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RiNo mural encourages unity

A new mural recently installed in the RiNo Art District is designed to encourage people to reflect on our similarities, instead of our differences.

Internationally renowned mural artist Kelsey Montague created #WhatUnitesUs on the corner of 26th and Larimer streets to create an interactive dialogue about unity and the shared human experience through art. The RiNo Art District plans to expand on the mural and campaign in the coming months to engage the diverse communities of Denver in further conversation, programs and projects to better connect with and support them.

"Our country and city are feeling the stress of dividing forces now more than ever," says Jaimie Licko, president of the RiNo Art District. "It is our home that this project ignites a conversation within RiNo and across Denver about meaningful ways we can work together, support each other and raise each other up. RiNo is currently benefitting from strong economic growth, and we feel it is our duty and responsibility to ensure that the diverse communities that surround us are not isolated from that but instead are part of it."

Montague previously gained notoriety for her mural series #WhatLiftsYou, a mural project that encouraged people to snap photos in front of a set of muraled wings and share them online, providing everyone the opportunity to share more about what inspires them in life. 

"Kelsey is a major player in the mural scene," says Tracy Weil, co-founder and creative director of the RiNo Art District. "We are so excited to welcome her back to her hometown to create such an impactful piece. We are committed to utilizing our platform as an art district to advocate for social impact through art."

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Edgy arcade opens at Pavilions

An edgy arcade just opened next to Lucky Strike in the Denver Pavilions on the 16th Street Mall.

FTW  (For The Win), interconnected with the existing Lucky Strike, is about 15,000 square feet and features more than 100 arcade games ranging from classics such as Skeeball and pinball to the modern and highly popular games Showdown and Outrun Super Deluxe. There's also the World's Largest Pac-Man, four-person air hockey and a photo booth that uploads pictures directly to  social media accounts.

"My wife and I like to create places that people can go and have something to do other than just eat and drink," says Steven Foster, CEO of Lucky Strike Entertainment, which operates both venues.

The arcade's high-tech swiping system lets you track balances and winnings, giving gamers the freedom to come and go at any time without having to cash out or take home tokens or tickets. An 850-square-foot retail store dubbed The Payoff has more than 250 prizes, including boardgames, XBOXes, Surface Pros and the Apple Watches.

Denver is Lucky Strike Entertainment's third FTW venue nationally. 

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Car wash project earns Baratta CREW award

Entrepreneur Emilie Baratta has received CREW Denver's Step Up award, an honor recognizing her entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to the environment and efforts to make a difference with her real estate projects.

Gleam Car Wash at West 38th Avenue and Wolff Street is the latest project for Baratta, founding principal of Turnbuckle Development. Gleam is the greenest car wash in Colorado thanks to state-of-the-art water recycling programs and other energy efficiency investments, as well as a commitment to biodegradable chemicals. 

Gleam also practices socially aware employment strategies, seeking to hire cognitively impaired people and recent non-English-speaking refugees for up to 50 percent of its staff, giving them career development opportunities and not just a transient job.

"Emilie embodies everything the Step Up awards stand for," says Kim Duty, the 2017 president of CREW Denver. "As founding principal of her own real estate development firm, she's a role model to other women in commercial real estate. She's also making a real difference in the community by investing in the lives of her employees and our environment."

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Hotel Indigo opening near Union Station

Denver's newest hotel will open its doors Jan. 20 at 1801 Wewatta St. in the thriving Union Station neighborhood.

Hotel Indigo Denver will offer 180 guestrooms and 1,388 square feet of meeting and event space, which can accommodate up to 200 people in a variety of layouts. These include the Hickenlooper Boardroom, as well as the Green Room and the Russell Room, which can be combined into a larger Green Russell room. All are equipped with the latest amenities, including high-speed wireless Internet access and digital projectors.

"The Hotel Indigo Denver is a perfect complement to our growing portfolio of third-party managed hotels in top urban markets with high barriers to new entry," says Robert Cole, president and CEO of Hospitality Ventures Management Group, an Atlanta-based, private hotel ownership and management company. 

The LEED-certified hotel, part of InterContinental Hotels Group, was co-developed by Portman Holdings and Hensel Phelps.

Rooms feature hardwood floors; polished concrete ceilings; interior sliding barn doors; oversized beds with throw pillows and a plush duvet; spa-inspired showers with complimentary Aveda products; and murals depicting Denver, the Rocky Mountains and Colorado's Front Range. A complimentary 24-hour fitness studio is equipped with Lifestyle cardiovascular machines, free weights, televisions, showers and locker rooms.

The hotel is pet-friendly and will offer treats, canine cocktail hours and dog-walking services to guests' furry friends, who will receive a warm welcome from the hotel's resident dog ambassador, Barkly.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

New Discover Denver website encourages public participation

Discover Denver, a project to identify historic and architecturally significant structures across the city, has launched a new website that invites the public to share stories about Denver's buildings.

The website offers an interactive map that lets users post stories and background about specific buildings, including photos and documents. The map will feature photos and histories of some of the buildings Discover Denver has surveyed, along with stories users have shared. The site's Discoveries section features findings and reports compiled from past survey areas, including Mid-Century Modern buildings in Harvey Park, prewar residences in Park Hill and Berkeley and streetcar commercial districts in Globeville and Cole.

"We invite anyone with a story to tell to share it at DiscoverDenver.co," says Annie Levinsky, executive director of Historic Denver. "Maybe a building was owned by your family for generations or was an important gathering place for your community. We want to capture and catalog its role in Denver's history, no matter how big or small."

Denver joins other cities, including Los Angeles, Phoenix and Tulsa, that are conducting building surveys. The benefits of building surveys include uncovering buildings of historic and architectural significance; providing property owners and real estate agents up-front information about buildings to inform reinvestment and sale decisions; equipping city planners with information about historic resources when creating neighborhood plans; bolstering civic pride and heritage tourism.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Final phase of Sugar Block underway

Jordy Construction has broken ground on SugarSquare, a four-story, 10,800-square-foot building at 1530 16th St. in Lower Downtown.

Designed by Semple Brown Design, the building, under construction between the historic Sugar Building and Spice Building, is the final component of the three-building Sugar Block project started by Urban Villages in 2003. It will feature an exterior facade of glass and blackened stainless steel with a green roof and amenities deck on top. Each floor also will be connected to the Sugar Building. 

"We are committed to maintaining the integrity of the area and delivering the project in a way that supports our client's needs," says Sean Wardroup, president of Jordy Construction. 

Urban Villages refurbished the historic Sugar Building at 1530 16th Street in 2008. An additional two floors were added to the top of the original four-story tan-brick structure building in 1912, bringing the building to its current six-story height with 64,000 square feet of space. Urban Villages also opened the SugarCube office and apartment building in 2008, leasing five of the building's 37 high-end apartments within the first two months.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Ritz lobby, meeting space gets new look

The Ritz-Carlton, Denver started renovating its lobby and more than 13,000 square feet of meeting and event space on the hotel's Plaza Level this month.

The overhaul, expected to be completed in mid-March, includes a new lobby lounge with a cozy area for guests to sit and relax, new lighting, upholstery, wall coverings, modern furniture and other Colorado-inspired decor. Two ballrooms, six meeting rooms, the grand staircase and all pre-function corridors, all of which will display artwork from local artists, also are being refreshed.

The renovations come just two years after the 9-year-old hotel updated its 202 guestrooms and suites with a similar color palette of blues and neutral, creamy tones. Last year, the Ritz renovated its award-winning spa, which included adding a 2,229-square-foot fitness center, new salon and updated reception area.

"We are really excited to be in the final phase of our three-year, $12 million renovation project," says Grant Dipman, the hotel's general manager. "The redesigned lobby and meeting spaces will capture the beauty and unique feel of Colorado with contemporary design providing our guests with a true  sense of place."

BLD (Bilkey Llinas Design), located in Hong Kong and Palm Beach, Florida, designed the project drawing from Denver's adventurous spirit and contemporary architecture with a blend of clean urban details complemented by images often seen in nature. A color palette of neutral, champagne-silver tones are enhanced with contrasting hues of deep blue, purple, soft gold and white.

The Ritz-Carlton, Denver is a six-time recipient of the AAA Five-Diamond award and is ranked Four-Stars by Forbes Travel Guide. 

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

re:Denver forum to explore demolition, adaptive reuse

The next installment of the re:Denver Forum series will explore demolition, density and adaptive reuse as it gives attendees a sneak peek into the space that the Bigsby's Folly Craft Winery will occupy when it opens this spring in an 1886 warehouse at 3563 Wazee St. in RiNo.

The Jan. 17 forum "Old Buildings, New Tools" will feature speakers Brandon Spencer-Hartle, senior city planner at the Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability, and Tom Mayes, vice president and senior counsel at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. They will discuss different approaches to the challenges demolition presents to neighborhoods. 

Spencer-Hartle will address Portland's recently adopted Deconstruction Ordinance and other approaches that foster both density and preservation. Mayes will explore the opportunities presented by innovative adaptive reuse ordinances, as well as ways to shift thinking about demolition to recognize not only preservation concerns but also environmental and social issues. 

The re:Denver forums always include interactive activities to gather the thoughts and perspective of participants, a presentation from the guest speakers and a robust question and answer session. Historic Denver hosts the forums every other month at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday. Locations and topics vary. 

Doors for the free forum open at 6:30 p.m., with the presentation beginning at 7 p.m.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Confluence tower tops out

With the recent topping out of The Confluence, the 35-story apartment tower developed by PMRG and National Real Estate Advisors is on track to open this spring.

Located at the site Denver was founded at the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, the building will feature a heated outdoor pool and hot tub on a large deck overlooking Confluence Park, cabanas with individual fire pits, master grilling stations and skyline lounges with NanaWall systems, a professional chef's kitchen and fitness center. The general contractor is Clark Construction and the architect is GDA Architects.

"The Confluence is our first venture into the Denver market, and we're very excited to contribute to the positive growth taking place in this vibrant city," says Bryant Nail, executive vice president of multi-family development for PMRG, a Houston-based real estate company that develops and acquires property in 30 markets. "We have an outstanding track record with similar properties in other parts of the country, and we're pleased to make The Confluence one of our most recent additions to our portfolio."

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Real estate veterans launch commercial brokerage

Veteran Denver commercial real estate brokers Kyle Malnati and Greg Johnson have launched Calibrate Real Estate, a new commercial brokerage firm focused on the apartment market and investment sales.

"Our focus is to serve private investors and niche investment firms with a high level of personal service, professional analysis and local market expertise," Johnson says. "Denver is receiving unprecedented national interest, and this isx creating new opportunities for investors at every level."

Before launching Calibrate, Malnati and Johnson led the commercial real estate division of Madison & Co. Properties Ltd. They have combined career sales volume of nearly $300 million, making them one of the leading apartment brokerage teams in Denver.

"We made the decision to go out on our own and launch Calibrate Real Estate to fill the brokerage gap between what residential firms can't do and what commercial firms won't do," Malnati says. 

Malnati and Johnson have served as commercial brokers for several of Denver's most established real estate companies, including Cornerstone Apartment Services, Pinnacle Real Estate Advisors, Unique Properties and Marcus & Millichap. They joined forces at Madison & Co. four years ago, where they were awarded top producer honors every year between 2012 and 2015.

"Throughout my real estate career, I've had the opportunity to experience a variety of roles from broker assistant to senior broker and now employing broker," Malnati says. "The timing felt right to begin my next venture in real estate."

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Boulder tech company to manage parking, commuter solutions at Union Station

Denver Union Station has hired a Boulder-based transportation technology company to help manage all third-party transportation at the bustling transit center. 

CommutiFi, developer of the BluCar mobile app, will manage the curbside along Wynkoop Street to improve efficiency and access for all Union Station guests.

"Denver Union Station has hired CommutiFi to redefine curbside management and usher in the latest technologies and services that are helping people get around," says Sean Timmons, vice president of asset and risk management at McWhinney, which is a member of the Union Station Alliance. "We want to be at the forefront in changing the transportation ecosystem in downtown Denver, and this partnership is a progressive first step in the right direction."

More than 14,000 people pass through Denver Union Station on the Regional Transportation District's regional bus, light-rail and commuter-rail services. Additionally, The Crawford Hotel and the property's nine restaurants and bars are busy destinations for Denver residents and travelers.

CommutiFi's software and management platform will integrate parking, ride sharing and first- and last-mile solutions for commuter. BluCar is now powering Union Station's valet services, which allows guests to experience ticketless valet parking and request vehicles back in advance. In the coming months, the CommutiFi platform will be expanded to include valet and ridesharing validations, a customized employee parking program for the building's more than 700 employees and an enterprise solution for nearby businesses. There also are plans to launch a shuttle service that will connect commuters to other parts of downtown.

"We are excited to showcase the CommutiFi platform and all of its multimodal capabilities at such highly trafficked and progressive destination," says Rich Schmelzer, CommutiFi's founder. "Union Station is the jewel of Denver, and we look forward to hosting other transit centers, campuses, business districts and mixed-use developments at this location who want to learn how to deliver a seamless, subsidized end-user experience to their customers."

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Home2 Suites by Hilton opens at DIA

Home2 Suites by Hilton has opened its newest property at Denver International Airport.

The 111-suite hotel at 6792 Tower Rd. will provide visitors convenient access to Buckley Air Force Base, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Home2 Suites also is near prominent companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, G.E., Panasonic, Amazon Fulfillment Center and the new FlightSafety School.

"Our convenient location, spacious suites and modern amenities provide an ideal choice for travelers visiting Denver," says Suzan Forston, the hotel's general manager. "Our team is excited to welcome guests seeking outdoor recreation and relaxation, as well as those traveling to the area for business with a lodging option designed to fit their needs."

Owned by DIA Tower Road LLC and managed by Baywood Hotels, Home2 Suites by Hilton offers all-suite accommodations featuring fully equipped kitchens and modular furniture allowing for guests to personalize their rooms. the hotel also features easy access to technology with complimentary wired and wireless Internet, community spaces and amenities such as Spin2 Cycle, a combined laundry and fitness area; Home2 MKT for grab-and-go items; and the Inspired Table, a complimentary breakfast that includes more than 400 potential combinations. The pet-friendly hotel also offers an indoor saline pool, fire pit and barbecue grill area.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Larimer Square opens new event venue

Looking for a cool new space to host your next event or party?  Consider Larimer Social, a modern venue that recently opened on Denver's historic Larimer Square.

With 6,800 square feet and expansive views, Larimer Social combines the charm of its Larimer Square location with a flexible space that accommodates up to 200 seated guests or 480 for a standing reception. 

High ceilings and windows provide a sunlit backdrop for daytime events. At night, the canopy of lights over Larimer Square add a glow to the second-floor space and provide a perfect backdrop for dinner and dancing.

"Transforming spaces is what Larimer Square is known for, and we're incredibly proud of what we have to offer with our latest venue: Larimer Social," says Jeff Hermanson, CEO and president of Larimer Associates. "Bringing together colleagues, peers, friends and family with great food in an iconic setting creates the kinds of memories that last a lifetime. We're grateful to the Denver community for allowing us to be stewards of this beloved block as we continue to create unique settings for people to connect in authentic ways."

Award-winning chefs provide premiere catering to the venue from the Larimer Square restaurants, including Troy Guard's TAG, Jennifer Jasinski's Bistro Vendome, Frank Bonanno's Osteria Marco and Richard Sandoval's Tamayo. 

Introductory rates for Larimer Social, located at 1427 Larimer St., range from $2,500 to $4,000.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Tile and stone distributor opens northeast Denver location

Pental Surfaces has selected Denver to open its fifth location.

The company's new facility northeast of Stapleton at 10000 E. 40th Ave. consists of a 7,000-square-foot showroom and a 73,000-square-foot warehouse that will house its products, including PentalQuartz, Lapitec and natural stone slabs, as well as porcelain, ceramic, glass and metal tile and mosaics.

"We're pleased to be opening our fifth location in Denver," says Peter Pental, the company's founder. "This is a strong market and an ideal place for our first step as we expand inland off the West Coast."

The company's Denver showroom will be open to the public six days a week. Both homeowners and industry professionals are encouraged to visit and talk to Pental's experienced and knowledgeable team about the right materials for their spaces. 

Pental Surfaces started in 1999 with just a few selections of granite slabs and has since grown into one of the largest wholesale tile and stone distributors on the West Coast. The company has facilities in Seattle; Los Angeles; Fife, Wash.; and Portland, Ore.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Winners of Mayor's Arts & Culture Awards announced

A panel made up of the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs and Denver Arts & Venues employees have selected the winners of the 2016 Mayor's Awards for Excellence in Arts & Culture.

"Denver is full of talented artists and performers filling our galleries, museums, theaters and concert halls and enhancing our daily experiences with arts and culture," Denver Mayor Michael Hancock says. "These award recipients exemplify Denver's vibrant and diverse cultural and artistic scene. Through the work of these dedicated and inspiring individuals and groups, the arts have become more accessible, visible, interactive and integrated into the lives of our residents and visitors."

 The winners are: 
  • Arts & Culture Youth Awards: Denver Public Library, After School is Cool, a five-day-a-week program that enriches the lives of underserved Denver youth at five library locations
  • Arts & Culture Impact Award: Huitzilopochtli Azteca Dance for its effort to enrich the lives of Mexican youth and their families through 50 free performances per year at schools and churches
  • Arts & Culture Innovation Award: Elisa Narizhnaya, Denver Online High School, who continually finds innovative ways to establish a sense of community for her students 
  • Arts & Culture Global Award: Denver Young Artists Orchestra for providing high-level music education and world-class opportunities for students to work with top teachers and coaches
  • IMAGINE 2020 Award: Dan Manzanares for his skill at collaborating with individuals and groups such as Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Denver VOICE, the American Museum of Western Art, Doors Open Denver and the Cherry Creek Arts Festival.
Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.
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