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IMA Financial Group Moves into Swank New HQ at Union Station

The IMA Financial Group moved into its slick new headquarters at Union Station.

IMA is striving for LEED Gold certification and features efficient HVAC and exterior window shading to enhance energy performance.

The IMA Financial Group is the first tenant to take up residence at the transformative Union Station project in Lower Downtown.

The fire-escape staircase features floor-to-ceiling collages of Colorado-inspired scenery that gets more mountainous the higher you climb.

An internal staircase connecting offices.

Rob Cohen at his desk.

The IMA Financial Group moved into its slick new headquarters on the north side of Wynkoop Plaza at Union Station in LoDo. The Denver-based financial services firm is the first arrival at the $500 million redevelopment.
The IMA Financial Group is the first tenant to take up residence at the transformative Union Station project in Lower Downtown. Employees first started working from the $32 million office building in mid-December 2013.

Designed by Anderson Mason Dale Architects and Semple Brown Design and built by Haselden Construction, the five-story, 108,000-square-foot building is located at 1705 17th St. The groundbreaking was in April 2012 and its grand opening bash is tonight (Jan. 15, 2014).

"It's awesome," says IMA Chairman and CEO Rob Cohen. "After all of the hard work, it's great just to be in here, but more importantly, it's a great space for our people, our staff and our clients. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about."

Cohen, who financed the project with Haselden honcho Ed Haselden, has elected to work outside of the confines of an executive suite. "I don't have an office, so I sit in the open," he says. "I was worried about it before we moved in, but I love it. I interact with our clients and my workmates more than ever."

Room to grow

Beyond IMA's offices, the building has retail and restaurant space on the ground floor and such tenants as Alpine Bank and The Piton Foundation currently in place. While a lease is signed, Cohen says he's not ready to announce the restaurant, describing it as "an out-of-town concept" and "great for our outdoor plaza." The fire-escape staircase features floor-to-ceiling collages of Colorado-inspired scenery that gets more mountainous the higher you climb.

With 65,000 square feet, IMA's offices are nearly double the size of the previous HQ at 17th and Wazee streets and currently has "generous room" for more than 200 employees.

In 10 years, Cohen hopes IMA will occupy all of the building's office space. "Our long-term goal is to occupy the entire building," he says. "We added 40 or 50 people last year." At IMA's previous location, "We had people double-bunking and associates working at home because we were out of space."

IMA is striving for LEED Gold certification and features efficient HVAC and exterior window shading to enhance energy performance. Other features Cohen highlights include a private Starbucks for IMA employees and visitors, a fitness room and views in all four directions that are "unique to Denver."

The fire-escape staircase are also worth writing about, featuring floor-to-ceiling collages of Colorado-inspired scenery that gets more mountainous the higher you climb, with a motion-activated "soundscape stairwell" adding to the sensory experience, featuring a ship's horn, chirping birds and a cascading waterfall.

"I wanted to do something special," says Cohen. "You either climb down the mountain to the riverbed or up the mountain from the riverbed."

Working with art consultant Hilary DePolo and sound artist Jim Green, visual artist Janice McDonald created the collages from found pictures of nature and more abstract images. The originals hang in the IMA boardroom, and they were blown up for the stairwells.

McDonald uses magazines and other printed material as her source material. "I'm ripping those up and constructing new landscapes," she says. "I call them 'composed landscapes.'"The IMA Financial Group moved into its slick new headquarters at Union Station.

A unique opportunity

With roots that go back more than 80 years, the employee-owned IMA has 475 associates in Denver and five satellite offices in Texas and Kansas. Cohen moved to Colorado from Kansas in the mid-1980s and says he's excited to be where he is today.


"I think, what's happening around us, people don't understand it until they're in our space looking out over it all," he says of the Union Station redevelopment. "It's going to be special. Our opportunity to be in the heart of it all in a standalone headquarters  -- I don't need to tell you how unique of an opportunity that is.

"I think of it for our clients from out of town: They can fly into DIA, take the train to Union Station, stay at the hotel and walk across the plaza to our offices."

Read more articles by Eric Peterson.

Eric is a Denver-based tech writer and guidebook wiz. Contact him here.
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