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21 new buildings join Doors Open Denver this year

People who are curious about what’s behind closed doors at some of Denver’s best buildings won’t want to miss Doors Open Denver, an annual event showcasing the history of the city’s built environment.

Taking place Sept. 22-23, Doors Open Denver highlights more than 60 of Denver’s unique spaces and offers more than 58 Insider Tours.

Headquartered at Denver Union Station, with neighborhood anchor sites at The Rossonian in Five Points and The Kirk of Highland in the Highlands, the event will feature high-profile, historic and artistic feats of architecture and design.

Twenty-one buildings that have never been part of Doors Open Denver join the list of sites this year, including MSU’s Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Buidling, Sanctuary Downtown, North Highland Presbyterian Church, The Savoy and NINE dot ARTS. The sites are part of the list of more than 60 buildings that are free to explore.

“While Doors Open Denver always encourages walkability, the 2018 event is pedestrian focused, encouraging attendees to walk within neighborhoods featuring a high concentration of sites, including Five Points and the Highlands,” says Pauline Herrera Serianni, executive director of the Denver Architecture Foundation, which is presenting the event. “We invite the community and visitors to explore these and other neighborhoods from the inside out through our free open sites, arts and culture activities and ticketed Insider Tours.”

The Insider Tours provide engaging opportunities to view areas of Denver buildings and locales not frequently open to the public. Architects, landscape architects, historians and urban enthusiasts lead the Insider Tours. Nineteen of the 58 Insider Tours are new to Doors Open Denver this year. Tickets for Insider Tours will go on sale for $10 each for Denver Architecture Foundation members on Aug. 24 and for the public on Sept. 7.

More info at denverarchitecture.org.

With the support of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Doors Open Denver will present seven arts and culture experiences at unique architectural locations in the Five Points neighborhood.
 

Too many apartments in downtown Denver? Not according to this report

With 10,700 downtown Denver apartment units either under construction or planned in downtown Denver, many people arewondering whether the market is being overbuilt and is now headed for a correction.

But a new report from CBRE that examines the ratio of jobs to apartment units — the economic measure of the balance between apartment supply and demand — reveals that downtown Denver is, in fact, under served and additional supply is needed.

“It’s easy to see a big number of apartments coming and feel skeptical of whether a city can sustain that level of supply,” CBRE Economist and Director of Research & Analysis Matt Vance says. “But when you look at where a healthy market should be in terms of its ratio of jobs to apartments, and then you see how far Denver has historically been off from that number, it provides needed perspective and, in this case, peace of mind.”

In general, downtown urban cores have lower ratios than the suburbs because of lower home ownership and smaller household sizes. In Seattle, for example, the downtown ratio has remained between 4 and 4.5 jobs per apartment for the last 15 years, while the metro-wide ratio has hovered around 5.5 jobs per apartment during the same period.

“Developers of downtown Seattle apartments have done a remarkable job of keeping pace with demand, maintaining a stable equilibrium and supporting healthy and sustainable multifamily property performance,” Vance says. “Alternatively, in Denver we see a downtown residential market that has historically struggled to keep pace with its growing employment base.”

In 2000, Denver’s downtown jobs to apartment ratio was 21.3, more than four times greater than Seattle. But new supply has pushed downtown Denver’s ratio lower in recent years, reaching 6.6 jobs per unit at the end of 2017. While that’s an improvement, downtown Denver’s ratio is still above the metro-wide ratio of 5.9 jobs per apartment units. The report forecasts that Denver can expect its ratio to reach 5.2 jobs per unit by the end of 2019, a number that is more in line with national trends.

“While the delivery of a large number of new apartment units in a short period of time can cause growing pains, Denver can rest assured that the data shows the supply is needed as our city continues to grow and mature,” Vance says.




 

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.

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.

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.

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.”

Summer suds: Downtown's Skyline Beer Garden opens June 8

It’s a sure sign that summer is just around the corner when the Skyline Beer Garden opens at Skyline Park on the 16th Street Mall at Arapahoe Street.

Sponsored by the Downtown Denver Partnerships and the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, the Skyline Beer Garden opens June 8. It will have nearly 40,000 square feet of outdoor space with open-air and tented seating that will feature live music every Friday and Saturday. The communal Oktoberfest-style picnic tables can collectively seat more than 350 guests.

Weekly programming also will offer a host of evening activities, including Sweat & Sim (exercise classes followed by beer), Trivia Night and a Meet the Maker series. The family friendly game area features giant Jenga, foosball, ping pong, a nine-hole miniature golf course and cornhole.

The Skyline Beer Garden features 12 different brews on tap and serves up casual fare, including locally made street tacos.

The Skyline Beer Garden is also available for private events. Reservations for parties of 20 or more are being accepted for special events and private gatherings, including office happy hours, convention after parties and gatherings, birthday celebrations and family get-togethers. To book your party, contact Kristen Becker at kirsten@citystreetinvestors.com.

The Skyline Beer Garden will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. from June 8 through mid-October, weather permitting.
 

Bohemian Foundation, Illegal Pete's partner with Colorado Creative Industries

Bohemian Foundation and Illegal Pete’s have signed on as community partners for Colorado Creative Industries’ Career Advancement Grant.

Bohemian Foundation and Illegal Pete’s will contribute funds for the upcoming Career Advancement Grant cycles with submission deadlines on June 2 and Nov. 1.

Funding for musicians and music-based businesses will be provided by Fort Collins-based Bohemian Foundation in continued support and implementation of the Colorado Music Strategy. Illegal Pete’s, a Colorado-based restaurant group and record label, will provide support to the Career Advancement Grant, which offers reimbursable, matching funds up to $2,500 to help Colorado creative entrepreneurs and artists stimulate their commercial creative businesses.

“The Colorado Music Strategy, which we developed statewide over the past several years, helps us focus on ways we can continue to amplify these results and make connections with partners interested in helping musicians advance their careers,” Colorado Creative Industries Director Margaret Hunt says.

Colorado Creative Industries is a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Established to capitalize on the immense potential for the creative sector to enhance economic growth in Colorado, the organization’s mission is to promote, support and expand the creative industries to drive Colorado’s economy, increase jobs and enhance our quality of life.
 

Cheers! Downtown's Skyline Beer Garden opens June 8

t’s a sure sign that summer is just around the corner when the Skyline Beer Garden opens at Skyline Park on the 16th Street Mall at Arapahoe Street.

Sponsored by the Downtown Denver Partnerships and the Downtown Denver Business Improvement District, the Skyline Beer Garden opens June 8. It will have nearly 40,000 square feet of outdoor space with open-air and tented seating that will feature live music every Friday and Saturday. The communal Oktoberfest-style picnic tables can collectively seat more than 350 guests.

Weekly programming also will offer a host of evening activities, including Sweat & Sim (exercise classes followed by beer), Trivia Night and a Meet the Maker series. The family friendly game area features giant Jenga, foosball, ping pong, a nine-hole miniature golf course and cornhole.

The Skyline Beer Garden features 12 different brews on tap and serves up casual fare, including locally made street tacos.

The Skyline Beer Garden is also available for private events. Reservations for parties of 20 or more are being accepted for special events and private gatherings, including office happy hours, convention after parties and gatherings, birthday celebrations and family get-togethers. To book your party, contact Kristen Becker at kirsten@citystreetinvestors.com.

The Skyline Beer Garden will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. from June 8 through mid-October, weather permitting.
 

Public input sought on affordable housing action plan

The Denver Office of Economic Development is seeking public input and comment to its proposed 2018 federal Action Plan for local housing, economic development, public service and neighborhood facilities programs that use federal funds.

Public meetings will provide an overview of Denver’s proposed framework that partners with the Denver Housing Authority to double the Affordable Housing Fund annually — from $15 million to $30 million — and generate a new funding surge of an estimated $105 million for affordable housing over the next five years.

The draft action plan document, which will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will be available for a 30-day public comment period through June 15 and denvergov.org/oed.

The 2018 Action Plan encompasses the following federal programs:Community Development Block Grant Program, HOME Investment Partnership Program, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program and Emergency Shelter Grant programs. The plan includes information about the overall goals and objectives for the year with a description of the available resources and proposed actions to address identified needs. All proposed activities and projects are intended to benefit the citizens of Denver who have extremely low and moderate incomes and populations that have special needs such as elderly, disabled, homeless individuals and families and people with HIV/AIDS.

The meetings will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. May 10 in the Wellington Webb Building, 201 W. Colfax, Rooms 4.F.6-4.G.2; and from 6 to 7:30 p.m. June 6 at the Montbello Recreation Center, 15555 E. 53rd Ave. in the community room.
 

Downtown Denver award winners announced

The Downtown Denver Partnership recently announced the 57th Annual Downtown Denver Awards winners recognizing transformative projects in downtown Denver that contribute to an economically health, growing and vital center city.

The honorees, selected by a jury of key business leaders convened by the Downtown Denver Partnership, are businesses, projects and initiatives that have had the most significant economic impact on the center city in 2017. The winners were showcased at an event April 17 attended by nearly 1,000 business and civic leaders with videos produced by Comcast and Westworks Studios.

The award winners were:
  • Ashley Union Station
  • Confluence Park-Shoemaker Plaza Reconstruction
  • Le Meridien and AC Hotel by Marriott Denver Downtown
  • The Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Initiative at Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • Rocky Mountain Seed Buildings
  • Union Station Block A
“Tonight’s 57th annual Downtown Denver Awards dinner is about the brave, bold risk-takers who have shaped our city,” Downtown Denver Partnership President and Chief Executive Tami Door said during the dinner. “Thank you to the winners, the business community and all who help make this city stronger.”

In addition to recognizing the winners, the partnership also honored The Brown Palace for 125 years of service and hospitality and the Community College of Denver for 50 years of service to education.
 

"Happy City" exhibit will help break down social barriers

Public art that will be installed throughout the city starting May 18 will bring together 11 artists’ perspectives that address ideas of happiness and wellness.

The project — “Happy City: Art for the People” — will provide unexpected art experiences in public spaces with the purpose of breaking down persona, emotional and social barriers. The art installation sites will be located throughout Denver and include streets, alleyways, billboards, video screens, Union Station and others. in addition to the installations, “Happy City” will offer programming such as conversations and a panel discussion to engage the community.

Produced by The Denver Theatre District, “Happy City” is under the artistic direction of Black Cube, a nonprofit experimental art museum that operates nomadically. Black Cube, which partners with artist fellows to commission popup art experiences, describes itself as an unconventional museum pursuing the most effective ways to engage audiences while supporting individual artists with critical professional guidance.

“Through the artists’ diverse lenses, the ‘Happy City’ experience will focus on creating stronger communal ties and ask important questions about what it means to be happy,” says Cortney Lane Stell, Black Cube's artistic director. “The art interventions are inquisitive in tone and offer many perspectives on the topic of happiness, from practical through playful.”

Participating artists include Colorado artists Theresa Anderson, Matt Barton, Carlos Fresquez, Kelly Monico, Zach Reini, John Roemer, Joel Swanson and Frankie Toan. Also joining the exhibit are Milton Melvin Croissant III of New York, Vince McKelvie of California and Stuart Semple of the United Kingdom.
 

Most residents think city is not doing enough to battle homelessness, according to survey

A citywide survey confirmed what the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless has been saying for years: Homelessness and affordable housing are serious concerns and realities for Denver residents.

Key findings of the survey, which collected live telephone responses from 404 likely 2018 voters, include:
  • Homelessness ranked as the third-most-critical issue for the mayor and City Council to address, following affordable housing and education.
  • 96 percent of those surveyed said homelessness is a “serious problem” in Denver.
  • 66 percent said “too little” action is being taken by the mayor and City Council to make housing more affordable and address homelessness.
Of those surveyed, 68 percent own their homes, and 57 percent said they had experienced homelessness themselves or had a family member of friend who experienced homelessness.

“This data confirms what we already know and have experienced for the past 32 years: The city must prioritize making substantial investments in homelessness services and affordable housing,” says Cathy Alderman, vice president of communications and public policy at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. “More and more people are being marginalized and left behind by Denver’s economic growth, and it is imperative that our elected officials implement immediate strategies to reduce homelessness and provide better access to affordable housing.

The survey was sponsored by All in Denver, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Del Norte Community Development Corp., Denver Foundation, Gates Family Foundation, Gorman & Co., Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver and the Urban Land Conservancy.

CHFA gets $7.1 grant for affordable housing

A $7.1 million grant to Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) will support the development and preservation of affordable rental housing across the state.

CHFA estimates the grant will help provide housing for about 725 households in both rural and urban communities.

“The need for affordable housing across Colorado is significant and spans the housing continuum from those experiencing homelessness and special needs to housing for our seniors, veterans and workforce,” says Cris White, CHFA executive director and chief executive. “Investment in affordable housing is an investment in our state’s infrastructure and quality of life. We are very excited to receive this award and will use these resources to help local communities target their specific and unique housing needs.”

The Capital Magnet Fund grant will help further the reach of Colorado’s federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and state Affordable Housing Tax Credits by supplying additional gap funding required to make it feasible for affordable housing developments to be constructed or preserved.

Affordable housing is a much-needed resource in a state where population growth, combined with escalating development and construction costs, continues to place pressure on an already tight housing market. Colorado is ranked the fifth-most-challenging state in the nation for extremely low-income renters to find affordable housing, with only 27 affordable homes for every 100 extremely low-income renter household, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The Capital Magnet Fund is administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund). The Capital Magnet Fund was established by Congress in 2008, and offers competitively awarded grants to finance affordable housing solutions and community revitalization efforts.

Denver in program to keep low-income people in city

Denver has been selected to participate in a new program designed to stop forcing low-income residents out of cities.

Through the All-In Cities Anti-Displacement Policy Network, city teams will promote a range of strategies, including renter protections, community land trusts and community ownership models, commercial neighborhood stabilization, inclusionary zoning and other equitable development strategies. Participants will work to build the power, voice and capacity of communities directly impacted by displacement in defining the challenges and advancing solutions.

“Joining the All-In Cities Anti-Displacement Policy Network is an opportunity to work with our peer cities on new ways to ensure our economy works for everyone and address the same affordability challenges we’re all facing,” Mayor Michael Hancock said. “It’s our job to bring opportunities to communities that lift people up, not push them out, and our strong economy and market shouldn’t leave a single one of our residents behind.”

Network activities will include virtual learning labs, individualized coaching sessions with national experts and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. The network participants will first meet at the PolicyLink Equity Summit April 11-13 in Chicago. There will be another gathering this fall.

Each city has created teams of up to six local leaders, including mayors and city council members, senior city staff and community leaders. Denver’s team includes City Council President Albus Brooks; Jenny Santos, legal advocate of Servicios de La Raza Inc.; Sarah Showalter, citywide planning supervisor with Denver Community Planning and Development; Melissa Thate, housing policy officer with the Denver Office of Economic Development; and Tracy Winchester, executive director of the Five Points Business District.

“The timing of our selection to this network speaks to the challenges we currently face as a city and our call to ultimate inequality,” Brooks said. “Economic growth has the capacity to build both bridges and barriers. Economic success must be shared by all. This network allows us to collaborate on smart policies that will create a truly inclusive economy for all residents.”

Other cities selected for the network are Austin, Texas; Boston; Nashville; Philadelphia; Portland, Ore.; San Jose, Calif.; Santa Fe, N.M. and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.


 
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