In September Denver Urban Review took a look at the upgrades to the Colorado Convention Center that have been presented to Denver voters in the 2C package that will be on the November 3rd ballot. The 2C package also includes upgrades to the National Western Center, which will be the focus of this article.
The National Western Center has been home to the annual National Western Stock Show which was first held in 1906. The 10,000 seat Denver Coliseum opened in 1952 and is the largest venue at the site. The 106-year-old Stadium Arena, a facility where livestock is featured includes 4,200 seats, is also on site. This complex is located at I-70 and Brighton Boulevard. The facility sits at the northeast end of Denver's eclectic RiNo neighborhood where several residential, retail, and office projects are under construction.
The RTD commuter rail line that will provide service between Denver's Union Station and Denver International Airport will have a stop at 38th and Blake Street. This stop will be located approximately six blocks from the National Western Center. Trains will run every 15 minutes during peak hours. Trains are currently being tested on this line that will open in 2016.
Some feel that the aging infrastructure and facilities at the National Western Center are in need of upgrades to retain and attract future events.
“This is truly a smart deal for Denver,” said Mayor Hancock. “The National Western Center plan is our opportunity to keep the stock show in Denver and make it thrive for another century. With the voters’ support, we’ll reinvent the National Western as a year-round destination for entertainment and tourism. We’ll partner with Colorado State University to establish Denver as a global center for agricultural research and agribusiness development and we’ll restore the historic neighborhoods that built the city we are all proud to call home.”
If the vote passes, this measure would extend a voter approved Denver hotel and car rental tax that passed in 1999 that is set to expire in 2023.
A Smart Deal for Denver, a group that advocates the approval of 2C states that the tax extension would raise the millions needed for upgrades at the National Western Complex in concert with funding from Colorado State University, the state of Colorado, and the Western Stock Show Association.
The proposed upgrades feature a partnership with CSU. The proposal includes a new state-of-the art equine science center, and new and upgraded facilities to house space for the study of livestock and agribusiness for students and staff of CSU. In August the CSU Board of Governors approved a resolution in support of of this Denver ballot measure.
"For 109 years CSU has had a wonderful partnership with the National Western Stock Show and we think the best is yet to come, said William E. Mosher, Chair of the CSU Board of Governors.
I want to hear what your thoughts are on the proposed upgrades. Would tax payer money spent on the National Western Center be a good investment for Denver? Let me know what you think in the comments section.
"Arapahoe Square, located just north of Downtown Denver, is envisioned in the City’s adopted plans to become a densely populated, vibrant mixed-use district." -City of Denver Community Planning and Development DepartmentArapahoe Square in Denver does not have construction cranes, it does not have apartments buildings currently rising, and it does not have real estate agents touting its trendy restaurants and boutique shops. . .yet. Today marks a unique moment in the history of this neighborhood, as it will not be long before its bones and urban fabric are changed forever. Currently the area is a plethora of parking lots, unused buildings, and crumbling sidewalks. It truly is the last bastion of gritty honesty that can be found near downtown Denver. Located northeast of downtown between 20th Street, Tremont Place, Park Avenue West and Larimer Street, Arapahoe Square represents a portion of Denver that has largely been untouched while other neighborhoods adjacent to downtown Denver are seeing their surface lots rapidly disappearing to future developments. However, those involved in the development community are fully aware of Arapahoe Square's development potential. Brandon Shaver, a Denver-based urban planner specializing in business improvement districts and land use economics shares his thoughts on Arapahoe Square's potential. "Arapahoe Square is ripe with development potential. As downtown Denver continues to densify, Arapahoe Square offers a great opportunity to create a walkable transition from the central business district to the Five Points and Ballpark neighborhoods. This is especially true along Welton and Larimer streets where significant reinvestment and redevelopment is occurring north of Park Avenue. It is my hope that Arapahoe Square square transforms from a sea of barren parking lots into a unique, tightly-knit urban neighborhood with a diverse mix of housing options," said Shaver. In discussions that Denver Urban Review has had with developers, some have stated they have plans to develop projects in Arapahoe Square. We do know that projects are coming. Denver-based architecture firm Kephart is designing a 12-story apartment project in Arapahoe Square, but they are not at a stage to release a formal statement or renderings as the design and financing have yet to be finalized. It is written on the City of Denver's Community Planning and Development website, "Arapahoe Square, located just north of Downtown Denver, is envisioned in the City’s adopted plans to become a densely populated, vibrant mixed-use district. Neighborhoods Plan, adopted by City Council in 2011, recommends creating new form-based zoning for Arapahoe Square in order to help implement this vision. City Council Districts 8 and 9 worked with Denver Community Planning and Development to form a technical task force to guide the development of new zoning for Arapahoe Square. The task force is composed of residents, business owners, land owners, developers, design professionals, and other stakeholders that represent Arapahoe Square and its immediate surroundings." An Arapahoe Square Technical Task Force meeting is slated to be held on Wednesday, August 26th at the Mile High United Way at 711 Park Avenue West. For more information about Arapahoe Square including technical information such as zoning and design guidlines, visit this page of the City of Denver's website by clicking here. Below are additional Photos of Arapahoe Square from August 8th, 2015.