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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.
 

WORKNOW connects more than 200 people with jobs

Since launching in October, WORKNOW Colorado has connected more than 200 people with local construction jobs.

The recruitment, training and placement partnership, a partnership of 11 local community organizations, advocates for and works to connect men and women with high-paying jobs with growth paths in the construction industry.

“The early success of WORKNOW confirms the need for increased collaboration among families in the community, construction contractors and regional economic development projects so that the entire Denver metro community can thrive,” says Katrina Wert, director of the Center for Workforce Initiatives at Community College of Denver. “The breadth of this collaboration demonstrates a shared commitment to increasing economic stability through employment and career advancement opportunities.”

With a focus on family sustainability, WORKNOW provides individuals and families impacted by regional economic development projects the opportunity to connect through career coaching, skills development training, peer-to-peer mentoring and employment support resources. Careers include entry-level positions, apprenticeships and professional-level opportunities in both trade and office occupations.

Many of the jobs are with the inaugural project partner Colorado Department of Transportation’s (CDOT) Central 70, which includes the reconstruction of the Interstate 70 corridor from Brighton Boulevard to Chambers Road. Workforce needs for this multi-year project include craft, office and professional service positions for both experienced and new workers.

“CDOT’s Central 70 Project is one of only a handful of transportation projects nationwide piloting local hiring goals,” said Rebecca White, deputy director of external programs and outreach for Central 70. “We are incredibly fortunate to have the WORKNOW program as a partner in this work so we can deliver not just good construction jobs but training and support programs for local residents.”

Additional project partners have joined the WORKNOW platform to support strong recruitment and hiring connections in local neighborhoods, including the National Western Center.

Over the last 10 months, WORKNOW’s achievements have included:
  • 471 metro Denver residents enrolled in access to support services, industry career coaching or job training.
  • 269 enrollees completed an industry training certificate with local training partners.
  • 81 existing construction employees enrolled in WORKNOW completed upgrade training and earned a wage increase.
  • 218 enrollees secured new employment.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




 

17 of 28 cranes in Denver are for residential projects

Residential projects account for 17 of the 28 cranes dotting Denver’s skyline, according to Crane’s latest Quarterly Cost Report from Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB).

That’s a minor decline from the 29 cranes in the report’s previous count. Nationally, the number of tower cranes increased 10 percent, confirming the hot pace of urban building. Residential and mixed-use lead the activity.

“The increase in the net crane count indicates that the construction industry is prospering, despite a tight labor market and materials tariffs,” said Julian Anderson, president of RLB North America. “Our outlook for the industry through the end of the year remains positive.”

In Denver, Market Station, a $200 million complex of retail, residential and workplace buildings, is on track to revitalize the Lower Downtown neighborhood, according to RLB. The company predicts that construction in the downtown area is likely to grow as surface parking is replaced by mixed-use buildings designed to heighten the presence of retail and dining businesses in response to the increasing residential population.

CHFA creates affordable housing fund

The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) has unveiled a new statewide housing fund to support the development and preservation of affordable and rental housing across Colorado.

Funding for the new Capital Magnet Fund comes from a $7.1 million grant recently awarded to CHFA by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. CHFA will use the proceeds to provide low-interest, flexible financing for developers building or preserving affordable rental housing. CHFA estimates the fund will help provide housing for about 723 Colorado households in both rural and urban communities.

“CHFA’s Capital Magnet Fund is an imperative resource to Colorado as our growing population, combined with escalating development and construction costs, continue to intensify an already challenging housing market,” CHFA Executive Director and CEO Chris White said.

The Capital Magnet Fund is designed to encourage affordable rental housing development and preservation that supports Colorado’s most vulnerable populations and communities. It will provide subordinate financing — up to $750,000 per eligible project — at a 3 percent fixed interest rate to developments that have been awarded federal housing credits.

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.

RiNo Made to celebrate Warhol's 90th birthday

RiNo Made is celebrating renowned artist Andy Warhol’s 90th birthday with commemorative art, events and collaborations.

Each month, the RiNo Made store inside Zeppelin Station features an artist from the RiNo Art District. In August, RiNo Made is presenting a group show inspired by Warhol’s works. The show opens for First Friday, Aug. 3.

In addition to the new selection of art, RiNo Made also will debut its latest collaboration with Gelato Boy on its newest ice cream flavor, Candy Warhol. Guests will be able to sample the creation and see the winner of the artist competition to design the Warhol-inspired gelato container at the opening reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Aug. 4.

The celebration continues with RiNo Made and the Denver Public Library throwing a birthday party the night before Warhol’s actual birthday during Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. At the free event from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 5 at RiNo Made, Dr. Sketchy’s will have a model dressed as Warhol for artists to sketch. Birthday cake will be served between sessions.

 

NAVA to develop condos in Uptown neighborhood

NAVA Real Estate Development has unveiled plans for a new condominium development in Denver’s Uptown neighborhood.

The 12-story building at 575 East 20th Ave. will have 249 units. NAVA purchased the 1.06-acre site for $7.1M from the Denver Housing Authority.

“Our building will provide excellent access to downtown, the light rail, employment and entertainment, as well as the many wonderful restaurants in the neighborhood,” NAVA co-founder and President Brian Levitt said. “It is also being designed to achieve WELL Building Certification through the International WELL Building Institute. We are designing the community to be one of America’s healthiest residential projects.”

The building, designed by Davis Partnership Architects, will offer studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans. Davis is focused on producing welcoming spaces that evoke a natural Colorado setting. Parking will be available for every residence. Sales are tentatively scheduled to begin in spring 2020.

The project is NAVA’s second residential development in Denver. The firm is currently developing Lakehouse, a 196-unit mixed-use community on the south shore of Sloan’s Lake. Like the Uptown site, Lakehouse is being designed to pilot and pursue WELL Building Certification. The international standard is the first to integrate health and wellness into the design, construction and operations of buildings to optimize the health of their residents and guests. Wellness features include the maximization of natural light, improved air quality, organic gardens and an array of fitness amenities to encourage residents to stay fit and engage with one another.

“We were drawn to the site as it offers true neighborhood living in an urban setting with great walkability,” NAVA co-founder Trevor Hines said. “There is a real lack of high-rise ownership opportunities in the neighborhood, and we hope to fill that gap by offering new condominiums with iconic architecture, high-quality finishes and a focus on health and wellness, woven into the design at every level.”




 

Affordable senior housing set for City Park West

The former nurses’ dormitory on the St. Joseph Hospital campus in Denver’s City Park West neighborhood is being converted into affordable independent senior housing.

The Neenan Co. has started work on renovating the historic Tammen Hall into 49 rental apartments for income-qualified seniors 62 years or older.

St. Joseph sold the building to MGL Partners/Solvera Advisors in 2017, with its parent organization SCL Health providing substantial investment to finance the redevelopment.

“The mission of SCL Health and St. Joseph Hospital is to improve the health of the people and communities we serve, especially those who are poor and vulnerable,” said St. Joseph Hospital President Jamie Smith. “We are so pleased to be a partner in this redevelopment effort that aligns with our mission and contributes toward finding a solution for the significant need for affordable housing in our community for seniors.”

Located at 1010 E. 19th Ave., the eight-story, 51,000-square-foot facility will feature common areas on the first floor and one- and two-bedroom apartments on the second through seventh levels. The top floor will include a common area and rooftop patio. The project is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.

Originally built in 1930 as a nurse dormitory for Children’s Hospital Colorado, Tammen Hall was named after Harry Tammen, the first publisher of The Denver Post. The building later was converted into office space for Children’s Hospital Colorado until the hospital moved to the Anschutz Medical Campus in September 2007. Because it’s designated as a local historic landmark, the exterior and internal renovations must comply with National Park Service standards. Among the spaces to be preserved are a theater and a community room that will be available for neighborhood meetings and events, along with the historic entry and foyer.

Children’s Hospital Colorado has been overseeing the restoration of murals created by the historic Colorado muralist Allen Tupper True. The murals are original to Tammen Hall and will be returned to the building upon the project’s completion.

“We’re thrilled to support such a meaningful project among Denver’s thriving development scene, said David Shigekane, president of The Neenan Co. “Not only are we helping to preserve an important piece of Denver’s heritage, but the project will surely play a significant role in Denver’s future.”
 

New mural to be painted at History Colorado-inspired Center

A new History Colorado initiative — “We Are Colorado!” — will embrace the gathering and sharing of stories that celebrate the diverse communities of Colorado both past and present.

The first “We Are Colorado!” activity will feature “Self-Preservation,” a mural by local artist Anthony Garcia Sr. Garcia creates imaginative works on canvas, as well as mixed media, silk screening and urban art installations.

In celebration of Colorado’s long history of murals, Garcia’s painting inside the History Colorado Center will be inspired by the sarape, the colorful, blanketlike shawl worn traditionally in Mexico. Using culturally and artistically relevant and vibrant sarape colors and designs, “Self-Preservation” will represent the ways different cultures can work together to form a community. Garcia will paint his mural on site from July 9-20 at the History Colorado Center. Museum visitors are invited to watch the process and enjoy the artwork as it develops.

In the fall, History Colorado will begin an oral history collection project in the Globeville/Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods.. By partnering with Garcia, who is from Globeville, History Colorado aims to incorporate community art as a way of highlighting the rich history of that Denver neighborhood.

Garcia also is director of BirdSeed Collective, a nonprofit organization that encourages local youth artists to showcase their talents by joining an art collective that promotes urban art and self-sufficiency through art workmanship.

Large donations enable JCC to purchase its campus

A coalition of donors is spending millions to buy the Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center (JCC Denver) campus in an effort to enable the organization to sustainably operate on a debt-free basis, strengthen its programs, services and infrastructure.

The funding agreement includes multimillion-dollar leadership gifts from the Rose Community Foundation, Mizel Family Foundations, Michael Staenberg and the Sturm family, as well as support from a host of other community donors. The money will be used to purchase the JCC Denver campus, which will enable the JCC Denver to repay the $14.3 million in debt it has accumulated since the 1990s, put aside reserves for deferred maintenance needs and provide for a financially sustainable future.

“On behalf of our staff, outgoing board and membership, we are grateful for this unprecedented generosity and lifeline,” said Lara Knuettel, CEO of the JCC Denver. “This financial stabilization combined with a new staff, a new board and renewed community engagement will propel the JCC Denver forward into a new era.”

To set the stage for the new era, the current JCC Denver board has agreed to step down and a new board chaired by longtime community leader Don Kortz will be installed.

“I look forward to working with Lara and the highly qualified management team she has been building to ensure the JCC Denver continues to grow, thrive and serve even more community members with excellent programming for people of all ages,” Kortz said.

The property will be held in a nonprofit subsidiary of Rose Community Foundation solely for the exclusive and perpetual benefit of the JCC Denver. The foundation’s nonprofit subsidiary, which will be chaired by trustee Jerry Glick and comprised of volunteer real estate experts from the Rose Community Foundation board, will enter into a 100-year lease agreement with the JCC Denver for a nominal $1 a year to ensure the JCC will survive and thrive for generations to come.

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.

Denver Flea returns to Denver Rock Drill

Hundreds of local makers and small businesses from Colorado and the Western region will gather at the Denver Flea July 13-15 at the Denver Rock Drill in the RiNo/Cole neighborhood.

Vendors will set up shop at the Denver Rock Drill, 1717 E. 39th Ave., alongside food trucks and six pop-up bars serving great Divide beer and special Flea craft cocktails.

The Summer Flea weekend kicks off with the event’s first Talking Heads and Tacos Party from 5-9 p.m. July 13. Tickets are $35 a person and include four drink tickets and entry into the Flea all weekend. The 21-and-over event will feature tacos from some favorite Denver spots, live music from Talking Heads tribute band Little Creatures and shopping with Flea vendors in advance of the Flea opening. Tickets can be used for re-entry on Saturday and Sunday.

The Flea continues from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 14 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 15. Tickets are $5 a person and can be purchased online and at the door. Entrance is free for children 12 and younger.

Some of the Summer Flea’s sponsor partners will be hosting activities, including First Bank’s money-blowing booth booth that gives participants a chance to catch Flea Bucks to spend with vendors at the event and signature brews from Great Divide.

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.
 
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