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Re-inventing the playground: Ground broken on Re-Imagine Play at Paco Sanchez Park

PCL Construction has broken ground on Denver Parks and Recreation’s Re-Imagine Play at Paco Sanchez Park. 

Re-Imagine Play is an innovative concept that goes beyond the traditional playground. It’s intended to be a multi-generational activity and play area that gives park users of all ages the opportunity to remain active and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

The $9 million project could include a Ninja Warrior-style obstacle course, new athletic fields and a walking loop dotted with play pods. The play equipment is designed to encourage interactive play so parents can play with their children. Structures will be large enough that kds and adults can fit in them.

The playground will be themed around music because Paco Sanchez, the namesake of the park, was a musician whose Spanish-language radio station was a central part of they city's Latino communities in post-war Denver.

Located at West 13th Avenue and Knox Court, Paco Sanchez Park was selected  because its playground equipment is in need of repair or replacement; it’s large enough for a big play area in a part of the city that’s underserved when it comes to open space; the location is accessible through multi-modal transit options; it’s near an existing recreation center; and it’s in a part of the city where childhood obesity is a growing issue.

Study will evaluate minority- and women-owned business program

The Denver Office of Economic Development (OED) is launching a disparity study to guide future implementation of minority- and women-owned business programs in Denver. 

The study will measure whether minority- and women-owned contractors are being underutilized in city business, thereby providing a basis for the continuation of Denver’s Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise program and related federal programs.

OED has retained BBC Research & Consulting to conduct the study to help evaluate the effectiveness of the local MWBE program and two federal programs: The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program and the Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program. The study will examine the city’s procurement services and products, the subcontracting participation of contractors/service providers who do business with the city and anecdotal evidence collected from a cross-section of the local business community.

“With significant public investment projects on the horizon, and by staying true to our Denver values, this city will show how economic prosperity can bring everyone along,” says Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. “We’re looking forward to taking a thorough, objective look at our inclusivity programs in order to bolster our approach and further level the playing field for Denver’s minority contracting community.”

To help inform the study, a series of public hearings will be held this fall: 
 
  • Oct. 3, 11:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m., Eisenhower Recreation Center, 4300 E. Dartmouth Ave.
  • Oct. 5, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St.
  • Oct. 11, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Denver Police Station-District One, 1311 W. 46th Ave.
  • Oct. 13, 9-11 a.m., Denver International Airport (tentative)

Comments and information can also be submitted to denverdisparitystudy@bbcresearch.com. For more information visit denvergove.org/dsbo.
 

Scary business: 13th Floor haunted house relocates to larger space

The 13th Floor haunted house will open its doors in a new location for the season in a new location at 3400 E. 52nd Ave. 

The new space, just a mile from the haunted house’s previous location, is 10,000 square feet larger with improved parking and a larger waiting area.

“We are thrilled to move 13th Floor into our new location and take the haunted house experience to the next level,” says Chris Stafford, partner at Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group. “The layout and added space creates a more convenient flow of visitors. As far as choosing a new location, it was important to us that we stay in Denver and support the growth of the city.”

Opening for its 16th season on Sept. 22, 13th Floor is one of two haunted houses brought to the Mile High City by Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group, the nation’s biggest independent haunted house operator. The new location is easily accessible from Interstate 70 and Vasquez Boulevard in the rapidly expanding area of Denver just one block from the National Western Complex. The Asylum will also open on Sept. 22 in its current location at 6200 E. 39th Ave. 

13th Floor is debuting all new attractions and characters at its new location in 2017. With the expansion comes additional parking an more scares. The new attractions and ticket information for 13th Floor and The Asylum will be announced later this month.

Floyd's shows off its hipness in new video

Floyd’s 99 Barbershop is launching a new marketing campaign that blends music and style together in a video that brings life to the unique atmosphere inside the shops.

“The 99 Experience” video, featured on YouTube, showcases the diverse styles and personalities of the staff, the Floyd’s signature rock ’n’ roll poster wall plastered with music memorabilia and the custom radio station specially curated for the shop. 

“The minute you walk into one of our shops, you understand exactly what Floyd’s 99 is all about,” says co-owner Rob O’Brien. “It’s more than a haircut; it’s an experience. It’s difficult to articulate such a unique experience, so we wanted to create something to show it.”

The video features an exclusively created party version of the new single “Ghost Got Loose” from up-and-coming fold-rock artist Rocko Wheeler. Floyd’s 99 will be running a social media promotion through Facebook and Instagram encouraging people to engage with the video and share the Floyd’s 99 experience by tagging a friend in the post for a chance for both of you to win free haircuts for a year. 

“We are a the original rock ’n’ roll barbershop and music is in our blood,” O’Brien says. “It was a natural fit to bring our love of music and dedication to providing amazing service together into a brand video to demonstrate what we are all about for someone who many not have had a chance yet to visit one of our shops.”
 

E-commerce jewlery retailer goes brick-and-mortar in Cherry Creek

Cherry Creek shoppers now have a new jewelry store to browse.

Brilliant Earth, a leader in ethically sourced bridal and fine jewelry has opened a showroom at 100 Fillmore St., Suite 300. 

Brilliant Earth first emerged as an e-commerce leader with an innovative strategy rooted in ethical sourcing, personalized service, strong social media presence and an omni-channel experience that has struck a chord with millennial consumers. The company has experienced significant growth, and Denver marks the next phase of expansion for the “clicks to bricks” retailer, joining showrooms in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, San Diego and Washington, D.C.

The showroom provides a tranquil setting to explore collections of handcrafted diamond engagement rings, wedding rings, fine jewelry and vintage pieces. The company’s diamonds and gemstones go beyond the usual industry standard and originate from mines that follow strict labor and environmental syandards. In addition to fair sourcing practices, Brilliant Earth is committed to initiating change in the jewelry industry, donating 5 percent of profits to help communities impacted by the jewelry trade build a brighter future. 

The showroom is open by appointment from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Affordable housing news: Proposals sought for Five Points condo project

A new mixed-income condo project is planned for Five Points. 

The Denver Office of Economic Development and the Regional Transportation District are seeking a development partner to build a transit-oriented, mixed-income condo project on an RTD-owned parcel at the northern corner of 29th and Welton streets. A request for qualifications (RFQ) will be issued beginning Aug. 15.

A portion of the condos will be priced to be affordable for income-qualified buyers earning 80 percent of the area median income (AMI), which is $47,000 for a one-person household or $67,100 for a four-person household. the development also may include commercial space such as retail on its ground floor. 

OED has entered into an option agreement with RTD for the purchase of the site, which it intends to assign to the selected development team. The .43-acre site is located within the Five Points Historic Cultural District and the Welton Corridor Urban Redevelopment Area. The site’s zoning allows for construction of a five-story, mixed-use building. 

A pre-bid meeting will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, 2401 Welton St. The deadline to submit RFQ entries is Oct. 17.

 

Four artists selected for SkyHouse installations

The Denver Art Museum and SkyHouse Denver are teaming up to transform a downtown corner into an urban art gallery featuring the work of four local artists over the course of a year. 

After completing a request for proposals process, the DAM, in consultation with RedLine, selected four Denver-based artists — Sandra Fettingis, Collin Parson, Jodi Stuart and Suchitra Mattai — to create installations that will be on view in the street-level window boxes along 18th Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard at SkyHouse Denver, a high-rise apartment building at 1776 Broadway. Fettingis and Parson’s installations were mounted in June and will be on view through October. Stuart and Mattai will take over the space in December and occupy it for six months.

“This collaboration activates our building in a unique and engaging way, while giving the museum and Denver-based artists and opportunity to reach more people,” says Sharon O’Connell, senior regional vice president of Simpson Housing, which developed and manages SkyHouse. “One of the reasons we chose this site in particular was the proximity to many of downtown Denver’s key attractions, including the Denver Art Museum. Our residents want to live, work and play in unique urban environments. This partnership is a perfect fit.”

SkyHouse Denver opened in September last year. the 26-story, 354-unit mixed-use building offers studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as street-level retail space that currently includes Superfruit Republic and MECHA Fitness.

Zen Compound to open in old City Hall event space

One of San Francisco’s hottest concepts is coming to Denver. 

This fall, San Francisco artist-DJ-entrepreneur Paul Hemming will open his second Zen Compound, a groundbreaking facility that combines four distinct but related concepts into a single space: ECO-SYSTM, a co-working space for creative professionals, startups and freelancers; Mirus, a gallery championing new movements in contemporary art; Hive, a unique coffee and cocktail bar and restaurant; and Temple Nightclub, an innovative club known for its programming, production feats and legendary hospitality. 

“We see Denver as a sister city to San Francisco in many ways,” Hemming says. “The Mile High City is a major metropolitan hub and has an eclectic confluence of technology, music, art, entertainment and nightlife. It’s an exploding market with refined tastes, an entrepreneurial spirit and drive. Denver has a highly affluent market with appreciation for creativity and attention to detail.”

Located in the old City Hall Event Venue at 1136 N. Broadway, the 20,000-square-foot, three-story Zen Compound will open in stages, with Temple Nightclub as the first concept to go live this fall. All three remaining concepts are expected to be up and running by 2018.

The compound will bring 100 new jobs to Denver, including 80 in the nightclub.

Perry Row at Sloans model opens

Perry Row at Sloans is opening its model home this month and welcoming its first homeowners to the community. 

The model, located at 1569 N. Perry St., provides all the features and amenities found in the Perry Row at Sloans homes.

The three-bedroom home features an open floor plan, custom kitchen and baths by Caruso Kitchens of Denver, outdoor living spaces on all three floors, including a 700-square-foot rooftop patio with views of the mountains, downtown skyline and Sloans Lake Park, and a ground-floor mud room and private library.

More than half of the homes at Perry Row have already sold. The final phase of 16 homes will be released later this summer.

Prices for Perry Row townhomes, located in the Sloans district at the former St. Anthony Hospital site, range from the low $500,000s to more than $800,000. The floor plans range in size from about 1,400 to 2,200 square feet. Designed and built by Sprocket Design-Build, the residences will feature two-car garages, rooftop decks and a brownstone-style architecture.

The project is a block south of Sloans Lake Park, featuring a three-mile jogging trail, the city’s largest lake with a marina and water sport activities and plentiful open space.

Nominations for Mayor's arts awards being accepted

Nominations for the 2017 Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in Arts & Culture are being accepted through Sept. 1. 

The awards recognize the people and organizations that make significant and lasting contributions to the artistic, cultural, and creative landscape in the City and County of Denver. The awards will be announced in November.

Categories for the awards include: 
 
  • Arts & Culture Youth Award: Presented to a person younger than 18 who has made a noteworthy difference in the community through the arts, or an organization that has significantly impacted the lives of youth in the City and County of Denver through the arts.
  • Arts & Culture Impact Award: Presented to a person or organization that has made a significant and lasting impact on arts and culture in the City and County of Denver. the category requires that the nominee have at least 10 years of history in the arts in the city. 
  • Arts & Culture Innovation Award: Presented to the person or organization that is breaking new ground in the arts and whose contribution to innovation in the arts has been significant in 2017.
  • Arts & Culture Global Award: Presented to a person or organization that has brought Denver’s arts and culture to the national or world stage. Nominees for this category have received national or international recognition through collaboration, media coverage or grant dollars received.
  • IMAGINE 2020: Presented to a person or organization that exemplifies the vision and goals of Denver’s cultural plan through their programs and initiatives, setting an example for others to aspire to as we IMAGINE 2020.

Visit the Denver Arts & Venues website to submit nominations.

New tenants announced for Dairy Block

Denver’s cool, new Dairy Block has revealed a lineup of tenants that will help to create a unique experience in LoDo.

Developed by McWhinney, Sage Hospitality and Grand American Inc., Dairy Block is a mixed-use redevelopment of the LoDo block that once housed Denver’s Windsor Dairy. The soul of Dairy Block will be The Alley — a lively micro-district and experience that will run from 18th and 19th between Blake and Wazee streets.

Scheduled to open later this year, the first retail tenants include:

    •    Huckleberry Roasters — a coffee and retail market that will open in the lobby.
    •    The Perfect Petal — Denver’s popular Highland Square flower and gift shop is expanding with a second LoDo location inside the lobby.
    •    Roost — A modern retail space by the founder of the popular Denver Flea marketplace opening onto The Alley, featuring a curated collection of emerging makers and brands from Colorado and across the country.
    •    Seven Grand — the first Colorado outpost of the popular whiskey bar located off of The Alley will poura comprehensive selection of premium whiskeys and crafted cocktails, while also featuring live music and pool tables.

Also now open at Dairy Block is The Maven Hotel, an independent, modern hotel with 172 industrial-chic guest rooms and an energetic lobby managed by Sage Hospitality, along with Kachina Southwestern Grill and Poka Lola Social Club.

Interactive artwork unveiled at Levitt Pavilion

The latest addition to the city of Denver’s public art collection was dedicated July 20 as part of the grand opening celebration for the newly built Levitt Pavilion Denver at Ruby Hill Park.

“Sky Song” by Colorado artists Nick Geurts and Ryan Elmendorf is a two-part interactive sculpture that blends light and sound through interaction with the viewer and even the sky above. 

Comprised of mirror-polished stainless steel, “Sky Song” invites viewers to create music by pressing any combination of 33 buttons on an eight-foot-tall sculpture on the plaza. The kiosk is linked to its companion piece 30 feet away on the building’s facade. During concerts at Levitt Pavilion, the interactive function transitions from sound to light. With 25 lights and bells, “Sky Song” is an engaging public artwork.

The Levitt Pavilion is programmed, managed and supported by Friends of Levitt Paviolion Denver, a local nonprofit dedicated to building community through music. 

Upcoming concerts include:
  • July 23: The Stone Foxes
  • Aug. 3: The Suffers
  • Aug. 4: John Fulbright
  • Aug. 5: The Reminders co-headline with Fed Rez
  • Aug. 6: Rocky Dawuni with the Bunny Gang
  • Aug. 9: Hippo Campus with Slow Caves and Corsicana
  • Aug. 10: The Dustbowl Revival with Charley Crockett
  • Aug. 13: The Band of Heathens with Blake Brown & The American Dust Choir
  • Aug. 17 The Haunted Windchimes and Edison
  • Aug. 18: My Body Sings Electric and Chemistry Club
  • Aug. 19: Smooth Hound Smith with Anthony Ruptak & The Midnight Friends
  • Aug. 24: Gaby Moreno
  • Aug. 25: Mariachi Sol de Mi Tierra with Fiesta Colorado Dance Company
  • Aug. 26: Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
  • Aug. 27: New Breed Brass Band with Denver Municipal Band
  • Aug. 30: Ripe with Chris Daniels & the Kings with Freddi Gowdy
  • Aug. 31: Inspector with Izcalli
The public is invited to bring their picnic blankets and lawn chairs to the free concerts. There also will be a handful of ticketed shows featuring artists like UB40 and 311.

Affordable housing opens in Hale neighborhood

Denver’s progress in addressing affordable housing challenges reached a milestone with the opening of the Ash Street Apartments in the Hale neighborhood. 

In addition to adding 112 income-restricted apartments for low- and moderate-income households, the opening marks the completion, one year early, of Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s “3x5” initiative of building, rehabilitating and preserving at least 3,000 affordable housing units over five years.

“Reaching our goal a year ahead of schedule is a phenomenal achievement, and I couldn’t be prouder of how this city marshaled our collective resources to deliver more affordable options for our people,” Hancock says. “The opening of Ash Street Apartments is a major milestone, and we’re going to continue to pull on every lever we can to offer more affordable options for our residents.”

Located at 1170 Ash St., the complex offers units ranging from one to three bedrooms for households earning up to 60 percent of the area median income ($35,280 for a one-person household, or $45,360 for a household of three). Developed by Koelbel and Company, Mile High Development and Longs Peak Advisors, the $24.9 million project spans an entire block within the redevelopment of the old University of Colorado Health Science Center. Amenities of the five-story building include private balconies, 92 covered parking stalls and a second-floor community garden deck.

Public finance partners include the Denver Office of Economic Development, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority and the Colorado Division of Housing.

Ubergrippen climbing gym opens in northeast Denver

The Ubergrippen Indoor Climbing Crag has opened at 8610 E. 21st. Ave.

The 20,733-square-foot building, designed by OLC Architecture, features 16,000 square feet of indoor climbing surfaces and 40-foot-tall climbing walls designed at build by Vertical Solutions. There’s also a 3,000-square-foot fitness area with cardiovascular and strength-training equipment. 

Ubergrippen was created by 10-year Stapleton residents Jake and Kim Crine, who quit their full-time jobs to take on the venture.

The pre-engineered metal building was provided by Varco Pruden Buildings and installed by Lefever Building Systems. The project also includes the development of 73 parking spaces, bicycle and skateboarding racks and an outdoor bouldering rock. 

Built by White Construction Group, the building is designed as a place for the surrounding community to gather for youth programs, exercise and yoga classes, and a retail space. 

Ubergrippen offers daily and monthly memberships.

Sprouts to open in Stapleton, adding a needed grocery store to a growing neighborhood

Sprouts Farmer’s Market is taking root at Stapleton’s Central Park Station on the University of Colorado A Line that links Union Station to Denver International Airport.

The 30,000-square-foot store, being developed by D.H. Friedman Properties LLC, is projected to open in fall 2018 in the 3500 block of Central Park Boulevard, just one block from the train station. The Sprouts store will be located on the block immediately south of the transit-oriented development recently announced by Forest City Stapleton Inc., master developer of the Stapleton community.

“Sprouts will be a great addition to Forest City’s visionary plans for Central Park Station further solidifying its position as an exciting new alternative to downtown, both for urban-type residential and commercial opportunities,” says David Friedman of D.H. Friedman.

Friedman also is developing about 110 mixed-income condominiums and 12,000 square feet of additional retail space in the surrounding block, bordered on the north by 36th Avenue and on the west by Uinta Street. 

Denver City Councilman Chris Herndon called the Sprouts store one of the “key building blocks” that will lead to the successful development of one of Denver’s largest transit-oriented developments.

“When we think of TOD, we want it to include a mix of amenities folks want and need to access in their daily lives,” Herndon says. “The addition of Sprouts in this location is a benefit to people utilizing the A Line, as well as to neighborhood residents.”
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