Block 162 Is Under Construction!

On Monday, crews came in and quickly eradicated one of the worst surface parking lots in Downtown Denver. We are happy to announce that Block 162, a 30-story glass office tower, is officially under construction!

It’s very exciting to see this project underway!

By | 2018-06-09T09:02:39+00:00 June 7, 2018|Categories: Central Downtown, Infill, Office, Urbanism|Tags: |22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. GC June 7, 2018 at 10:02 am - Reply

    Fantastic! This is the best development news we have had in a long time.
    Any idea when we will see the hotel tower component get underway?

  2. Adam June 7, 2018 at 10:13 am - Reply

    Great news! Will be a nice addition to 15th Street and fun to see go vertical over the next 2 years. I also noticed that Two Tabor is officially in for permit according to the City/County of Denver’s site development page. So if all goes well that’ll start going vertical in the coming year. Two 400-foot+ office towers under construction at the same time. *knock on wood*

    • Robert Buterbaugh - Concierge June 8, 2018 at 10:57 am - Reply

      Never bet on Tabor Center Tower Two. It’s been “proposed” for decades.

  3. James June 7, 2018 at 10:53 am - Reply

    Awesome
    Great to see it finally happen
    Wish it was taller,but denver like’s it’s 30 story or less building’s
    Any news about former Conttrels building
    Hope a tall office building goes there to hide
    the blank wall of the dominion Plaza-ugly side
    Like the back side of the Ritz Carlton

  4. Chuck Moozakis June 7, 2018 at 11:58 am - Reply

    It’s been so long since there has been buildings on the other side of California Street, I’ve almost forgotten what they were.. Let’s see; there was the fleabag hotel on the corner of California and 15th, and closer to 16th Street there was the Long Diamonds building, right??? Any others on 15th?

    Very glad to see this happening.

    • Special Ed June 8, 2018 at 2:38 pm - Reply

      On 15th Street was the 15th St Bar and an Indian imports/head shop. On California was the Bank of Denver and Caboose toy train store.

    • Stephen June 8, 2018 at 9:58 pm - Reply

      Don’t forget the Chez Chuy Hoa Vietnamese restaurant on the 15th and California corner! There was also a garage in that building, where the horse-drawn carriages that took people up and down the mall were kept, as well as a liquor store.
      Does anyone still offer those carriage rides??

  5. Dan June 7, 2018 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    SWEET! Looking forward to the Two Tabor announcement any day now, too 😉

  6. J.A. June 7, 2018 at 12:51 pm - Reply

    the parking lot will not be missed

  7. DenvertoSDiego June 7, 2018 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    I bet we get a proposal on the hotel part once construction starts on the convention center expansion.

  8. Edward Brennan June 7, 2018 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    What block replaces it as the must develop/worst block downtown? I mean this block has basically been the poster child for space that needed infill for years (decades?).

    • Dan June 7, 2018 at 4:50 pm - Reply

      The pigeon lot at 17th and Welton has my vote.

      • Max A. June 8, 2018 at 8:14 am - Reply

        I’ll second the Pigeon Zone

        • Sam W. June 8, 2018 at 1:55 pm - Reply

          You were not kidding, google streetview shows the pigeon zone. LOL!

    • Jon June 8, 2018 at 3:26 pm - Reply

      The crater between Lincoln, Broadway, Welton, Sherman, 19th, and 20th Has to be up there

  9. Ballpark resident June 7, 2018 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    Edward… the worst block now belongs to the Federal Reserve on 16th..

    Only partially kidding..

  10. Joel Dean June 8, 2018 at 11:43 am - Reply

    This and the new Broadway Station announcement make for an exciting day!

    • Jon June 8, 2018 at 3:25 pm - Reply

      What was announced about Broadway Station? Link?

  11. James June 9, 2018 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    Good to see another parking lot go for an increase in city center activity. But in my opinion I believe Denver’s level of consistent growth and energy deserves much better design. I think our downtown is more and more on the radar for national investment. I don’t buy the argument or ideas that price of land, amount of parking lots, fragile bedrock have anything to do with the outcome in scale and height of buildings. You could take the size and scale of the Republic Plaza and squeeze it up into a more slender tower resulting in 300 feet higher than it is. Possibly wider at the bottom and would be the same weight. Ask yourself how is it that Wells Fargo, 1801 California or Republic Plaza got built at the time that it did when there were far more available parking lots in the early eighties than there are now. More properties could have been sold to developers building twice as many towers for the same equation of square footage. Most downtown areas across the nation are but a mix of relationships with landowners and planners nothing else. Denver has a small group of these who are afraid of loosing it’s old sportsman appeal for a seemly colder cosmopolitan big city look that continue to define how our downtown so it’s not at all a random or accidental process, like say Chicago or New York. Maybe it’s a case of high anxiety. For those of us with more of a cosmopolitan vision that would put Denver where it could be in the lineup of competing national skylines we’ll just have to be patient for the opportunity of particular investment aligning itself with a like minded landowner.Good to see another parking lot go for more human

    • Freddie June 10, 2018 at 11:18 am - Reply

      This is the first I’ve heard of “fragile bedrock” limiting the height of buildings in Denver. Denver’s three tallest are essentially the same elevation at the roof due to an FAA imposed height restriction that was apparently necessary back when Denver’s international airport was much closer to downtown. (Republic Plaza was originally proposed to be a much taller building as I understand it.) Fragile bedrock was never a limiting factor.

      As for price and availability of land forcing height the way it does in Manhattan – that’s a one-way street in my opinion. I don’t think cheap, widely available land in a city’s downtown forces low height; it merely allows it. It doesn’t stop a visionary from going tall. Your example of Denver’s three tallest going up at a time when downtown Denver was essentially a dirt-cheap swath of asphalt is apt.

      So I guess I agree with the first half of your post, but then the second half gets a little weird.

      Timidity of Denver’s planners and land-owners limiting the height of Denver’s skyscrapers is not a new one to me (although most arm-chair architects pushing such theories tend to point their fingers more at the developers – or more lazily at simply “Denver” or “They”), but I do have a hard time understanding where this sentiment comes from. I’ll bet most of downtown Denver’s planners and land-owners are even bigger skyscraper geeks than you and me as it would be in their nature considering where their career paths have led them.

      So then, what prevents Denver from adding towering pieces of striking, high-quality architecture to it’s downtown? I’m no expert but I have been paying close attention to development news in Denver (and other small markets) over the past couple decades and have come to the conclusion financing is always the biggest hurdle. Building a 1000′ tower in a smaller market like Denver’s is apparently an extremely risky endeavor as it seems securing financing for such developments is practically impossible. I’m sure there are countless developers and land-owners that would love to be involved with a remarkable new skyline-defining tower for Denver – and I’m sure most of downtown Denver’s planners would enthusiastically encourage such a development – but at the end of the day, developers just want to actually get something done and make a buck, and so we get another 30-story piece of decent architecture. I imagine even those are no easy feat.

      • Ken Schroeppel June 10, 2018 at 1:23 pm - Reply

        Correct, Freddie. Well stated!

        James–

        Each development is an independent economic decision related to the market demand and supply for the building’s proposed use(s) made by a developer through a risk/profit lens at a given point in time. If the optimal point on that risk/profit spectrum is a 30-story building with X amount of architectural design quality, then that’s what the developer will build. “Planning interests and land owners” have nothing to do with it. Typically, the developer will go under contract and close on the land once they decide to pull the trigger on the project. Land owners who are under contract to sell the land to a developer don’t have any say or influence in what the developer is proposing. That would be like putting your house on the market and telling the future buyer that, after they close and take ownership of the house, you don’t want them to remodel the kitchen. That’s silly. Same thing goes for land owners who sell to developers. The land owner wants to sell the land so it is in their best interest to stay clear and wish the developer well on whatever they plan so that they can actually close on the property.

        From a planning perspective, Denver’s downtown zoning code already allows unlimited height and a generous maximum 20:1 FAR (floor area ratio) with a suite of density bonuses, and the Downtown Area Plan, which officially guides downtown development, certainly promotes density and high-rise development. When a development application is submitted to the planning office, they review it as submitted and would only intervene in the building height decision if the project were not meeting zoning requirements or plan goals. If tomorrow, a dozen developers walked into the planning office with proposals for 70 and 80-story towers within the FAR limits, the Denver planning office would dutifully review and approve them once they met the various other development regulations like fire-safety, access, etc.

        There is no conspiracy here. No anti-density or sportsman-style sentiment. “Denver” doesn’t build skyscrapers, developers do, who make height and design decisions primarily based on their bottom line and expected ROI. It just happens that the supply/demand/risk equation for buildings taller than those we are getting today doesn’t pencil out, yet. If/when they do, developers will go taller because doing so would be in their economic best interest. The other factor is that Denver lacks ego-centric corporations who are willing to stretch that economic/risk analysis in favor of taller/”look at me” headquarters buildings solely for corporate ego and prestige purposes.

  12. James June 11, 2018 at 12:57 am - Reply

    Much appreciate your thorough intelligent replies! I’m glad to hear it. It’s possible that prestige could be the point of these things. Personally I like to see downtown as a whole only each piece being enhanced by a wide range of architectural diversity. Then I admit I suppose my thought processes took a ride due to a John Rebchook article in the Colorado Real Estate Journal concerning 650 17 a few months back with some of the quoted conversations in that article between Geller and Mr. Ursini from Greenwich Realty Capital in New York which might have planted some suspicion in my assumptions about landowners. Mr. Ursini quoted as saying that Geller was one of the hardest people he’s had to deal with in the industry and that he had every intent on working with him but that Geller wanted to continue to collect parking lot revenue for a year so it wasn’t that Greenwich Realty Capital didn’t want to buy the land. Geller saying he’d given 15 extensions and Ursini replying it was less and he had lost a backer and got a new one. Anyway it sounded twisted and yet still hopeful. Really not to go on about gossip quality information here. I guess being a skyscraper geek I only assume that everyone involved in such a process is as focused as if atoned to my personal wishes. Thank you!

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