Laundry on Lawrence: Creative Micro-community Opens in RiNo/Curtis Park

When I recently visited Laundry on Lawrence, I was trying to build a greater connection between the historic function of the building and its newly revised concept. For over 120 years the northwest corner of 27th and Lawrence St. was used as a laundry. After several fires, many physical transformations and a recent change of ownership, the facility has been washed clean of its original function. Still engrained though in the name and some of the physical features is the suggestion of Laundry on Lawrence’s past.

Newly opened in January of this year, the project is the latest completed venture of The Space Creators. If you’ve yet to hear of them, they are responsible for creating a handful of creative “micro-communities” throughout Denver.  Putting a twist on local real estate, they have developed the ability for local start-ups to have the support and consultation they need to thrive. By nature and by design, this collaborative work environment results in a greater collection of professional resources for everyone involved. As Brian Smith (President of The Space Creators) showed me, there are a number of additional features made available to tenants which better equip them to face the challenges of starting a business.

 

At a beginning price of $325 per month, individuals or organizations can acquire a space at Laundry on Lawrence, along with added benefits like an on-site photography studio, presentation/meeting space, a laptop bar, galleries, a lounge and more. As Brian stressed on my visit, one of the most valuable assets of working in the space is the networking and the creative energy that spills over between the occupants. There are over 25 studios with a diverse range of occupants, including artists, a yoga studio, a black box theatre, and even a meeting space for Comic Con.

Perhaps one of the best features of the concept is the integrity behind it all. The Space Creators are not just selling space, they are investing in local creativity. Coaching of basic survival skills for individuals who are new to business and additional reinforcement resources are also rolled into the package. It’s not just a formal work space for people to get started, it’s a support system that offers your venture (and you) the ability to reach a new professional level. There is a real focus on fostering community from within, but it doesn’t stop there either. The addition of Laundry on Lawrence to RiNo has provided the neighborhood with new meeting space, public art walks and a community theatre. Overall, it’s an asset that strengthens creative business, but that also secures (and furthers) the role that the neighborhood plays in Denver’s larger creative culture. A place once accustomed to washing and drying clothes is now, instead, dripping with imagination and innovation.

To learn more about the spaces and communities created by The Space Creators, visit www.thespacecreators.com

By | 2012-05-13T20:07:04+00:00 May 13, 2012|Categories: Adaptive Reuse, Historic Preservation, Revitalization|13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. SC48 May 14, 2012 at 7:59 am

    I seem to recall Ken posting descriptions of the various neighborhoods in/around central Denver way back when on the old site and River North was limited to the strecth right along the Platte and Brighton Blvd. When did this area become “RiNo”? This is only a few blocks from Curtis Park, so how is this not in the Curtis Park/Five Points neighborhood? Is it that the names “Curtis Park” and “Five Points” have a negative connotation within the young/creative community? The Coors Field lots and the railroad tracks create a huge disconnect between the Brighton/Platte corridor and the Five Points area, just seems highly disengenuous to label them the same neighborhood (not that that’s ever stopped real estate folks before).

    • Ty May 14, 2012 at 8:45 am

      Actually, the boundaries of RINO stretch all the way to Lawrence. We as The Space Creators are proud to be affiliated with the Curtis Park/5-Points neighborhoods and are very active in the community development. So the RINO distinction is not there because we are trying to shy away from being associated with 5-points and Curtis Park, it just happens to be where we are.

  2. Kiwi May 14, 2012 at 8:14 am

    I think someone is confused, 27th and Lawrence is solidly Curtis Park. There’s definitely no river around there.

  3. Brian May 14, 2012 at 8:19 am

    The name has been established for years. The recognized RiNo boundaries are outlined by the RNO, which can be found here: http://www.denvergov.org/YourNeighborhood/RegisteredNeighborhoodOrganizations/tabid/432158/Default.aspx

  4. DB May 14, 2012 at 9:35 am

    SC48, thank you for calling attention to the location. As I’m sure you know, neighborhood boundaries can be tricky when you are considering the measurable or defined boundaries, and the cultural. I will say that I am solely responsible for calling the area RiNo. It was not meant to serve any ill respect to Curtis Park.

    I looked into this and, as usual, there are some varying suggestions about the technical boundary. Broader maps suggest the entire neighborhood as Five Points. However, if you go by RiNo Neighbors, they suggest that the property is on the cusp of River North and Curtis Park. The property is 5 feet from their suggested border. See here http://www.rinoneighbors.org/boundries_rino_neighbors.jpg

    While I do agree that the block may be on the front steps of Curtis Park, cultural and social factors sometimes lead people to skew the lines. Especially in fringe areas, characteristics can create geographic illusions. I think it’s fascinating how that works. Take, for instance, Nob Hill and Russian Hill in San Francisco. Or Capitol Hill in Denver. I would be happy to honor this finding though and change the title to reflect it. This topic could become a whole different post. Good catch!

  5. Larry May 14, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Ken, I was curious, you refer to the Laundry on Lawrence as being located on the NW corner of Lawrence and 27th. Should that be the north corner since the street grid is rotated? I was wondering how people refer to these corners in the rotated grid part of town.

  6. UrbanZen May 14, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    This discussion illustrates a growing concern I’ve been having about the over maketing and over neighborhoodization of Denver’s new trendy areas. If I’m standing at the corner of 24th and Larimer, I’m in 5 points, Curtis Park, Ballpark, River North, and Arapahoe Square. What!?

  7. Kim Allen May 14, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Hi Derek, my wife and I live nearby to your RiNo locations. Actually I live in my Grandmothers
    basement, just moved from my Mothers house, I am a student. I wanted to say something smart
    and enlighting… Keep up the great work Brian Smith, Ty Hubbard and your staff, thank you.

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  9. Scott May 15, 2012 at 6:35 am

    Regardless of what neighborhood you want to call it, this is really cool. I wish these guys would do something similar for people who make physical products, not just digital. Starting out as a local furniture manufacturer, one of the hardest things I found was locating appropriate, affordable small industrial spaces (I needed less than 1000 ft). They are inevitably in suburban industrial centers next to automotive users, carpet cleaners, etc., and not clustered with people doing similar things. Then there are places like Walnut Workshops geared toward artists, but they are all either expensive, or too small. I know a lot of people looking for space like this. Fortunately my business has grown to the point where I’ve outgrown the crappy space and moved into something larger.

    I always thought it would be great to take one of the unused distribution warehouses along Brighton Blvd, carve it up into a bunch of 500-2000ft spaces, and use the office space as desk share / small office suites / photo studio / etc. Part of the deal would be a commitment to support your fellow tenants: if you’re a welder, you offer a discount in exchange for a discount from the guy doing web design, etc. There are a lot of designers scattered around Denver, and it would benefit both them and the city to bring them closer together.

  10. PG May 15, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Clearly 27th and Lawrence is solidly Curtis Park / 5 points…. and it is not zoned as a retail location, so it has very limited use!

  11. WAE May 16, 2012 at 9:55 am

    I am so glad to see development like this in the area, the blend of homes, businesses, and creative spaces is exactly what drew us to the neighborhood. Nowadays I can’t imagine living outside of the greater Five Points/Curtis Park/Whittier/San Rafael/RiNo area, a rose by any other name… 🙂

  12. bryan May 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    just to put a stake in this…there used to be a RNO called “upper larimer”…it was tiny and wedged between curtis park RNO and RiNo RNO…I was on the board when we decided to MERGE with RiNo and officially become part of it.

    The RiNo boundary map is correct – it extends to the alley between Larimer and Lawrence…so technically this is in Curtis Park.

    Life goes on…great to see this project build up momentum!

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