New Project: 650 17th Street

What would become Denver’s new tallest skyscraper has been proposed for the corner of 17th and California streets in the heart of Downtown Denver. 

To get your bearings straight, here is a Google Earth aerial with the project site outlined. We also have a Google Earth image with 3D buildings enabled to give you an even better idea of where the tower would be located. The parking lot that is currently at this site has been an unnecessary hole in Downtown Denver’s urban fabric for many decades and is well suited for a development such as the one we are reporting on today.

According to the project’s website, 650 17th Street will rise 90 stories and contain 248 condo residences, a boutique hotel, and 22,000 square feet of ground floor retail. The zoning for this site at 17th and California has no height limit and development is limited only by FAR (Floor Area Ratio). Therefore, the height was achieved by developing a more slender tower on top of a podium, which will cover the entire surface lot.

Here is a rendering of the tower we have obtained from the project website. The project is designed by Carlos Ott with Davis Partnership Architects collaborating on the design. The developer is Greenwich Realty Capital. As a disclaimer, these are preliminary renderings and the design might change as the development moves forward.

650 17th Street
650 17th Street
650 17th Street
650 17th Street

Here is one additional rendering of the tower from a lower angle.

650 17th Street

650 17th Street is still in the preliminary stages of development and the construction time frame is currently unknown.

By | 2017-09-30T21:56:34+00:00 September 27, 2017|Categories: Central Downtown, Infill, Lodging, Residential, Urban Design|Tags: |68 Comments


  1. Dan September 27, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    …is this it? Will this finally materialize into the “new tallest” we’ve all been craving?? Not to jinx it or anything 😉

    In all seriousness I think this tower would be incredible, and as it’s such a large-scale residential tower it could REALLY transform the state of central/downtown Denver after business hours. I’m especially interested to see how the design/renderings evolve over time … this already looks quite a bit different from the original renderings that were posted and then immediately withdrawn this past spring.

  2. Juans September 27, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Is the balcony on the lowest penthouse a pool?

  3. Andrew September 27, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    YES!!! I am sure this will evolve over time, but I love the height, interesting angles and scale.

  4. James September 27, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    I am in ecstasy! I am literally shocked. Love most of the shape especially SLENDER. Look at the top! I was at the point of resignation due to all the downtown zoning changes over the last few years as if to resist anything close to this kind of iconic structure. I was ready to start a band called the Denver Downsizers. I remember the Trango and how everyone scoffed at that. And the block 162 dream of a 70 story building which got chopped in to two towers. Then how the Buzz Geller Bell Tower was mowed down by the view plane. Im sure there are a view or should I say a ‘percentage’ of people ready to hurl looking at it but you have to admit that the future is calling and many of the country’s largest cities are following New York,Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia, Miami, Seattle in building 75+ floor skyscrapers. My perception is that building height has become a symbol for ranking in the world view of business. Pinch me because I still think I’m dreaming and of course we’re using the word ‘proposed.’

    • Ken Schroeppel September 28, 2017 at 8:17 am

      James, I appreciate your excitement, but a few clarifications: There have been no zoning changes in downtown in the past few years. In fact, the zoning we have in downtown has been in place since the 1990s and nothing then or now in the downtown zoning has restricted any developer from building a tower like this. For the most part there is no height limit between 14th and 18th Streets. Block 162 has no height limit and only a restriction on the amount of shadow cast upon the 16th Street Mall, which would be mitigated by putting the tower on the 15th Street side of the block. Buzz Geller’s site is in LoDo, not the CBD, so there are restrictions there. The lack of slender dramatic tall towers like this one isn’t due to city restrictions, it’s due to the lack of developers willing to spend the huge amounts of money to build those kind of towers.

      • Tony September 28, 2017 at 12:05 pm

        From some research, it seems that the developers went to the UAE to source the financing for this project. The same people who built the Burj Kahlifa and the worlds islands probably have enough money to dump into a relatively small mega project like this, despite the risks. However, “New tallest” buildings have an awful financial track record in the history of real estate, so they will need to get a vast majority of the project financed by equity (hence seeking capital from risk/prestige seeking arab finance). I would be very surprised if any commercial underwriters touch this project from a traditional majority debt financing standpoint.

        Still, I’m super excited about a new tallest. Plus, it looks like a glass Tower of Mordor, so its got that going for it too. Just need to put an “eternal flame” or ominous red/orange lights at the top for added effect.

      • James September 29, 2017 at 9:46 am

        Alright, thanks for clarifying Ken. I guess I was somewhat miffed about block 162 and it’s developers buckling to something to do with insurance chopping that tower into two separate buildings and wondering of course the validity of that action facing the probable ma and pa planning board. How droll the world if insurance finance has to define our world for us. Decades of newspaper mental skid marks has made me less of a Denver skyscraper optimist. I appears the business world doesn’t have the same kind of faith in Denver as they do U.S. coastal cities for instance.

  5. Dave September 28, 2017 at 6:21 am

    Finally Denver can have an iconic structure! Being right smack-dab in the middle of downtown and just off the 16th St. mall makes it a perfect location. I can’t wait to see New Year’s Eve fireworks displays being shot off this like Taipei 101 & Burj Khalifa.

  6. Tim September 28, 2017 at 6:27 am

    Love the look of this! Hope this is the real deal.

  7. Fred September 28, 2017 at 7:36 am

    Ryan – I also got really excited about this project when I saw it on 9News yesterday, but then they retracted the story because they said it wasn’t confirmed it was moving forward. Have you heard anything from the developers/architects?

    • Ken Schroeppel September 28, 2017 at 8:08 am

      We received an official press release with the project details directly from the developer yesterday (9/27).

      • Fred September 28, 2017 at 8:25 am

        Awesome. Thanks! Excited to watch this one unfold and feels like it could be the start of a new wave of needed density in the heart of Denver.

    • Kyle M September 28, 2017 at 8:33 am

      I saw it on 9news as well. They reported that it was going to be scaled down to 75 stories, though. Still a great looking building and I really hope it gets built. I saw that they were partnering up with Sage Hospitality for the hotel piece of the building. Sage has a lot of really nice hotels and perhaps could help this building come to fruition.

  8. Today’s Headlines – Streetsblog Denver September 28, 2017 at 8:02 am

    […] 90-Story Tower Would Supplant Surface Parking Lot — and Add 500 Parking Stalls (DenverUrbanism, […]

  9. Billie Lusk September 28, 2017 at 9:03 am

    1) Denver has an iconic structure (for those in the peanut gallery saying we finally get one) – who DOES NOT know that the cash register building is in Denver?
    2) FFS if this IS built WTF WILL PEOPLE PARK??? parking doesn’t just magically appear when you add 248 condos and a damned hotel in what USED TO BE A PARKING LOT.

    • Dan September 28, 2017 at 10:43 am

      This building will provide significantly greater parking space than what is currently in the lot…

      Agreed the cash register building is iconic, but does that mean we just shouldn’t build more buildings at all now? I think what would make this building stand out more (other than the flashy new design) is the fact that it’s noticeably taller than the current height ceiling. The cash register building, 1801 California and Republic Plaza are all very similar in height despite not being idential.

    • Dave September 28, 2017 at 11:09 am

      The cash building is 34 years old and if you look at it from the north or south it just looks like a square building. The rest of world is passing Denver by in building design & technology. Light rail and the free mall ride are less than a block away. There will also be 500 parking spaces. Denver needs this building!

    • James September 29, 2017 at 9:52 am

      With all those underground tunnels running from DIA to who knows where I’m sure that underground earth-moving rock boring machine could create a Park Meadows sized deep underground cavern for parking of all kinds.

  10. Kevin September 28, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Perfect tower for Amazon!

  11. David J September 28, 2017 at 9:45 am

    This is awesome…I hope it gets built at 90 stories!

  12. Charles September 28, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Oh! My eyes… MY EYES! This isn’t NYC. This isn’t Miami. And this is definitively not Dubai! May the Architecture Gods have mercy on this design and bring some decency to the review board.


    • ErikR September 28, 2017 at 11:02 am

      I think it actually fits in very well with the new large projects (Polsinelli, Confluence, 1144 Fifteenth) that have brightened up the Denver skyline as of late. Much like how the 80’s left a very distinctive mark on the style of downtown, I think one day we’ll be able to look back and see the current burst of glass construction as characteristic of the city’s current renaissance. In so much as it continues to tell the story of our city, this project is actually very Denver.

    • Dave September 28, 2017 at 11:21 am

      Your right, this building just the way they are showing it with the Rocky Mt. backdrop would be amazing! Way better than NY, Miami or Dubai.

    • Jay September 28, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      I think the new building will say DENVER like none of the others can… modern, vibrant, dynamic

    • Tom September 28, 2017 at 8:03 pm

      You live in a major city, Charlie. It’s past time for you to come to terms with that.

    • James September 29, 2017 at 10:01 am

      To add to the enthusiasm, I think a building this size puts a appealing balance into the overall skyline. Saying it will make the lower skyscrapers look better as well. Something has to push the ceiling of the skyline. Also I did see another rendering of only 75-stories and I’m not sure the validity of it but I think it was done by the Davis Partnership.

  13. Jay September 28, 2017 at 10:08 am

    anyone notice the CenturyLink/TransAmerica tower is missing and replaced by another building in the first rendering? strange

    • Dan September 28, 2017 at 10:45 am

      Lol I caught that too… Weird.

  14. ChrisA September 28, 2017 at 10:23 am

    Hope the developers make it happen. I just hope there are affordable units in the tower, but it doesn’t seem likely.

    • Joseph November 5, 2017 at 10:11 pm

      Charlie is freakin out dude places move forward they don’t stay the same but buildings like this help the city

  15. Nicholas September 28, 2017 at 11:37 am

    Really excited about this project, i hope it gets approved soon.

  16. NormanS September 28, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Love, great addition to downtown for so many reasons, keep moving forward Denver.

    I also noticed that they eliminated the latest Hines building on 15th so you can see Mile Hi Stadium. While I love the Hines building, emphasizing Mile Hi indicates an appeal to the local Bronco’s crowd which hopefully reflects a sensitivity from the developer to Colorado values while moving us forward to become more of an international city.

  17. Steve September 28, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Would love to see someone photoshop the eye of sauron on the top of this.

    • Bobby Mucho September 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm


      I was thinking the same thing. I dig it though.

      • ChrisA September 28, 2017 at 4:47 pm

        Y’all need to check out Devon Tower in Oklahoma City.

  18. JerryG September 28, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Great looking project/building. I hope it comes to fruition. However, keep in mind that residential floors are shorter than office floors (less people when fully occupied, less air-flow needed) and that 10 or so floors will be for parking (even shorter). That would probably put this project in the 850 ft range versus 716 ft for Republic Plaza.
    Also there is this:

    Now if that publication is correct, the project would only be about 85 stories (75 residential, 10 parking) or about 820-825 ft. This would still make it Denver’s new tallest but it would not tower over the Republic Plaza. Either way, it still great!

    • Ken Schroeppel September 28, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      That document seems not match with the rendering where the tower appears to be taller than 825 feet given Republic Plaza is over 700. The Denver Post reports this morning the tower would be 1,000 feet, which seems to match the difference between the tower and Republic Plaza in the rendering.

  19. CastleScott September 28, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    Wow!! What a great tower to the Denver skyline!! And most of all its bluish glass and not that bland brown, as a Denver native who moved away to Sacramento I sure pray and hope that this is built.

  20. Jesse September 28, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Very Excited about this project. Just curious if anyone knows what the building in the right hand corner of the first picture is? I don’t recognize it or recall hearing about it anywhere else. Could it be a mistake, or another proposed project?

  21. D.C. September 28, 2017 at 5:00 pm

    I look forward to this changing the Denver skyline. I wonder if this will bring in international condo buyers? I hate to see darkened condos in the building.

  22. david September 28, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    At 800 ft, this tower would be about 11% taller than 1801 California. Not enough to make signature status but still inpactfull on the skyline silouette. The new massing downtown is thrilling!

  23. F.P. Aguirre September 28, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    All of these macho comments lead me to believe that a building is more important than people. How wonderful??? that only the wealthy will be able to continue living in Denver. Thepeons can and will not be able to live in the city! Denver is becoming the new Aspen/Vail. Will the city provide free bus service for the lower income workers that are needed to wait on the wealthy?

  24. Mark W. September 28, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Going by the typical ratio of floors to building height of other residential and hotel highrises, this building, if built at 90 floors, will be at least 900 ft. high, but probably closer to 1000 ft.. This agrees with Ken’s comment.

  25. Stavros September 29, 2017 at 5:29 am

    Awesome on multiple fronts! Fingers crossed.

  26. Ryan September 29, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Denverite reported yesterday that ownership is now considering nixing the hotel element in favor of more residential property, which would be fantastic news. They’re right: the hotel market, especially the boutique and luxury market, is rather saturated, yet the condo market will continue to be insatiable for the foreseeable future. More luxury downtown property might not seem like a viable solution to many of our housing concerns; but the more truly high-end apartments we fit downtown, the more people will realize the six-story boxes we’ve been building…are not. Not only would this structure be a beautiful and necessary addition to downtown, but it also might be the (beginning of a) market correction our real estate market desperately needs.

    Hopefully this not only gets off the ground, but inspires a host of followers in the coming years.

  27. mitch September 29, 2017 at 11:40 am

    this is really cool. I wonder if it was originally designed for Denver? are those palm trees I see in the rendering?

  28. Jc September 30, 2017 at 9:09 am

    I cross that parking lot all the time to get my Chipotle fix and often curse that blight of a surface parking lot. Of course, I’d be even more ecstatic if the spot chosen was that other horrifying parking lot one block east at 17th and Welton, but hey, I’ll take it! So tell me, what is the percent chance of this actually coming to fruition? Should I not get too excited yet?

  29. Kate September 30, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    I saw lots of NIMBYism on the Denverite facebook page about this. Had to rush over here to enjoy this rendering with the urbanites. I would LOVE to see a supertall come to Denver! I like this design, but I don’t love it– I do love how the top mimics mountains. I’m just gonna assume the ridiculous palm-treed pool is a pipe-dream that’ll get scrapped.

  30. CastleScott September 30, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    ^ Yup those are likely steel palm trees similar to ones near the corner of West 88th and Wadsworth in Westminster-kinda a side note the non-native palm trees in Sacramento have put up with temps in the lower 20s!! Just think this will be the tallest tower in a line from Chicago to the west coast (I do believe Republic currently is the tallest now in that catagory).

  31. SPR8364 September 30, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    You gotta love that cantilevered triangular shaped pool near the top. This would indeed be exciting, but I will believe it when I see it.

    • Matthew October 4, 2017 at 8:09 pm

      It will be filled with the tears of the tenants serfs!

  32. david September 30, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    I love the notion of a signature building downtown, but the proposed design looks like a CACTUS.

  33. Dick Farley October 1, 2017 at 10:13 am

    The tower is certainly sexy, but it all depends, in my view, on the way the podium meets the street and forms the street space. If it is mostly a parking garage with a single layer of ground floor retail, then the activity and ‘eyes on the street’ doesn’t add much to 17th St. Also, the existing zoning requires design review, which has tools in it that insures a reasonable amount of daylight onto 17th St. and setbacks at the base to provide a ‘wind shelf’ to break down-drafts created by high rise facades.

  34. Zoltan October 3, 2017 at 6:32 am

    Perhaps I’m being a bit naïve, but if an American city is going to build a new convention hall, wouldn’t it be more successful as Denver’s second rather than a smaller city’s first? It seems to me that having two centers could attract complementary conventions, boosting attendance at both, on top of offering better flexibility. I’ve always thought such a facility would be perfect for the parking lot wasteland generally bounded by 20th St, Stout, 22nd St, and Glenarm. This would convert California onto a convention corridor connecting the two centers, it would likely provide the spark to get Arapahoe Square developing, and this tower would be the absolute perfect midway point.

    • PhilipDDG October 3, 2017 at 9:07 am

      Hi Zoltan. What new convention hall are you referring to?

      • Zoltan October 6, 2017 at 1:06 am

        Hi, Philip,
        I’m not actually referring to a specific project. Rather, I often hear the argument that “there is too much supply in the convention business,” yet cities across America continue to announce new projects. Take Oklahoma City, for example, which is planning to start construction on a new convention center next year. While OKC is quite a nice city, I believe such a project would be more successful in Denver given the better access through DIA and the stronger pull of Colorado as a destination. I also believe that having a dual-hall system in Denver would strengthen the convention business more than the sum of the two parts.

        • Dave October 7, 2017 at 4:12 pm

          Zoltan, I like you idea and your right, but Denver already has a 2nd convention center area. That area is called the National Western Stock Show Complex and it’s getting a $850 million dollar redevelopment. That redevelopment is getting connected to downtown Denver by way of a multi million dollar upgrade to Brighton Blvd. (see the two links below for more info)

          • Zoltan October 9, 2017 at 12:17 am

            Hi, Dave,

            Thanks for the links. I’m definitely excited about the redevelopment plans for the National Western Center, but if I read the Denverite link correctly, the planned exhibition space would be 350,000 sq. ft., which is not that large. I was thinking of something above 1,000,000 sq. ft. to compete for the larger shows. Cities like Louisville, Indianapolis, San Antonio, or Columbus have centers of this size, and (objectively) have far less air service than Denver, and (subjectively) have less of a tourist appeal for most of the year. At the same time, Las Vegas has several centers of this size, which are supported by the city’s tourist appeal and high levels of air service.

  35. Benit October 3, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    I want to believe this but from the interviews with the developer, the estimated cost, and the palm trees in the rendering… this seems like total baloney. A BIG FAT FAKE NEWS BALONEY TOWER!

  36. Steve October 3, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    This article came out a couple of days ago.

  37. Jim October 3, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    I like the 80th floor diving board. Hope that pool below is really deep! Seriously, this would be great. Our skyline needs a lift.

    • Matthew October 4, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      We can be assured that nobody except international jet-setting D-bags will ever see that ridiculous pool. Its an architectural wart where oligarchs can taunt the poor workaday serfs in the parking lots below.

      • Dan October 4, 2017 at 11:27 pm

        Ok, we get it, you’re bitter about projects like these… Please be more constructive.

  38. Jim October 4, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    The beauty of this design is in the faceted surfaces of the tower. The butterfly roof is a bit unresolved and may be a bit gimmicky for Denver. However, I do agree Denver needs a new icon on its skyline. Phillip Johnson’s (you gotta love him) cash register gave us an icon that lasted 35 years and it will continue to do so. Denver has grown up a little bit and as always seeks to express it’s aspirations in it’s architecture. but…I think this project is suspect. It seems like a covert ploy of sorts….not necessarily intended for Denver. In the rendering, the lack of attention or perhaps, purposeful modification of the surrounding tablou, indicates a disconnect that I find bothersome. I think somebody is trying to make themselves look bigger and more important then they really are.

  39. Bill October 7, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    Just another 101 feet to the proposed 1,000 foot height and it’s the tallest building west of the Mississippi. That we should accept anything less is like embracing Denver’s reputation as a third tier city.

  40. Jim October 13, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    Denver is a third tier city. If you think otherwise…you probably need to travel abroad a bit. As far as American cities go, we do ok. Maybe second tier, but there is more to a city then the size of it’s erections.

    • Zoltan October 31, 2017 at 9:02 am

      Denver is most certainly not a third-tier city, even on an international scale, unless your exclusive yardstick is metropolitan population.
      Google “world cities” or “global city” and one of the first entries is the GaWC (Globalization and World Cities) website, a frequently-quoted site that measures a city’s connectivity to the network of world cities.
      On the latest list (, Denver is listed as a Beta- city, a ranking it has held for the entirety of studies available on the GaWC website, which states,
      “All beta level cities are important world cities that are instrumental in linking their region or state into the world economy” Doesn’t exactly describe a third-tier city.

  41. Al November 12, 2017 at 1:53 am

    This is a perfect skyscraper for Denver and it’s long overdue. Looks like a piece of massive cliff itself.

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