New Project: Gauge

River North (aka RiNo) is one of Denver’s hottest urban-core districts for infill development and adaptive reuse, whether for residential, office, hotel, retail or light industrial uses, and Zeppelin Development has been leading the charge in most of those categories. Zeppelin helped put RiNo on the map with its TAXI project, is wrapping up construction on Freight Residences, is just getting started on the Source Hotel and Market Hall, and will be breaking ground in the spring on a new RiNo mixed-use office project at 35th and Wazee: Gauge.

In case you haven’t noticed, Zeppelin has also been moving east with their developments. TAXI is west of the South Platte River, the Source is in the middle of RiNo along the booming Brighton Boulevard corridor, and Gauge will put them within two blocks of the 38th & Blake Station on RTD’s A Line (opening April 22, 2016), which lets Zeppelin add transit-oriented development to their list of accomplishments. Here’s the location for Gauge on a Google Earth aerial and a perspective showing Gauge and its proximity to Downtown Denver:



35th and Wazee? Not exactly a bustling corner, and one that probably not a lot of people have ever been to, let alone knew existed. But the combination of new rail transit to the area and big demand for places to live/work/shop/socialize in the urban core have now put places like 35th and Wazee on the radar screen.

Gauge will feature 80,000 square feet of office space and 20,000 square feet of retail in a four-story building designed by Dynia Architects, the same design firm that Zeppelin used at TAXI and The Source. Like those developments, Gauge will feature a progressive industrial/modern design, big volume spaces, exposed steel, concrete floors, operable glass garage doors as windows, landscaped terraces, and great views of downtown and the mountains. Here are some brand-new renderings, courtesy of Zeppelin and Dynia Architects:

View of the 35th and Wazee corner with, on the right, the 35th Street Pedestrian Bridge (due to open in 2016) that will span over the tracks and connect to the Blake Street side of RiNo (and the transit station):


View looking south along Wazee toward 35th Street, with Gauge’s historic brick neighbor on the right:


Wazee Street elevation:


35th Street elevation:


In addition to the office space, another cool feature will be a food hall/collaborative retail space on the ground floor that takes advantage of Gauge’s proximity to the transit station. It will include a dozen independent restaurant/retail tenants from around the region that are known for innovative food and retail goods. Structured parking for 125 vehicles will be tucked away on the alley side of the building:


Finally, as I mentioned in our recent post on the nearby Great Divide Brewery project, there are big plans in the works for transforming 35th Street through RiNo into something special (more on that later…) that will add to the appeal of Gauge’s location.

Zeppelin plans to break ground on Gauge in March 2016 and wrap up construction by spring 2017.


By | 2016-12-01T17:46:30+00:00 November 9, 2015|Categories: Architecture, Infill, Office, River North, Urban Design|Tags: |21 Comments


  1. CR November 10, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Finally, a building with some personality!

  2. Kristin Danford November 10, 2015 at 8:26 am

    Hi Ken!
    I appreciate you blog on all the Zeppelin projects. I wanted to let you know that Wenk Associates is the Landscape Architect on all those projects as well and have been a big partner with Zeppelin in creating these unique places in RiNo. Also, the renderings that include landscaping should be credited to Wenk Associates and Dynia.

    Thanks again! We love our projects being talked about, just would like to be mentioned!

    Kristin Danford
    Marketing Director, Wenk Associates

  3. Kylem November 10, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Interested to know what the plans for 35th street will be. Without those plans, it looks like just a random spot next to the train tracks. Love all of the growth in RiNo though.

  4. Today’s Headlines | Streetsblog Denver November 10, 2015 at 8:57 am

    […] DenverInfill Examines Gauge” Newest RiNo Mixed-Use Development […]

  5. Kyle November 10, 2015 at 9:29 am

    This is exactly the medicine I need after looking at the new Union Station project. These people “get it”. Can Zeppelin please do a “lunch and learn” presentation to East West Partners on design, infill and placemaking?

    • W November 10, 2015 at 4:13 pm

      Perhaps the most striking building, “The Triangle Building” was developed by E-W partners. I think the firm is doing pretty damn well in the designing department. You cannot judge a building based on a drawing. The real thing always looks different from the renderings.

    • Freddie November 11, 2015 at 12:16 am

      So you want every single building at Union Station to look exactly the same with the acute angles, cheap metal siding, and novelty garage-door windows? (The second I pulled up this webpage and saw a rendering in my peripheral vision that looks exactly like Taxi parts 1, 2 and 3, I knew it was Zeppelin.) You want the developments at Union Station to be separated from the sidewalk by a parking lot because the developer seemed to forget they’re in an urban neighborhood and not in the suburbs? You don’t suppose this hipster/industrial designed that Zeppelin keeps rehashing might look dated in a couple decades?

      Zeppelin is a unique developer that’s doing some really interesting stuff in Denver, and I really do appreciate that – I really do – but your comments about East West are unfair. This little-league developer has a long way to go before they’ll ever be able to teach anything to East West. IMO this cute little triangle building doesn’t hold a candle to THE Triangle Building.

      (Also, ever notice how every East West development ends up looking better than the renderings, but every Zeppelin development ends up looking worse? Hmmm.)

      • Kyle November 11, 2015 at 10:15 am

        I can understand your argument and I somewhat agree with your points. Maybe I should clarify my opinion on the differences between the two. I look at Union Station as the epicenter of downtown and the region as a whole in what is one of the best real estate markets in the country. It doesn’t get more prime than this and this is where we should showcase our very best for the 100K people that will soon pass through every day. However, I feel very disappointed with what the City ended up getting. The vast majority of the new buildings are boring square boxes with the current “trendy” facade haphazardly pasted on a stick structure. Not even all of the buildings are built to full height! This looks “ok” for now but is only “ok” at best, IMO. So why would we want to settle for that in the crown jewel of Denver?!

        While RiNo is downtown and urban, it is not as significant as far as location as Union Station. So right of the bat, I hold its standard just a little lower. The industrial materials Zeppelin uses is surely not everyone tastes but it makes sense to use since it reflects the industrial nature of the area. I think it would be odd to have a shiny and polished structure in the middle of an industrial area. Keep in mind that the Taxi development went in before most of the other developments and it really was a VERY industrial area. So if someone is choosing to live out there, you could assume that they like the industrial look. Dynia does a good job of using a similar materials pallet (see above for my opinion why) but also making the different buildings look unique. They all have different shapes, setbacks and uses. I agree that the asphalt parking lot around it is not good. Although Dynia is the architect, they are not landscape architects. So maybe what goes in will be better. I actually think the built buildings look better than the renderings and think they will look even better when all the public improvements that are in the pipeline are finally finished.

        If someone was to show you a picture of Gauge or The Source Hotel, you would probably think “that is in RiNo”. However, if someone showed you a picture or The Coloradoan or AMLI or The Platform, you would probably have a hard time knowing where that belongs. It could be downtown, DTC or Scotsdale, Arizona. They are very generic. Sure, I bet somewhere there is another building that looks similar to Gauge. However, it would be more difficult to find that building and it is not copied all over the place, so its not always in your face.

        My point is Zeppelin has unique buildings that still fit in with its environment while Union Station has generic buildings that could be anywhere. This, to me, is unacceptable for such a high profile location as Union Station. If this was a development in Parker, I wouldn’t have said a word.

        While my opinion obviously seems biased, I don’t live in RiNo, nor do I know or work for Zeppelin. I was born and raised in Denver and am frustrated by what is happening to Denver’s significant places.

        • Freddie November 11, 2015 at 4:10 pm

          I appreciate your thoughtful and civilized response. I guess where we disagree is that I’m much more impressed with what East West Partners is doing around Union Station. Every time I stand on the Millennium Bridge and look around, I’m struck by the architectural diversity, quality of materials, etc. It feels world class and strikes me as a place that will really impress visitors once complete. Based on what they’ve done so far, I can’t imagine they would disappoint us with The Coloradan – even if the latest renderings aren’t spectacular.

          OTOH, every time I drive by the Zeppelin developments (no, I’ve never been inside any of them) I’m surprised by how cheap they look in person, and I’m disappointed by the parking lots.

          But of course arm-chair architecting is a subjective.

          And again, for the record, I like Zeppelin and I like what they’re doing. I like that they’re a homegrown company that’s unique to Denver, understands and cares about Denver, and is trying to incubate a unique – perhaps even eccentric – community within Denver. I suspect virtually everyone would agree they’re the best developer in RiNo.

          • Kyle November 12, 2015 at 12:49 pm

            I agree, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Overall, I think having a good public discourse on Denver architecture, such as what we are doing now, only helps the City in the long run.

            Here are a couple of examples of what is being done in other cities. I wish Union Station would have pursued projects like this. I think it would have helped make Denver stand out more for many decades, not just this decade. It is move of a “go big or go home” philosophy.

            Battersea Power Station

            Washington DC Union Station Redevelopment

            These are just a couple but there are many more.

  6. Ryan Keeney November 10, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Unrelated but the about page said to comment on any post with general inquiries,

    They tore down a bunch of small buildings on the east side of Harvard Ave and University Blvd and there are two big pile drivers and a lot of construction vehicles in their place. Do you have a line on what is going on?

  7. Paul November 10, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Meh. Dark precast concrete, corrugated metal panels. Typical Zeppelin cheapness of materials that is masked by the angular building massing. It’s a nice trick, but it also gets old.

    Is that surface parking in a couple of the renderings? I certainly hope not with 125 parking spaces included in the parking garage.

    • The Dirt November 10, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      Thank you! There’s absolutely nothing innovative about using irregular massing. It’s been done a hundred times and it only stands out if you do it as an exception, not the rule. My worry is that this is turning into a fad. This may work in an industrial area like RiNo. I also don’t mind seeing something like this here and there but, it’s not innovative or “progressive” (whatever that means). Give me a building with functional floor plates, quality materials, and some ornament, instead.

  8. skeptical November 10, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Oh hooray they’re demolishing all the affordable art studio space at Wazee Union. Good riddance to all those dirty(poor) artist types. I personally welcome the change towards “progressive” office spaces for the “creative” industries. app development can’t happen just anywhere you know. This is such a welcome “upgrade”.

  9. Rafael November 10, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    This thing, and pretty much everything Zeppelin does reminds of Soviet farm sheds and garages. Terrible.

  10. KatP November 11, 2015 at 6:15 am

    I can’t help but wonder if those judging these renderings and voicing their skepticism have ever stepped foot in a Zeppelin Development. If they have, and they still don’t like it – then fine. But if they haven’t experienced all that Zeppelin has to offer, then they may want to experience it for themselves. Zeppelin isn’t just a developer. They don’t just bring in standard tenants. Instead, they facilitate artists and creative minds to come together in spaces in a different way than most. They offer a community that I have yet to find anywhere else. You can live upstairs, work downstairs, grab breakfast or lunch at an on-site restaurant and drop your kids off at school – all within hundreds of feet of eachother. Still hungry? Go to your community garden and gnaw on some carrots. What they create is fascinating and unique – a true live/work experience with a vibe unlike anything else. Living and working in Chicago, there are few projects that I am as excited to see in person. Every time we come back to Denver, we check out the latest structure. I have yet to be disappointed. I have yet to see anyone else doing anything similar. Like them or not, Zeppelin is setting a precedence far greater than the shell of a building.

  11. Tyler November 11, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    While I appreciate the different design of this building, instead of just a modern box like many developments in Denver, I do have to question the use of materials. I know RiNo has a very industrial character to it, but that has not always been the modern industrial trend we see currently. Adding a bit of brick or some sort of masonry as an historical nod to the awesome brick industrial buildings in the area (i.e. The Source, Industry, and even the buildings directly adjacent to this one on 36th and Wazee) would likely help this building blend instead of stick out as some modern behemoth. I love the infill aspect of this building, and all that Zeppelin does, but some timeless materials that don’t look so cheap would greatly improve the look of this building and improve the neighborhood as a whole.

  12. Ted November 11, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    Listening to this discussion – part of me wishes that people would quit ignoring the importance of ornamentation. “Massing” (as in, different/awkward building shapes) has become the fad in creating buildings that are unique. But as many people have already pointed out, cheap materials, and in my opinion, lack of traditional ornament is what is really wrong here.

    Great urban spaces were never defined by a lack of a proper urban street-wall. Or by messing with the site plan to push surface parking to the front, or the back, or (even worse) to the SIDE of a building. Great urban places are almost always made by sticking with traditional urban massing, using GOOD materials, and by making the building interesting by incorporating ORNAMENTATION – proper classical columns, cornice lines, pediments… or mixing it up with Art Deco or other sorts of decoration. The modernist obsession with dropping ornamentation entirely from the architectural vocabulary – trying instead to F-up proper urban design with ridiculous setbacks and spaceship building forms – is exactly what is wrong with modern architecture; and no different from what suburban designers (trying to give us all more “open space”) were trying to do.

    • Rafael November 12, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      I agree with this sentiment, these modern era buildings just look terrible compared to any of the pre 1950s buildings in LoDo.

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