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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.
 

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.

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.

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.
 

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.
 

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.
 

CU Denver team takes second in HUD competition

A student team from the University of Colorado-Denver College of Architecture and Planning took second place in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Affordable Housing competition.

The goal of the national competition was to advance the design and production of livable and sustainable housing for low- and moderate-income people through research and innovation. The competition asks teams to address social, economic and environmental issues in their response to a specific housing problem developed by an actual public housing agency.

The CU team, which included Stacy Ester, Joel Miller, Adam Buehler, Nora Bland and William Dolenshek, won a $10,000 prize.

The team’s project, entitled “Allied Living,” was designed to be a community grounded in safe, inclusive and connected spaces. Five guiding principles — identity, connectivity, accessibility, wellness and experience — informed the team’s design. The walkability and accessibility of the site connects larger community hubs through smaller social nodes, intentionally using everyday places to encourage interaction and place making. Sunlit spaces, community gardens and ease of access to nature support the overall wellness of the community’s residents.

Allied Living was envisioned to be a home where residents can express their own identities, branch out to experience new things and connect with empowering community partners as well as each other. Achieving the vision required proposing an inclusionary zoning provision to the existing zoning and balancing the project’s hard and soft costs with anticipated sources of funding and income.

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.


 

Denver city planners roll out land-use, mobility ideas

City planners are rolling out ideas for land use and mobility in Denver neighborhoods at workshops this week.

Denverites have called for a more inclusive city with strong and authentic neighborhoods. To achieve that, the city must move beyond the city’s “areas of change” and “areas of stability” model that was established in 2002.

The new concept acknowledges that all places in the city are evolving in pursuit of becoming complete in their own way — not just through enabling or limiting development but through quality-of-life infrastructure like sidewalks, housing options, transit access, parks and open space. Diversity, affordability and good urban design and architecture are key to complete neighborhoods as well.

Denver will continue to grow and change. Regional centers and corridors would take on the most growth, while the remainder of Denver’s places would evolve in smaller ways. Ensuring the proper scale and intensity for all places — and appropriate transitions between residential areas and other places — are key to livability.

Based on more than a year and a half of listening to the community’s voice about critical issues from inclusivity and affordability to neighborhood character and transit connections, city planners are working on a new approach to managing land use.

Residents can learn about and provide input on potential strategies at the Blueprint Denver workshops. The first workshops were held earlier this week. The remaining workshops are as follows:


• Feb. 27, 5:30 - 8 p.m., Corky Gonzales Library, 1498 Irving St., Denver (Council district 3)
• Mar. 1, 6 - 8 p.m., All Saints Parish Hall, 2559 S. Federal Blvd., Denver (Council district 2)
• Mar. 6, 5:30 - 7:30, Community of Christ Church, 480 N. Marion St., Denver (Council district 10)
• Mar. 7, 6 - 7:30 p.m., Evie Garrett Dennis Campus, 4800 Telluride St., Denver (Council district 11)
• Mar. 8, 6 - 8 p.m., Valverde Elementary, 2030 W. Alameda Ave., Denver (Council district 7) SPANISH-LED
• Mar. 14, 6 - 8 p.m., DSST Byers School, 150 S. Pearl St., Denver (Council district 7) - No Spanish interpretation
• Mar. 15, 5:30 - 7 p.m., DSST Stapleton High School, 2000 Valentia St., Denver (Council district 8)
111 Auraria Articles | Page: | Show All
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