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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.
 

Cool class for kids: The Science of Ice Cream

The Inventing Room Dessert Shop is launching a series of “Science of Ice Cream” demonstrations just for kids.

The summer-break gatherings, designed for children between the ages of 5 and 14, are intended to bridge the gap between food and science.

“The goal is to get kids excited about science and have them explore all of the different and interesting ways to connect science with food,” says Ian Kleinman, the chef behind the eccentric, scratch-made dessert shop at 4433 W. 29th Ave. “Liquid nitrogen ice cream is the focus of the classes, but these are also about encouraging kids to ask questions like how pop rocks are created, how bubbles make their way into soda or the science behind everyone’s favorite midnight snack — the old-school Twinkie.”

Those who attend the free classes will learn about carbon dioxide and the properties of liquid nitrogen.

“We’ll have scientific discussions, followed by demonstrations that show the kids how we use both carbon dioxide and liquid nitrogen to make their favorite treats, including juices, sodas and custom-made ice cream sundaes,” Kleinman says.

The classes will be held from 11 a.m. to noon on June 6, June 13, June 20 and June 27. Space is limited to 18 kids per class. Parents can drop their children off at The Inventing Room Dessert Shop and return to pick them up or hang out outside on the patio during the class. All kids will go home with a bag of house-made cotton candy. Reservations are required and may be made by calling the shop between noon and 10 p.m. at (303) 960-6656.
 

Luckyleo dances into STEAM on the Platte

Custom ballerina garment company Luckyleo Dancewear is the latest company to sign a lease at STEAM on the Platte, a former warehouse that Urban Ventures and White Construction Group converted into office space in Denver’s Sun Valley neighborhood.

Luckyleo will occupy 3,253 square feet of space on the first level of STEAM, which is a short walk to two light-rail stations at Decatur-Federal and West Auraria and has easy access to Interstate 25 and Interstate 70.

“STEAM’s central location is a huge benefit for us, allowing us to reach fantastic employees within the radius of downtown and grow our business with the central Denver community in mind,” said Heather Walker, one of the company’s co-founders. “The Platte access and bike routes are ideal for us. We are so thankful to have found our company’s new home at STEAM in this period of growth.

Luckyleo joins rideshare company Lyft, technology consulting company NIMBL and Ohlson Lavoie Collborative + Davis Wince, LTD. Architecture as tenants at STEAM on the Platte. Girls Inc. of Metro Denver operates the Bold Beans coffee shop.

“Luckyleo is the perfect fit for our mix of entrepreneurial tenants,” Urban Ventures President Susan Powers said. “We’re delighted that the owners will be able to take their company to the next level at STEAM on the Platte.”

Walker, her sister Chelsea Early, both former professional ballerinas, and their mother, Karen Saari, founded the company in 2014 on the belief that each dancer is unique and deserves dance wear that is as distinct as they are. Every garment is entirely handmade in-house, a rarity in the industry. All of their prints and products are designed by Walker and Early and are exclusive to the Luckyleo brand.

The company, which has six employees, ships their handmade garments to individual buyers in more than 40 countries via its online platform. With their move to STEAM, they are anticipating expanding their wholesale business, which has garnered interest from the Chinese, Japanese and South Korean markets. The move to STEAM will enable Luckyleo to accommodate the expansion into Asia and double its number of employees.


“The move to STEAM has been a huge boon in projecting our company’s professional image,” Saari said. “What a perfect place for a growing, thriving business to build an enterprise in central Denver. By surrounding our continued growth with like-minded tenants who work alongside each other with mutual respect and a positive approach to business, STEAM is a daily shot in the arm for our entire company.”

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.

“We’re excited to be joining the community at STEAM,” Early said. “The history and dynamic of such an amazing space fits our business perfectly and provides a happy and energetic atmosphere where our growing design company can flourish.”
 

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.
 

Denver condo market finally heating up; 40-unit project to break ground in LoHi

Bristlecone Construction will break ground May 30 on The Edge, a 40-unit condominium building at 1735 Central St. in Denver’s Lower Highland neighborhood.

The building, which will be constructed of steel and concrete, will have a dog spa, storage units, bike storage and repair room, a lobby lounge with a fireplace and coffee bar and two levels of secured parking with dedicated parking spaces.

"We're seeing what happens when you introduce a terrific new development in one of the best neighborhoods in the city and then allow people to select their home and lock in their price for as little as 5 percent down," says Stan Kniss, managing broker of  Slate Real Estate Advisors, which is listing the condos. "In just a few short weeks, we're already roughly 30 percent sold out."

The steel and concrete construction allows for higher 9-foot ceilings and 8-foot doors. It also provides superior sound protection compared with a wood-frame building. The concrete regulates heating and cooling for greater energy efficiency and prevents mold and termite issues, meaning fewer chemicals are needed in construction.

The living rooms in the units, which range in price from the low $400,000s to $1.75 million, have wide-plank oak flooring; built-in gas fireplaces; and unobstructed views of the Denver skyline through 8-foot acoustically engineered windows. Kitchens have Bosch stainless steel appliance packages that include French door refrigerators, freezers, gas ranges, dishwashers and built-in microwaves; solid quartz countertops; porcelain backsplashes; and solid-core shaker-style cabinets. The bathrooms have frameless glass shower enclosures; quartz vanity countertops; and large-format porcelain tile floors.

All units have private outdoor balconies or patios. 

 

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.
 

CRUSH WALLS returns to RiNo

Artists who want to participate in CRUSH WALLS — the largest urban art events in Colorado — have until June 15 to get their applications in.

Artists may apply as individuals or as a group. They must be Colorado residents or partnered with a resident to participate.

CRUSH WALLS, which showcases local and international talent, brings art out of the galleries and onto the streets. Last year, artists created more than 80 public art murals throughout the River North Art District.

Rooted in the “where art is made” ethos of the RiNo Art District, the Denver festival has been both a planform for creative expression and a catalyst for collective gatherings. Each edition has increased the festival’s power, attracting actors from the global artistic community and drawing locals and visitors alike to the expanding urban art movement. The goal of CRUSH WALLS is to support and engage the community through access, engagement and education through arts and culture.

All artists who want to participate in CRUSH WALLS must submit an application to participate. Emails and phone calls will not be accepted.

The online application will be open through 5 p.m. June 15. A committee comprised of local artists and community leaders will score the applications and make recommendations to the CRUSH WALLS 2018 event producers, who will make final recommendations on artist participation and placement. The artist lineup will be announced no later than July 10.


 

Renovated Renaissance unveiled at Stapleton

The Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel unveiled the $15 million renovation last week at the Grand Re-Imagined Event.

The project included all 400 guest rooms; 40,000 square feet of meeting spaces, including the ballroom; lobby and public spaces; and a new restaurant concept called Fifty300, featuring American regional cuisine with an Italian influence.

“After much anticipation, we are thrilled to reveal the hotel’s reimagined look to both Denver and visiting guests,” says Brian Lenfestey, the hotel’s area general manager. “Offering the same high-quality service that Renaissance is known for, this renovation elevates the guest experience and gives us an edge in an ever-evolving city.”

Built in 1986 adjacent to Stapleton Airport, the Renaissance Stapleton Hotel began its life as a Stouffer Hotel intended to serve travelers to and from Denver. In 1993, the hotel was rebranded as a Renaissance, and in 1995, Denver retired the Stapleton Airport and unveiled Denver International Airport 20 miles to the northeast. In 1997, Marriott purchased the Renaissance brand.

With the renovation overseen by SANDdesign, Renaissance Denver Stapleton Hotel has been updated with a classic and subdued color scheme dominated by blue-gray tones and accented with mild earth tones and pops of orange. A sleek, modern design with strong geometric shapes compliments the architecture features of the hotels’ exterior.

The guest rooms were simplified and modernized with a white, silver and brown color scheme and now boast plush new beds and comforters, 50-inch Smart TVs mounted on a cushioned silver panel, silver geometric lamps and gray geometric carpet.

The meeting spaces have been revamped with new lighting fixtures, wall coverings, grayscale geometric carpet and top-of-the-line AV/TVs.

The menu at Fifty300 restaurant, which has a rustic feel reminiscent of a high-end ski resort cafe complete with pseudo ski-lift booths, is designed by Executive Chef Charles Fulton features items such as Duck Confit Egg Roll, Tuna Poke, Sesame Tuna Nicoise and Colorado Rack of Lamb.
 

Hilltop to get new senior living community

Focus Property Group and Ascent Living Communities are teaming up to bring a senior living community to Denver’s Hilltop neighborhood.

The project, which is yet to be named, will offer urban-style living on a 4.4-acre site at the corner of Hilly Street and Leetsdale Drive.

The property will have more than 200 apartments on three levels plus an underground garage. The apartments will be a mix of independent living apartments, assisted living suites and memory-care suites. The three floors of residences will be organized around three internal courtyards, and the building will be positioned along Leetsdale Drive. The courtyards will create a variety of activity choices and experiences, each with a unique set of amenities. A two-level courtyard will provide opportunities for strolls among rock formations and water features; and a more formally manicured courtyard will be equipped with lawn games and an amphitheater.

Residents also will have access to multiple recreational facilities, including a fitness and yoga center and a full aquatics center housing a lap pool, therapy pool, spa and a reverse-current resistance walking pool. Varied restaurant options also will be available, with a bistro offering chef-driven cuisine and al fresco dining with scenic views.

“It was important that this new community reflect the urban amenities and refined architecture that are characteristic of Hilltop,” says Josh Fine, executive vice president of Focus Property Group. “I live a few blocks away and our family has deep roots in the neighborhood, so we want this project to reflect all that is great about living in the area.”

Construction is expected to start in the first quarter of 2019, with initial move-ins planned for summer 2020. Hord Coplan Macht is designing the project.

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.
 
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