RiNo Rising: Part l

What is the coolest, most unique neighborhood in Denver? If you aren’t thinking RiNo, give it time. You might not agree with me now, but in the next year or two, RiNo will be welcoming some pretty incredible one-of-a-kind projects. While other neighborhoods are building capacity for new residents and businesses, RiNo is making investments and taking risks that will make it stand out against the rest. Due to the number of exciting prospects coming up in the neighborhood, I’ll be covering them in a series called RiNo Rising. First up, The Source!


If you haven’t heard yet, Denver is about to get the kind of open-air market that we’ve all been dreaming of for far too long. In fact, it is better than I could have imagined. Thanks to Zeppelin Development, Inc., a large warehouse space at 33rd Street and Brighton Boulevard will be converted into an innovative “European-Style” marketplace.  “The Source”, as it will be called, will use 25,000 sq. ft. of space to accommodate 15-25 independent business tenants. Rather than placing tenants in kiosks or tents, each vendor will have their own space. In addition, 3-4 restaurants will serve as anchors for the project and help to keep a constant flow of people moving through. To give me a better sense of the project’s tone, Kyle Zeppelin stated:

“The project concept draws on both the industrial fabrication history as well as the creative culture of ‘making things’–by including an emphasis on artisan production uses that are otherwise not possible downtown. In this case, there are a number of tenants including (those that specialize in) coffee, bakery, candy making, cured meats, and brewing that benefit from the new mixed zoning (IMX 8).”


The historic 1880s former foundry building was more recently used as a building materials supply warehouse, but will soon host an eclectic array of culinary experiences. This style of marketplace will be unlike others as the focal point will be removed from just selling things, and built into a more robust experience. The Source will explore the avenue of marrying passion with curiosity. Instead of simply meeting the artisan, individuals will have the opportunity to indulge in a Mr. Rogers-esque moment and will witness the merchant bringing their product to life.


Unlike previous market projects in the city, The Source will take a different approach. Embracing the local climate, the product assortment will steer away from perishable items and focus on dry goods. This will ensure that activity is maintained year-round, rather than just a few months out of the year.

To get a better sense of what’s to come, similar models include Melrose Market in Seattle and Oxbow Market in Napa. While The Source is still in the design phase, an opening for the first round of tenants could happen as early as January, 1, 2013.

By | 2012-02-22T23:39:55+00:00 February 22, 2012|Categories: Adaptive Reuse, Historic Preservation, Revitalization, Urban Design|40 Comments


  1. SC48 February 23, 2012 at 9:27 am

    It’s a shame it’s not going to be in a more pedestrian friendly location, although this building is pretty unique and I don’t imagine there’s much comparable real estate in the downtown core. Local, organic, etc. is all fine and well, but – for me at least – it detracts from the benefits if I have to use my car to get it. Are there any plans to build a foot bridge over the train tracks into the neighborhood behind the warehouse? That would go a long way towards actually integrating this project with the neighborhood for pedestrians and bikers who do not want to walk/bike along Brighton Blvd with shopping bags.

    • Megan February 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm

      I work very near this location and the platte bike path goes almost directly to this location. You can just get off on 29th. The side walks from Brighton (into Broadway) are a bike route, so you don’t have to ride in the traffic.

  2. Win Ferrill February 23, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Kind of reminds me of Pikes Market in Seattle – very cool!

  3. Steve February 23, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Is this the same thing as the Denargo Market or is that project dead.

    • Chad February 23, 2012 at 12:59 pm

      That project is in a different location closer to Coors Field and despite its name is simply a residential development on the site of an old commercial market. As to weather the project is dead or not, I have no clue.

      • The Dirt February 23, 2012 at 2:43 pm

        There is an apartment building going up at Denargo Market right now.

  4. Scott February 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Great use of the space and a great add for the neighborhood. I hope they address the parking, which is rather tight.

  5. Corey February 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Sounds like an awesome project. It looks like it might be similar to Chelsea Market in NYC also. Best of luck to Zeppelin Development!

  6. Chad February 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    While I welcome this sort of “market” development to Denver, I highly question the viability and sustainability of this location. The site is so far out of the way of 99.99% of its potential customer base (only the taxi development and a handful of homes (which are most likely not inhabited by the type of people who would frequent this location) are within walking distance (and without a ped. bridge across the S. Platte, even the Taxi building is somewhat inaccessible by foot). In other words, everyone who wants to go to this market will need to drive there. Its location on Brighton Blvd is so far from any other services and so disconnected from adjacent neighborhoods via rivers and railroads that I’m positive most people would choose not to.
    The reason that other markets like this are successful is that they are immediately adjacent to residential or business districts (a case in point is the Milwaukee Public Market located between their “LODO-esqe” Third Ward and the Central Business district). A project like this would make more sense in the Ballpark neighborhood, Arapahoe Square or the Central Platte Valley where it would help address the “food desert” that is Downtown Denver. Residents of Downtown (who would be the prime customers of such a market) could then easily walk to and from the market, instead of forcing them to get in their cars and drive out to a food store in the middle of nowhere.

    I wish Mr. Zeppelin luck with this project. I think he’ll need it.

    • Justin February 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm

      Many businesses (crema coffeehouse, fuel cafe, megafauna, many galleries) are currently thriving in RiNo specifically because Denver residents drive out to the middle of nowhere to get what they can’t get in their own neighborhoods. The amount to which Denver is an under-served marked shouldn’t be ignored.

    • The LOT @ RiNo March 16, 2012 at 9:21 am

      I think Zep knows what he is doing… let’s not forget the city gate lofts, the new RiNo lofts 206 luxury units going up right now at 33rd and brighton, and of course Denargo, which is back in action, building units too. All of which are literally within 5-6 blocks of this market. Plus the light rail track is being lain down as we speak to run through Denargo and over to our side. I think the Zeps are right on the money, they are super smart folks, and I think they are pulling the trigger at the perfect time for what is trending here in RiNo.

    • Eric March 28, 2012 at 9:06 am

      What “type” of people are most likely not going to be frequenting an open air market in their neighborhood?

      BTW, like Justin says, Crema and Fuel for example are thriving. The quality of what the business offers is what matters, and when these businesses are just a few minutes drive outside downtown Denver, not many people are going to have an issue with that.

  7. Stosh February 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    “If you build it they will come”. The Rino area is underestimated and actually pretty close to everything. This market looks wonderful and it will be located 5 blocks from the new and first light rail stop east of Union Station at aprox 38th/ Blake; and the current lightrail line on Welton/Downing will eventually be extended to meet it.
    There are so many unique dwellings, clubs and galleries disbursed throughout the area it feels organic and inviting. It reminds me of the Ballpark/Lodo areas before redevelopment. Dana Crawford and other developers have big plans for RINO and I can’t wait to see it in 5-10 years! P.S. I hope the city continues to make it easier and safer for bikes and pedestrians to get around the city safely.

    • Chris February 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm

      Totally agree — we’re talking about the guy who has made TAXI a resounding success…in the middle of “nowhere”

      Mr Zeppelin knows what he is doing and I have no doubt this project will be a great success and another anchor for RiNo…ped connections over tracks and the river will bring the links the hood needs to grow the right way, organically. Would love to see some crazy designs for ped bridges to reflect RiNo’s eclectic personality.

  8. Kyle February 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Great project in a beautiful old building. I think the location will be a small challenge at first but over time will become less of an issue. I think and hope it will succeed regardless. Good job Zeppelin!

  9. Kyle February 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Sorry to double post here. I did a little research and found that in the River North Park Masterplan on the City of Denver’s Planning and Development website, the masterplan calls for a large “signature” bride between 34th and 35th that goes over the Platte River and a park on the east side of the Platte. This should definitely help draw people to the marketplace and make it more accessible.

  10. KZ February 23, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Funny that an urban infill blog generates so many comments by people lacking in vision–for improvements that are currently underway. The nature of cities is that they are constantly changing and visible change is happening in this area. Within a block, there is a $20 mil, 250 unit multi tenant residential building currently under construction. The DIA line is also under construction with a station and bridge that is planned for 3-4 blocks away. The surrounding RiNo arts district is now the largest and most active in the city. Not to mention–the preferred method of transport in RiNo–bikes are well connected to the rest of the city by the bike path that is within 2 blocks. Its clearly located in a gritty emerging neighborhood– but a 5 minute bike ride to the city center is not considered out of the way in most major cities.

    • Kim Allen February 24, 2012 at 6:46 am

      The Central Platte Valley is clearly a huge part of Denver’s future growth.Eliches, Pepsi
      Center, Riverfront Park, Hungarian Flour Mill, Coors Field, on and on…

      Brighton Blvd. leads North from downtown out to the Coliseum, Globeville, Swansea
      and Elyria neighborhoods, Stock Show, and nearby Riverside Cemetery.

      Developers with vision will move the area and City of Denver forward. Clearly the vision
      of Mickey and Kyle Zeppelin and company have and will fulfill these ambitious plans.

      Taxi Community will be joined by “The Source” as well, believe me, Mickey and Kyle
      know exactly what they are doing and are doing it correctly, with pride and healthy
      intensions for our community.

      This corridor will one day be filled with exciting projects. The RiNo area, Taxi, Stock
      Show and neighborhoods will become a huge force.

      Be thankful for such visionaires that are in the trenches daily, weekly, monthly
      and yearly to get this important work accomplished.

      • SC48 February 24, 2012 at 10:51 am

        Perhaps we have differing ideas of “exciting.” This is an interesting project, a great reuse of the space, I believe – like Taxi – it will be a success and, for that matter, I would likely shop here.

        However, that said, my conception of an “exciting” project centers on its enhancement of the pedestrian experience. This project and some of the other proposals for Brighton Blvd, do not do much to enhance/bolster the pedestrian experience in the area. Based on the rendering on denver-cityscape.com, the new project at 32nd and Brighton will front Brighton Blvd with surface parking and does not look dissimilar to many suburban apartment complexes in the metro area. If I am not mistaken, Taxi also has extensive surface parking too that fronts the street. And, based on images from Google Maps, it also looks like this specific project will front Brighton Blvd with surface parking. Please, correct me if I am wrong.

        As a resident of a 2000 block in Curtis Park who likes to walk, this will not be very accessible by foot, other than by – eventually – walking up to 38th, crossing the tracks, then walking five blocks south along Brighton. Alternatively, I could walk to Broadway, and continue north as it becomes Brighton, but – again – that doesn’t look like it will be a very pleasing experience given the direction the development in the area is taking (i.e. lacking ground floor, pedestrian friendly amenities). As a native northeasterner, the direction that the development along Brighton is taking just strikes me as a very California-esque notion of an “urban” environment. There certainly does seem to be a “vision” for this neighborhood, I just don’t agree with it and am not particularly “thankful” for it. Reasonable minds can differ.

        • Kim Allen February 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm

          Guess you will have to walk faster.

          • SSP March 3, 2012 at 8:11 pm

            Walking faster won’t change the fact that Brighton Boulevard is not a very safe or inviting place to walk and these “visionaires” don’t seem to address that. Surface parking lots do not create “neighborhoods” they create Colorado Boulevards.

        • Eric March 28, 2012 at 9:17 am

          Um, there are 60 businesses and 40 residential units at Taxi, a parking lot is a bad thing? So there are going to be two large parking lots for a business complex and a large market, this means the vision and the future of the neighborhood are totally compromised? I can also imagine the up and coming Baker neighborhood isn’t walkable for you from Curtis Park either, are you not “thankful” for that as well?

  11. Mark B February 24, 2012 at 7:28 am

    This project will succeed. I’m old enough to remember when Mr. Zeppelin opened City Spirit Cafe and Bookstore in a little Blake Street storefront. On Blake Street, way down there where no one went, on a street lined with industrial uses and dilapidated buildings. We call it “LoDo” today.

  12. Stavros February 24, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Extremely exciting. Beautiful old building. Great re-use. Love it.

  13. Austin February 24, 2012 at 10:54 am

    The “location” graphic shows public transportation access (light rail), but the welton corridor isn’t actually close enough to serve the area. It looks like the only local bus to serve the area is the 48, which runs every half hour during the day. Other than that, RiNo is isolated from downtown and the rest of the city.

    Zeppelin has great entrepreneurial spirit, but Brighton is still missing sidewalks in many places; RiNo, Ballpark, and Arapahoe Square are all up-and-coming (yet still fledgling) neighborhoods, but the more far-flung portions of these neighborhoods have terrible transit access. The public sector needs to step in and correct these issues, and then we’ll really start to see the private projects take off.

  14. Brent February 25, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I hope this survives, it’s a neat idea. But I am also skeptical. This is not TAXI. His is not housing. It’s a relatively large scale retail project. And those need a lot of people to make it. Even at full buildout, I doubt RiNo could support this alone. They’ll need parking, they’ll need better ped access. And someday, transit. Add Brighton Blvd. to our list of dream development-spurring streetcar corridors! (with nee ped access across the tracks to Blake.)

    As for the “light rail” shown, I imagine they’re thinking about the 38th/Blake (EMU) station on the airport line. That station will be walk able if you’re really motivated.

  15. UrbanChick February 25, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Don’t forget bikes folks. Ballpark, downtown, LoDo, the Platte bike path are well connected to this location. And while I agree much more pedestrian infrastructure needs to happen on Brighton, I am sure that the fact that more pedestrian-friendly projects are being built will ring an alarm bell with the city to make that happen. RiNo is fantastic – keep it growing and getting cooler!

  16. Alex Tooke February 25, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    This is an amazing addition to the neighborhood, We are so excited to have this type market!

  17. Bernie February 26, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    I’ve walked that area a number of times including after snow storms during rush hour and it’s a tough go. Sidewalks will definitely need to be installed. Other than the current danger of being run by over by automobiles, the location is ideal.

    “The Source” makes for a boring name and lacks any historical, geographical or cultural reference. Is it too late for a name change? How about going with something like “Moache Market”?

    The Moache were the Ute tribe indigenous to the Denver area and are some of the oldest continuous residents of present-day Colorado

  18. Ryan DiFranco February 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    What a great idea! I know there are many local vendors looking for a spot to showcase their products and expose them to the city of Denver. Its time the city has a year round market that people will know about! Even though its not pedestrian friendly from many parts of Denver… people WILL travel. I can’t wait!

  19. UrbanZen February 27, 2012 at 10:48 am

    A lot of the comments make it sound like Zeppelin Development is renovating an old warehouse in Aurora. This location is perfect for this type of product, and the area will fill in behind it. I know the ped access is less than ideal, but those infrastructure improvements take years. There are still parts of lodo that need pedestrian improvements, and that didn’t stop the people and retailers from coming. What you people are missing is the combination of “meats”, along with “individuals… will witness the merchant bringing their product to life”. Good lord it’s going to be a blood bath!!

    • Bernie February 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm

      Have you ever walked through that neighborhood UrbanZen? Its not that the pedestrian access is “less than ideal” it’s downright dangerous. Furthermore, the sidewalks should have been installed years ago.

      But don’t take my word for it, take a walk. Park your car at Jake’s then walk to the GrowHause by way of The Source facility, it will be an enlightening experience I guarantee.

      • Meghan February 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm

        I make this walk all the time. I have never felt that I was in danger, unless you’re talking about trash, which can be a problem, or water collecting under the overpass just west of 38th and Walnut. Sidewalks we need, yes. But danger is in the eye of the beholder.

        • Bernie March 25, 2012 at 1:11 pm

          ooops I had the wrong buildings! I was thinking of the very similar looking structures at 40th and Walnut. Sorry about that.

          The Source will be right on Brighton and should be easily accessed with the completion of the current development.

      • Chris February 28, 2012 at 1:22 pm

        AFAIK this area does not have sidewalks yet due to the impending large infrastructure project of entirely rebuilding Brighton with sewer improvements, medians, sidewalks, new lighting, etc which will finish at the same time as the 38th and Blake station is delivered. Tear it all up once and do it right. Maybe someone else has an update on Brighton improvements timeline or scope?

        I also wonder if the 38th and Blake Station could be renamed RiNo or River Noth Arts District? RTD is so lame that most all of their stations are just intersections rather than a creating a sense of place / neighborhood.

  20. Meghan February 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    “The site is so far out of the way of 99.99% of its potential customer base (only the taxi development and a handful of homes (which are most likely not inhabited by the type of people who would frequent this location) are within walking distance (and without a ped. bridge across the S. Platte, even the Taxi building is somewhat inaccessible by foot).” What is UP with this myopia? *I* am a potential customer. So are many many people who live in the northern reached of RiNo into the Cole neighborhood. If you haven’t noticed, the Cole ‘hood is the last holdout for historic properties 5 min. out of downtown, and it’s hot–average time for a house to be on the market there is less than 30 days. Bidding wars for flips are an every day occurance. My block, in the 10+ years I’ve lived on it, has changed drastically, esp. in terms of demographics. We NEED this kind of market. Downing Street Super can’t always cut it. No groceries have been willing to take a chance on far NE Denver; see the Holly Square redevelopment, see the Dahlia brownfield, and oh, we’re supposed to be excted that Sunflower is “considering” a space around Colfax and Colorado– and the developers of TAXI and FR8 are just the people to do it. If certain patrons don’t like the “urban” feel of the area and feel like it’s too “hard” to walk there (you aren’t supposed to be riding your bike on a sidewalk after all, and Brighton Blvd. is the least trafficked thoroughfare in the area), then perhaps its best they stick to where they feel more “comfortable.” Curtis Parkers can walk sidewalks all the way to the new (relatively lame) Dean’s urban market. Leave it to those who have chosen to live in this area to frequent a place like The Source. RiNo is alive and kicking–this is NOT LoDo, and please let it never become LoHi. Industrial at its core, fabulously so, RiNo shows off its dirty underbelly with pride. I am SO EXCITED about this development, and thank the Zeppelin group for taking this leap and continuing to take chances on an amazing area of Denver.

  21. Norman February 29, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    This will be a welcomed addition to RiNo… with first fridays and secound saturdays this will give visitors a place to meet and enjoy some food and drink before or during their first friday and secound saturday adventures! Our hats are off to the Zeppelin Group for all their great work!

  22. Brian April 20, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Yes, Denver is taking off, following the Manhattan model – get rid of the poor people and bring in the yuppies. Isn’t that why all the artists moved to Brooklyn? Oh wait, it’s too expensive to live there, too! Meghan, I laugh at the fact that you think a 1000 sq ft bungalow for $260K – completely remodeled – in a historically low income area is ‘affordable.’ Most people CANT afford that. How may young black families are moving into Cole, Whittier, Skyland? NONE. Unless, the family has owned the house for generations.

    Development is necessary to keep capitalism going, and there’s always a human cost. I know ‘transitional areas’ – minorities moving out, whitey moving in – feel cool for the people who just got there. You’re young, urban, and hey my neighbors are of different races than me…. but realize folks, that all these urban neighborhoods will not ‘sustain’ their original tenants. In 20 years, there will be very few minorities left… whaddaya think Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Aurora are for? I can sell grandma’s victorian and move out to a HUGE newly cheaply constructed house that will eventually be worth a fraction of what I sold grandma’s house for (because it needed to be remodeled and flipped for $100K profit to accommodate white yuppy tastes and stylings) and who got screwed? It already happened to “Highland” – BTW it was never referred as that buy it’s original tenants, it was just called the North side.. hence North HS (one of Denver’s lowest performing schools)… used to be a Latino neighborhood…. but again, how many young Latino families are moving into “Lo-Hi?” Oh wait! that’s what Thornton and Northglenn are for!

    I guess what RiNo proper has going for it is that there are less people to kick out because it’s always been warehouses and industry anyway… but I wonder when the hipsters will start moving to Swansea and Globeville?

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