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City Improvements

City Improvements
1660 Lincoln upgrades
October 24, 2015 at 10:56 pm 1
Currently, upgrades are taking place at 1660 Lincoln Street in downtown Denver. This 30-story office tower was built in 1972. The exterior of the building is now being changed from a light brown to a gray/silver color. The lobby is also being remodeled and updated signage has be installed. Seattle-based Unico Properties bought 1660 Lincoln in 2013 for $38 million. The property houses 283,544 square-feet of leasable office space. Improvements are also being made to the building's HVAC and mechanical systems.   Unico Denver 1660 Lincoln Denver 1660 Lincoln is not the only office tower in downtown Denver that has been upgraded in recent years. In 2014 Brookfield Properties completed a $58 million renovation to its 54-story 1801 California office building. Brookfield Properties is also making upgrades to the concourse level at Republic Plaza, which is Denver's tallest building. The concourse level at Republic Plaza has been home to a food court for the last 30 years, which has become outdated in recent years. The renovations will include a new conference center and a new fitness center. Also included will be a cafe and collaborative space. This Republic Plaza upgrades are slated to be completed in early 2016.
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City Improvements
National Western Center proposed upgrades
October 13, 2015 at 12:33 am 6

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.

National Western Center

Rendering of National Western Center courtesy A Smart Deal for Denver

National Western Center

Rendering of National Western Center upgraded stock yards courtesy A Smart Deal for Denver

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.”

National Western Center Denver

Rendering of National Western Center courtesy A Smart Deal for Denver

National Western Center Denver

Rendering of National Western Center courtesy A Smart Deal for Denver

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.

National Western Center Denver

Rendering of National Western Center courtesy A Smart Deal for Denver

National Western Center Denver

Rendering of National Western Center courtesy A Smart Deal for Denver

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.

Editors note:

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.

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City Improvements
Proposed Colorado Convention Center improvements
September 24, 2015 at 12:23 am 1
This November Denver voters can vote to approve a $700 million initiative that will fund an expansion of the Colorado Convention Center located in downtown Denver. A portion of the $700 million will also finance upgrades and new facilities at the National Western Center which serves as the home of the National Western Stock Show. This will appear on the ballot as Referred Question 2C. Denver has hired MIG and Fentress Architects, the original architects of the Center and expansion, who are now working on a master plan for the Colorado Convention Center and who have produced preliminary renderings of the expansion.
Denver Skyline with expanded convention center

Rendering courtesy Visit Denver.

Funding would come by extending current taxes that are set to expire in 2023. Visit Denver states that no new taxes will be involved. 
Colorado Convention Center

Rendering courtesy Visit Denver.

Colorado Convention Center upgrades included in the package presented to voters include the addition of 85,000 square feet of meeting and ballroom space. The addition of 120,000 square feet of new pre-function and service space that will also include a 50,000 sq. ft. outdoor terrace to be located on the roof of the existing convention center. WiFi capacity would also be increased if approved. "We're very fortunate that in 1999, the architects and the City had the foresight to reinforce the roof during the expansion of the center to allow for vertical growth," said Rachel Benedick, Vice President of Sales and Services at Visit Denver. No timetable for the Colorado Convention Center improvements has been set.
Colorado Convention Center

Rendering courtesy Visit Denver.

The Colorado Convention Center opened its doors in June 1990 and hosts popular events such as the Great American Beer Festival and Denver Comic Com. The facility has also been credited with creating an increase in demand for downtown hotel rooms. Denver Urban Review first reported on this initiative in June. To see that article click here.
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City Improvements, Denver Photographs
Denver’s Arapahoe Square
August 9, 2015 at 4:53 pm 2
"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 Department Arapahoe Square Denver
Arapahoe 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. Arapahoe Square DenverLocated 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. Arapahoe Square Denver Arapahoe Square Denver Arapahoe Square Denver Arapahoe Square Denver Arapahoe Square Denver Arapahoe Square Denver Arapahoe Square Denver Arapahoe Square Denver  
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City Improvements
Pedestrian Bridge opens over I-25
July 30, 2015 at 1:58 am 5
This week the pedestrian bridge near Evans and I-25 opened and will allow cyclists and walkers a safe path over I-25. The bridge will help improve connectivity in the area. An RTD light rail station is located on the west of I-25 near Colorado Boulevard and Evans. According to Denver Public Works, this light rail station has 5,600 daily boardings and departures and an estimated 43 percent of riders walk to/from transit. Construction on the bridge began in March of 2014. Below are a couple of photos of the bridge and a short video clip I created: Colorado Center I-25 pedestrian bridge.   Colorado Center I-25 pedestrian bridge.
*Video clip music courtesy Youtube's free audio library
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