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New River North Project: Larimer Row

A new 28-unit row home project is under development in the River North District near 34th and Larimer. Here’s a Google Earth aerial with the site outlined in yellow:

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The project being developed by BLVD Builders; their project architect is EV Studio. Here are a site plan, axonometric view, and rendering of Larimer Row, courtesy of BLVD Builders and EV Studio:

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Larimer Row is already under construction and should be finished later in 2015. For more information, please visit the project website: larimerrow.com.


Downtown Denver Infill Projects: A 15-Year Snapshot

The original DenverInfill website included Downtown-area infill projects planned or built between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2009—one complete decade. Since the start of 2010, all infill project-tracking and reporting duties have been handled exclusively here on the DenverInfill Blog (launched on July 5, 2005). With 2014 over, that means we now have fifteen years’ worth of projects we’ve been covering at DenverInfill!

To celebrate this milestone, I decided to prepare a graphic showing the footprint of all (or mostly all) of the infill projects in the Downtown Denver area that were completed between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2014 or are currently under construction. Click on the image below to view at full size, or click here for a huge version in PDF format.

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A few notes about the image: The boundaries are Federal Boulevard on the west, Downing Street on the east, and 6th Avenue on the south. To the north, it goes just far enough to pick up the River North district below 38th Street. Proposed projects are not shown, nor are any adaptive reuse or historic preservation projects. Also, there are dozens of townhome projects that are not shown. I’ve included a few, but there are so many of these smaller (say, under twenty units or so) townhome projects being built in the downtown fringe areas that to attempt to capture them all was simply beyond the scope of this effort. This graphic is meant to be fun and interesting to look at and offers a broad 30,000-foot view (actually, 13,000-foot view according to Google Earth) of the magnitude of infill development in the Downtown Denver area in the past fifteen years. If I missed a few projects, don’t sweat it. This wasn’t meant to be a complete and accurate survey.

There are 305 projects shown. My very rough estimate is that they cover approximately 8 million square feet of ground or about 180 acres or 70 city blocks. By land use, they represent approximately 18,000 residential units, about 7 million square feet of office/commercial space and about 2 million square feet of civic/cultural/educational uses.

What I want you to take from this graphic is how far we have come as a community in repairing the urban fabric of our city center. One hundred years ago, a vacant or undeveloped parcel was a very rare thing in the Downtown area, and there were absolutely no surface parking lots. Downtown Denver in 1915 had a virtually complete urban fabric: blocks of buildings defined and separated by streets, streets defined and framed by blocks of buildings—the quintessential urban form of cities for millennia. This urban fabric was nearly decimated in the post-War era due to a combination of short-term land speculation, ill-conceived urban renewal programs, and a society obsessed with making it as easy and convenient as possible for everyone to drive their personal automobile anywhere at any time.

These infill projects represent our efforts to, essentially, restore the urban form of Downtown Denver of 1915. There are minor differences between the 1915 urban form and what we’re building in 2015 (today, mostly taller buildings and larger building footprints), but the basic form is the same: buildings that touch the property line, have (hopefully) good sidewalk appeal, and frame the street as a public space. A building’s urban form, street frontage, and spatial relationship to its neighbors, is more important to the overall vitality and success of an urban area than what the building “looks like” architecturally. That’s why our emphasis here at DenverInfill has always been about rebuilding central Denver’s urban fabric through infill development to create great streets and public spaces that bring people together and make them glad they’re in the Mile High City.

Happy 2015 Denver!


River North: DRIVE 2 Final Update

DRIVE 2 in the TAXI Development is complete! Ryan has been keeping us posted on the project for almost a year and it’s time for the final update. When we last checked in with DRIVE 2 in July, the 60,000 square foot office and event space was still under construction. For the final update, we’ll take a look at some of the unique spaces and finishes inside the DRIVE 2 building. Thanks to Chris Woldum and Justin Croft of Zeppelin Development for the tour!

Before we go inside, here is a photo of DRIVE 2’s main façade. You can see that some tenants are making good use of the garage doors; there is one open on both the second and third floors. The building is LEED certified and, like the rest of the properties in the TAXI development, features sustainable landscaping with native plants and grasses.

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DRIVE 2 houses a variety of creative small businesses tenants, along with coworking and shared office spaces, like the one pictured below.

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There is a private event space on the fourth floor that holds up to 200 people, offering some amazing views of the downtown skyline through the signature garage doors. The doors open onto a spacious balcony.

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Many of the finishes in DRIVE 2 are carried over from other Zeppelin Development projects in the RiNo area. If you’ve been to The Source, you may recognize the aluminum two-by-fours that are used as railings throughout the DRIVE 2 building.

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The yellow polycarb trim pictured below houses DRIVE 2’s insulation, a unique design choice that is a callback to the same finish in the TAXI buildings.

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Whimsical yellow stripes crisscross the floors, lest you forget that you are on the site of the former Yellow Cab Company’s terminal.

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Skylights in the ceiling and frosted glass panel inserts in the floors allow natural light to penetrate all the way to the center of the building.

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If you‘re passing through RiNo, take a quick peek at the DRIVE 1 and DRIVE 2 buildings now that they’re complete. They’re an awesome addition to this up-and-coming neighborhood.


New Central Downtown Project: Le Meridien/AC Hotels

Downtown Denver’s appeal as a business, convention, and leisure travel destination continues to grow, as a new hotel development planned for the corner of 15th and California will introduce both Starwood’s Le Meridien and Marriott’s AC hotel brands to the Denver market.

White Lodging, the Indiana-based hotel developer that completed the 17-story Convention Center Embassy Suites hotel in December 2010 and that is currently under construction with the 21-story dual-brand Hyatt Place/Hyatt House project at 14th and Glenarm, is planning another hotel project near the Colorado Convention Center. Here’s a Google Earth aerial where I’ve outlined the project location at 15th and California, followed by a Google Earth street view photo of the site:

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Not only does this development bring two new prominent international/urban-oriented hotel brands to Downtown Denver, but it also represents the first example in the area of a single project that mixes brands from two different hotel flags. The dual-brand hotel concept is a cost-effective way to add new hotel properties to the downtown market. It eliminates the expense of constructing a separate tower for each brand and it allows for the sharing of amenities like fitness centers, pools, and meeting rooms. Separate registration areas and signage help maintain the brand distinctions within the building. In addition to White Lodging’s dual Hyatt at 14th and Glenarm, Downtown Denver’s other dual-brand hotel is the Homewood Suites/Hampton Inn adaptive reuse project at 15th and Welton.

The new hotel tower will rise 20 stories, with the Le Meridien lobby facing California Street and the AC lobby facing 15th Street. Here are two renderings, courtesy of White Lodging and their project designer, HKS Architects. The second image shows the tower’s lower levels from virtually the same perspective as the Google street view image above:

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According to White Lodging, the tower will contain a total of 480 rooms, with 272 rooms for Le Meridien and 208 rooms for AC. The project also includes 12,500 square feet of meeting rooms. The preliminary schedule shows a July 1, 2017 grand opening.

A big win for Downtown Denver’s convention and tourism industries, this project is also a big deal from an urban form and pedestrian perspective as well. It replaces an ugly, soul-sucking surface parking lot with a solid building form with good ground-floor transparency. That is worth celebrating!


Central Downtown: 1401 Lawrence Update #5

Construction work on First Gulf Corporation’s 1401 Lawrence tower is moving along steadily. Here’s a photo from a few days ago:

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Also, here’s a ground-floor plan (courtesy of First Gulf Corporation and the Beck Group) showing the location of the main lobby, parking entry, and the project’s two restaurant/retail spaces:

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With such a high percentage of the building’s sidewalk frontage consisting of transparent restaurant/retail space, this project should be a nice addition to the pedestrian experience.


Lower Highland: The Lab on Platte Update #3

Continuing our updates of infill projects along Lower Highland’s historic Platte Street is The Lab on Platte, a 73,000 square foot office building tucked in between I-25 and the Denver Beer Company. Back in July, excavation for the project had just begun. The project has since topped off and is coming along nicely:

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The Lab on Platte creates a nice street wall along I-25!


Lower Highland: The Boathouse Update #2

The Boathouse is a small 10,000 square foot office building being constructed on a sliver of land next to the historic 19th Street Bridge over the South Platte River. In July, the steel skeleton of the building was starting to go up. Now, most of the facade is in place and the project is closing in on its anticipated early 2015 opening.

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We’ll check in on Boathouse in the spring for its final update.


Prospect: 3500 Rockmont Update #1

Let’s take a look at how things are coming along at 3500 Rockmont, a 16-building, 390-unit apartment complex under construction next to City of Cuernavaca Park on the old Mail-Well Envelope factory site in Downtown Denver’s Prospect district. Our only post on 3500 Rockmont was back in January 2014 when we announced the project. As you would expect, a lot of progress has been made on the development since then. Here are a few photos:

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It’s sort of difficult to photograph this project given the amount of land that it covers and how little of it is accessible at the moment from Rockmont Drive. So let’s take a peek from above, thanks to this October 2014 Google Earth aerial:

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Clearly, the buildings closer to the main entry (from where I took the photos above) are further along than those by the railroad tracks. It looks like 3500 Rockmont’s buildings will welcome their first residents in phases over the course of the next several months.