a part of City Park West that is scattered with surface parking lots and single story structures. We will visit this project again once it’s out of the ground!


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

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

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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.


Union Station: 16th & Wewatta Hotel/Office Complex Update #3

Let’s end the week by visiting another project that has finally made it out of the ground: The 16th & Wewatta Hotel / Office Complex. This project consists of a 12-story, 200-room hotel and a 5-story, 53,000 square foot office building. Originally, the hotel was branded as a Kimpton but that has changed to Hotel Born.

Work has commenced on the first level above ground! Here is a site photo and a street level view.

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Looking straight down the commuter rail canopy is a view that will never get old. As this project climbs, this view will be forever changed.

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Now that this project is above ground, we will start to see how the hotel and office building interact with each other at the end of the commuter rail canopy. Have a great weekend DenverInfill readers!


Central Downtown: 1144 Fifteenth Update #9

Goodbye hole in the ground, hello rising core! Downtown Denver’s largest project is officially out of the ground.

Watching a project like 1144 Fifteenth Street is quite the journey. From the ground-breaking ceremony to watching giant foundation piers go down over 100 feet and needing aerial coverage for peeking in the hole, we can finally see this 40-story, 603-foot tall tower rise from the street.

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So what’s next for 1144 Fifteenth Street? The parking structure, which will rise 12-stories. This will be the slowest rising segment due to the concrete framing and structural support that is needed.

How about a couple of bonus photos! Here is one from the good folks over at Hines.

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And another sent to us from DenverInfill reader Elizabeth W.

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Thank you for the fantastic photos and unique perspectives of this great project!


Central Downtown: 1401 Lawrence Update #10

Let’s head on over to another Central Downtown project that’s making its way onto the Denver skyline: 1401 Lawrence. This 22-story building is close to topping out, but that’s not what we are focusing on today.

Glass! The glass curtain wall has started to go up on the 298,000 square foot office building. Here are some pictures from a great, clear weekend.

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Over the last couple of updates, we had readers asking what this project looks like from the courtyard in Larimer Square; also where the patio for Bistro Vendôme is located. Here is a picture of that along with a view from the other side, looking down 14th Street.

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Here are a couple more views for your Thursday morning.

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As a bonus, here is a unique view of 1401 Lawrence. Thank you DenverInfill reader Elizabeth W. for sending us this photo!

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1401 Lawrence will top out in the next few weeks, and you can count on us doing another update for that milestone!


Central Downtown: Block 162 Update #1

In our first post about the new 32-story office tower proposed for Downtown Denver’s Block 162 by the Patrinely Group, I mentioned I would have a follow-up post that provides some background on the redevelopment efforts for this key block in central Downtown. Here it is.

First, if you’re not familiar with the saga of Block 162, check out some of the 29 previous posts I’ve published about the block (Fontius Building Part 1 and Part 2 are particularly informative), plus a few oldies from the original DenverInfill website, such as my post of November 13, 2005 and several from June 2006 (including my rant of June 8). Also of note is my Inside the Fontius special feature. However, the single best source for the story of Block 162’s redevelopment through late 2007 is my friend Joel Warner’s excellent Westword article, Evan Almighty.

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The dilapidated Fontius Building on Block 162, March 2007.

I recently met with Evan Makovsky, as I have done periodically over the past few years, to discuss the latest in Block 162’s redevelopment. Shortly after Mr. Makovsky assembled the properties on Block 162 and completed the beautiful restoration of the Fontius into what is now known as the Sage Building, the US economy tanked. The Great Recession put a major hold on Mr. Makovsky’s plans for any new construction on Block 162.

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A newly restored Fontius (now Sage) Building during the DNC, August 2008.

During the recession years of 2008-2011, there was still planning work that could be done until the economy improved. Makovsky’s team evaluated various development concepts and explored different design alternatives for the block, most of which were based upon a core vision that included office and hotel uses. Additionally, several development scenarios incorporated an urban Target store onto the site. As the economy strengthened into 2012 and beyond, negotiations with Target continued for a potential store on Block 162. However, during this time, Target was also reevaluating the configuration and size of their urban stores. Consequently, Makovsky and Target went through numerous rounds of design iterations spanning several years. Ultimately, however, a deal with Target for Block 162 did not materialize.

Meanwhile, Mr. Makovsky also explored another scenario that would have incorporated a public observation tower into the redevelopment plan. His team explored different design, phasing, siting, and program options for an observation tower on the block, but the options that proved to be financially desirable had drawbacks in other areas that would not have resulted in the best plan for the overall development.

Even developing hotel and office towers concurrently on the site is a challenge. Hotel and office developments have different financing requirements, construction schedules, and other characteristics that make it difficult to coordinate them into a single project. Therefore, instead of possibly missing out on the current strong economic conditions by trying to combine both towers into one development, Mr. Makovsky decided the best way to make progress on the block’s redevelopment was to split the office and hotel towers into separate components and let other developers pursue the vertical development, with Makovsky mostly participating as the land owner. That’s where the Patrinely Group comes in, which has an option on the office component.

The future hotel tower at 16th and California is still in the conceptual stage, and which firm or firms would develop the hotel tower remains to be seen, with several options under consideration. Integrating the hotel tower with the historic McClintock building at 16th and California will require significant collaboration and consensus with the city, the historic preservation community, and others. Potentially, the hotel component could advance to a point where it and the office tower could be built more-or-less at the same time. Alternatively, the hotel tower could be developed later as a stand-alone project from the office tower. Either way, the conceptual design for the block creates synergistic relationships between the podiums of the two towers and a unified aesthetic to the block, regardless of whether the towers are developed concurrently or separately.

The story of Block 162’s redevelopment will continue to unfold over the next several years. Fortunately, the local economy is booming and demand is strong for both hotel and office uses, so the future for Block 162—featuring one of the largest gaps in Downtown’s urban fabric—looks pretty good.