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17 of 28 cranes in Denver are for residential projects

Residential projects account for 17 of the 28 cranes dotting Denver’s skyline, according to Crane’s latest Quarterly Cost Report from Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB).

That’s a minor decline from the 29 cranes in the report’s previous count. Nationally, the number of tower cranes increased 10 percent, confirming the hot pace of urban building. Residential and mixed-use lead the activity.

“The increase in the net crane count indicates that the construction industry is prospering, despite a tight labor market and materials tariffs,” said Julian Anderson, president of RLB North America. “Our outlook for the industry through the end of the year remains positive.”

In Denver, Market Station, a $200 million complex of retail, residential and workplace buildings, is on track to revitalize the Lower Downtown neighborhood, according to RLB. The company predicts that construction in the downtown area is likely to grow as surface parking is replaced by mixed-use buildings designed to heighten the presence of retail and dining businesses in response to the increasing residential population.

CHFA creates affordable housing fund

The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) has unveiled a new statewide housing fund to support the development and preservation of affordable and rental housing across Colorado.

Funding for the new Capital Magnet Fund comes from a $7.1 million grant recently awarded to CHFA by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. CHFA will use the proceeds to provide low-interest, flexible financing for developers building or preserving affordable rental housing. CHFA estimates the fund will help provide housing for about 723 Colorado households in both rural and urban communities.

“CHFA’s Capital Magnet Fund is an imperative resource to Colorado as our growing population, combined with escalating development and construction costs, continue to intensify an already challenging housing market,” CHFA Executive Director and CEO Chris White said.

The Capital Magnet Fund is designed to encourage affordable rental housing development and preservation that supports Colorado’s most vulnerable populations and communities. It will provide subordinate financing — up to $750,000 per eligible project — at a 3 percent fixed interest rate to developments that have been awarded federal housing credits.

Denver cracks top 10 on ranking of tech talent

Denver moved up to No. 10 this year on CBRE’s Tech Talent Scorecard, the first time the city has ranked among the top 10 North American tech markets.

Tech labor concentration, or the percentage of total employment, is an influential factor in how “tech-centric” the market is and its growth potential. Denver has a tech talent labor pool of 99,760, or 6.2 percent of its total employment, placing it among the top 10 most-tech-concentrated markets and well above the national average of 3.5 percent.

Tech wage growth is another contributing factor to a city’s ability to attract and retain its tech talent. Denver’s average annual tech wage now tops $100,000, ranking 10th out of the 50 U.S. and Canadian markets studied and marking a a 15 percent increase in tech wage growth over the last five years.

“Tech continues to play an increasingly larger role in Denver’s ecosphere,” said Alex Hammerstein, senior vice president with CBRE’s Tech and Media Practice in Denver. “We see everything from startups to Fortune 500 tech companies opening and expanding their operations here, drawn to our educated workforce and supportive entrepreneurial culture. On the talent side, people choose Denver for our quality of life, relatively affordable cost of living and high-paying employment opportunities.”

The Tech Talent Scorecard is determined based on 13 metrics, including tech talent supply, growth, concentration, cost, completed tech degrees, industry outlook for job growth and market outlook for both office and apartment rent cost growth.

Denver stood out in the report in several other key areas:
  • Denver’s tech labor force grew 23.8 percent (adding 19,200 workers) over the past five years, among the fastest of large North American tech markets.
  • Denver produces a strong number of tech graduates but also continues to draw outside talent who are attracted to the tech job opportunities; Denver added more than 1,500 more tech jobs than tech graduates during the last five years.
  • The availability of tech jobs is helping to attract millennials — Denver saw a 6.8 percent increase in its millennial population change in the past five years, nearly double the U.S. average of 3.7 percent.

RiNo Made to celebrate Warhol's 90th birthday

RiNo Made is celebrating renowned artist Andy Warhol’s 90th birthday with commemorative art, events and collaborations.

Each month, the RiNo Made store inside Zeppelin Station features an artist from the RiNo Art District. In August, RiNo Made is presenting a group show inspired by Warhol’s works. The show opens for First Friday, Aug. 3.

In addition to the new selection of art, RiNo Made also will debut its latest collaboration with Gelato Boy on its newest ice cream flavor, Candy Warhol. Guests will be able to sample the creation and see the winner of the artist competition to design the Warhol-inspired gelato container at the opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 4.

The celebration continues with RiNo Made and the Denver Public Library throwing a birthday party the night before Warhol’s actual birthday during Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. At the free event from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 5 at RiNo Made, Dr. Sketchy’s will have a model dressed as Warhol for artists to sketch. Birthday cake will be served between sessions.

 

NAVA to develop condos in Uptown neighborhood

NAVA Real Estate Development has unveiled plans for a new condominium development in Denver’s Uptown neighborhood.

The 12-story building at 575 East 20th Ave. will have 249 units. NAVA purchased the 1.06-acre site for $7.1M from the Denver Housing Authority.

“Our building will provide excellent access to downtown, the light rail, employment and entertainment, as well as the many wonderful restaurants in the neighborhood,” NAVA co-founder and President Brian Levitt said. “It is also being designed to achieve WELL Building Certification through the International WELL Building Institute. We are designing the community to be one of America’s healthiest residential projects.”

The building, designed by Davis Partnership Architects, will offer studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans. Davis is focused on producing welcoming spaces that evoke a natural Colorado setting. Parking will be available for every residence. Sales are tentatively scheduled to begin in spring 2020.

The project is NAVA’s second residential development in Denver. The firm is currently developing Lakehouse, a 196-unit mixed-use community on the south shore of Sloan’s Lake. Like the Uptown site, Lakehouse is being designed to pilot and pursue WELL Building Certification. The international standard is the first to integrate health and wellness into the design, construction and operations of buildings to optimize the health of their residents and guests. Wellness features include the maximization of natural light, improved air quality, organic gardens and an array of fitness amenities to encourage residents to stay fit and engage with one another.

“We were drawn to the site as it offers true neighborhood living in an urban setting with great walkability,” NAVA co-founder Trevor Hines said. “There is a real lack of high-rise ownership opportunities in the neighborhood, and we hope to fill that gap by offering new condominiums with iconic architecture, high-quality finishes and a focus on health and wellness, woven into the design at every level.”




 

Affordable senior housing set for City Park West

The former nurses’ dormitory on the St. Joseph Hospital campus in Denver’s City Park West neighborhood is being converted into affordable independent senior housing.

The Neenan Co. has started work on renovating the historic Tammen Hall into 49 rental apartments for income-qualified seniors 62 years or older.

St. Joseph sold the building to MGL Partners/Solvera Advisors in 2017, with its parent organization SCL Health providing substantial investment to finance the redevelopment.

“The mission of SCL Health and St. Joseph Hospital is to improve the health of the people and communities we serve, especially those who are poor and vulnerable,” said St. Joseph Hospital President Jamie Smith. “We are so pleased to be a partner in this redevelopment effort that aligns with our mission and contributes toward finding a solution for the significant need for affordable housing in our community for seniors.”

Located at 1010 E. 19th Ave., the eight-story, 51,000-square-foot facility will feature common areas on the first floor and one- and two-bedroom apartments on the second through seventh levels. The top floor will include a common area and rooftop patio. The project is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.

Originally built in 1930 as a nurse dormitory for Children’s Hospital Colorado, Tammen Hall was named after Harry Tammen, the first publisher of The Denver Post. The building later was converted into office space for Children’s Hospital Colorado until the hospital moved to the Anschutz Medical Campus in September 2007. Because it’s designated as a local historic landmark, the exterior and internal renovations must comply with National Park Service standards. Among the spaces to be preserved are a theater and a community room that will be available for neighborhood meetings and events, along with the historic entry and foyer.

Children’s Hospital Colorado has been overseeing the restoration of murals created by the historic Colorado muralist Allen Tupper True. The murals are original to Tammen Hall and will be returned to the building upon the project’s completion.

“We’re thrilled to support such a meaningful project among Denver’s thriving development scene, said David Shigekane, president of The Neenan Co. “Not only are we helping to preserve an important piece of Denver’s heritage, but the project will surely play a significant role in Denver’s future.”
 

New mural to be painted at History Colorado-inspired Center

A new History Colorado initiative — “We Are Colorado!” — will embrace the gathering and sharing of stories that celebrate the diverse communities of Colorado both past and present.

The first “We Are Colorado!” activity will feature “Self-Preservation,” a mural by local artist Anthony Garcia Sr. Garcia creates imaginative works on canvas, as well as mixed media, silk screening and urban art installations.

In celebration of Colorado’s long history of murals, Garcia’s painting inside the History Colorado Center will be inspired by the sarape, the colorful, blanketlike shawl worn traditionally in Mexico. Using culturally and artistically relevant and vibrant sarape colors and designs, “Self-Preservation” will represent the ways different cultures can work together to form a community. Garcia will paint his mural on site from July 9-20 at the History Colorado Center. Museum visitors are invited to watch the process and enjoy the artwork as it develops.

In the fall, History Colorado will begin an oral history collection project in the Globeville/Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods.. By partnering with Garcia, who is from Globeville, History Colorado aims to incorporate community art as a way of highlighting the rich history of that Denver neighborhood.

Garcia also is director of BirdSeed Collective, a nonprofit organization that encourages local youth artists to showcase their talents by joining an art collective that promotes urban art and self-sufficiency through art workmanship.

Large donations enable JCC to purchase its campus

A coalition of donors is spending millions to buy the Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center (JCC Denver) campus in an effort to enable the organization to sustainably operate on a debt-free basis, strengthen its programs, services and infrastructure.

The funding agreement includes multimillion-dollar leadership gifts from the Rose Community Foundation, Mizel Family Foundations, Michael Staenberg and the Sturm family, as well as support from a host of other community donors. The money will be used to purchase the JCC Denver campus, which will enable the JCC Denver to repay the $14.3 million in debt it has accumulated since the 1990s, put aside reserves for deferred maintenance needs and provide for a financially sustainable future.

“On behalf of our staff, outgoing board and membership, we are grateful for this unprecedented generosity and lifeline,” said Lara Knuettel, CEO of the JCC Denver. “This financial stabilization combined with a new staff, a new board and renewed community engagement will propel the JCC Denver forward into a new era.”

To set the stage for the new era, the current JCC Denver board has agreed to step down and a new board chaired by longtime community leader Don Kortz will be installed.

“I look forward to working with Lara and the highly qualified management team she has been building to ensure the JCC Denver continues to grow, thrive and serve even more community members with excellent programming for people of all ages,” Kortz said.

The property will be held in a nonprofit subsidiary of Rose Community Foundation solely for the exclusive and perpetual benefit of the JCC Denver. The foundation’s nonprofit subsidiary, which will be chaired by trustee Jerry Glick and comprised of volunteer real estate experts from the Rose Community Foundation board, will enter into a 100-year lease agreement with the JCC Denver for a nominal $1 a year to ensure the JCC will survive and thrive for generations to come.

CU Denver seeking development partner

The University of Colorado Denver is searching for a development partner to implement its Facilities Master Plan that was adopted in November.

CU Denver has hired JLL to consult on how to leverage existing real estate assets and realize master plan priorities, including building a new first-year residence hall and dining facility to meet the needs of its growing student body.

“As Colorado’s only public urban research university, CU Denver is committed to its home in the heart of this vibrant city,” CU Denver Chancellor Dorothy Horrell says. “We’ve hired JLL to help us determine how we can maximize our real estate assets to the benefit of our students now, while ensuring our land is preserved for the needs of our university in the future.”

JLL will be soliciting a private-sector partner for a development, operation and management opportunity at Walnut and Fourth streets near the intersection of Colfax Avenue and Auraria Parkway that includes the existing 700-bed Campus Village Apartments and an adjacent undeveloped parcel.

“The site offers an existing revenue stream from the ind-demand Campus Village Apartments, says Bob Hung, managing director with JLL’s Higher Education Group. “It’s located next to the Auraria Campus with nearly 50,000 students, as well as two light-rail stops — one of which provides direct access to Mile High Stadium. It’s an attractive development opportunity for a partner to activate under-utilized land with mixed-use development, enabling CU Denver to direct its focus and funding to its critical facility needs.”

The selected partner will also work with CU Denver to develop a first-year housing and dining facility on the Auraria Campus. The new facility will bring first-year students into the heart of CU Denver’s campus neighborhood and strengthen the university’s connection to downtown Denver.

An RFQ and RFP process will begin in August. A development partner is expected to be selected by March of next year.

Denver Flea returns to Denver Rock Drill

Hundreds of local makers and small businesses from Colorado and the Western region will gather at the Denver Flea July 13-15 at the Denver Rock Drill in the RiNo/Cole neighborhood.

Vendors will set up shop at the Denver Rock Drill, 1717 E. 39th Ave., alongside food trucks and six pop-up bars serving great Divide beer and special Flea craft cocktails.

The Summer Flea weekend kicks off with the event’s first Talking Heads and Tacos Party from 5-9 p.m. July 13. Tickets are $35 a person and include four drink tickets and entry into the Flea all weekend. The 21-and-over event will feature tacos from some favorite Denver spots, live music from Talking Heads tribute band Little Creatures and shopping with Flea vendors in advance of the Flea opening. Tickets can be used for re-entry on Saturday and Sunday.

The Flea continues from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 14 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 15. Tickets are $5 a person and can be purchased online and at the door. Entrance is free for children 12 and younger.

Some of the Summer Flea’s sponsor partners will be hosting activities, including First Bank’s money-blowing booth booth that gives participants a chance to catch Flea Bucks to spend with vendors at the event and signature brews from Great Divide.

Nominations sought for Mayor's Design Awards

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and the city’s Community Planning and Development Department are seeking nominations for the 2018 Mayor’s Design Awards.

Since 2005, the Mayor’s Design Awards have honored projects throughout the city for excellence in architecture, exterior design and place making. The awards are presented to Denver homeowners, business owners, nonprofits and artists for their creative contributions to the public realm through innovative design. Many different types of projects are eligible. Previous award winners range from restaurants and galleries to private single-family homes to plazas and other shared public spaces. What each of the projects have in common is the imaginative and innovative way they enhance public spaces and create a sense of community.

“Every year, these awards are an opportunity to celebrate what’s special abou tthe character and community of our city,” Hancock said. “I look forward to seeing nominated projects from every corner of Denver.”

Nominations are due Sept. 7. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in late fall.

Craft brewery to open at STEAM on the Platte

The team of Urban Ventures and White Construction Group has landed a Latino-owned craft brewery to occupy a 6,062-square-foot former gas station at STEAM on the Platte, a mixed-use development on the South Platte River near Mile High Stadium.

Raíces Brewing Co. will also have 3,500 square of patio space on the South Platte River and an additional patio to the north of the existing structure that will have views of the Denver skyline.

The brewery is being designed by Rob Forsland. White Construction, Urban Ventures’ partner in STEAM on the Platte, will perform the core and shell work on the bowstring building, and Built Construction will complete the interior. The brewery is expected to open next spring.

A native of Costa Rica, José Beteta, Raíces chief executive, said he got the idea to start a brewery when he noticed minorities are not well-represented in the craft beer industry. His research found that Latinos account for 14 percent of beer consumed in the United States, but they owned less than 0.5 percent of the 6,372 U.S. breweries operating in 2017. Latino spending on beer amounts to $11 billion of the $26 billion market. And of that, 80 percent comes from imported beers like Corona, Pacifico and Tecate.

“A very small sliver of that is craft beer,” said Beteta. “There’s a huge opportunity here.”

And while Colorado has nearly 350 craft breweries, it’s rare to find Latinos in any of them, Beteta said. The key to getting Latinos into a craft brewery, Beteta said, is creating a culture and environment that’s comfortable and makes them feel included and welcome.

“They want to try craft beers, but they don’t have the correct environment,” he said. “You don’t see a lot of diversity in craft breweries.”

Raíces, which means roots, will take a three-pronged approach to the business to create that environment. The concept starts with high-quality beer and authentic Latin American and Caribbean food. There also will be a cultural component, which will include artwork, music, performances and events.

“We will be showcasing the Latino culture — not just for Latinos but for everyone,” Beteta said.

Award-winning brewer Martín Vargas, who was raised in Puerto Rico, will manage the brewery operations, production staff, quality control and product development at Raíces. In her role as vice president of development, Puerto Rico native Tamil Maldonado-Vega will handle front-of-house operations and programming.

“We will celebrate all the traditions of Latin America and the Caribbean in this space,” Maldonado-Vega said. “It’s very important for us to be authentic with what we do.”

Raíces location at STEAM on the Platte is just down the street another project that will celebrate Latino culture and heritage. Urban Ventures President Susan Powers is working with Adrianna Abarca to convert four buildings on Lower Colfax into the Latino Cultural Arts Center, which will include museum space displaying Latin American art, street-level retail, a cafe, full-service restaurant, a library, event space and a small auditorium.

“We were looking for the right operator to put in this building, and Raíces is the perfect fit,” Powers said. “With Raíces, the Latino Cultural Center and Meow Wolf all locating within a few blocks of one another, Sun Valley is shaping up to be a cultural hub.”

Urban Ventures and White Construction Group acquired the property in 2014. The site, originally settled by Russian-Jewish immigrants in the 1880s, once had 25 homes and several businesses on it. It housed the Johnson and Bremer Soap Factory and a rag-baling facility. When Urban Ventures and White Construction purchased the property, there were two illegal marijuana grows operating, and the Evil Souls motorcycle gang had taken over one of the buildings as its clubhouse.
 

Three Denver installations honored during arts convention

Three Denver Arts & Venues projects were honored during the Americans for the Arts annual convention in Denver.

The honors are part of the Public Art Network Year in Review program, the only national program that specifically recognizes the most compelling public art chosen by a panel of public art experts.

“To be recognized by Americans for the Arts Public Art Network for three of our projects is an incredible honor,” Denver Arts & Venues Executive Director Kent Rice says. “It’s evidence of the strength and dedication of our Denver Public Art team, our public art selection panel and the artists, designers and fabricators involved with each project.”

The projects that were honored during the convention were:
  • The RAW Project Denver, which engaged more than 30 artists to paint exterior walls of Villa Park and Sun Valley elementary schools — Eagleton, Cowell and Fairview. Community members, teachers and students also participated, and artists went into classrooms to talk about the creative process.
  • Sky Song, an interactive installation designed and fabricated by Denver artists Nick Geurts and Ryan Elmendorf. The mirror-polished stainless steel 8-foot structure invites passersby to press any combination of its 33 buttons, which activate lights and tones on the Levitt Pavilion amphitheater building facade.
  • Ascent, a musical composition composed by Kevin Padrowski for the Denver City and County Building’s bell tower.
“The best of public art can challenge, delight, educate and illuminat,” Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert Lynch says. “Most of all, public art creates a sense of civic vitality in the cities, towns and communities we inhabit and visit.”

School of Mines joins Catalyst HTI

The Colorado School of Mines will join the roster of tenants at Catalyst HTI, a healthcare innovation hub opening this summer.

The Colorado School of Mines plans to open a 1,700-square-foot office inside Catalyst HTI in early fall. The space will be an open workshop and classroom, home to Capstone Design projects, career fairs, technology information sessions and a gallery showcasing the work of students and faculty. The university’s new graduate program in quantitative biosciences and engineering and the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation are among the entities that will have a presence in the space.

“The biotech and healthcare industries offer great employment opportunities for Mines students and great collaborative opportunities for our faculty who are working on the cutting edge of tissue engineering, computational systems biology, medical device development and more,” Mines President Paul Johnson says. “We’re excited to join the Catalyst HTI venture, increasing our visibility in this vital, growing field of health technology at a local level and accelerating our progress toward establishing Colorado School of Mines as an innovative partner for the industry.”
 

VALOR loan program has helped 16 veterans

The Colorado Enterprise Fund’s VALOR loan program has surpassed the $1 million mark in loans produced since its inception seven months ago.

The VALOR program was created last year to support U.S. military veterans and Gold Star Families in Colorado. Since November, it has helped 16 veteran borrowers either start or grow their businesses in Colorado.

“Working with CEF has been a life preserver for H.C. Trucking,” says Ron Burnett, a retired U.S. Air Force master sergeant who owns the freight shipping and trucking company. “When we were informed about the VALOR loan program, we worked with CEF to renegotiate a lower interest rate and the process was seamless. This has truly been a collaborative partnership, and we’re proud to be part of the CEF family.”

The program offers loan amounts up to $500,000 for working capital, equipment, inventory, property improvements, business purchases and commercial real estate. The program offers a loan rate that is discounted 2 percent from standard CEF rates with terms of up to 10 years and interest-only periods of up to six months.

“Access to affordable capital for vets and their families continues to be a challenge, and we are proud to offer this program to support those who have supported our country by serving in the military,” CEF President and CEO Ceyl Prinster says.

Before CEF launched VALOR, the organization had provided 33 loans to vets over the course of two decades totaling $1.5 million. With the help of the VALOR program, CEF has provided nearly 50 loans to vets totaling $2.6 million. The loans have helped to create 385 jobs and allowed for the retention of nearly 125 jobs.
 
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