Downtown Reinvestment: Denver City Center

Continuing on my Downtown Reinvestment series, we are going to look at the re-branding and reinvestment of two properties sharing the same block and plaza: 717 17th Street (John’s Manville Plaza) and 707 17th Street. Improvements include: adding outer facing ground floor retail with outdoor patio space, and plaza improvements by adding more trees, plants and more places to relax. The property owners are re-branding the plaza as ‘Denver City Center’, integrating both buildings into the same public place.

Here are a couple renderings of the project. Some key features seen here include improved outdoor seating on the plaza, outdoor patio space, and updated signage.


The 707 17th Street, (20-floors dedicated to the Marriott Denver City Center and 22-floors office space), improvements are mostly complete. These improvements include updated signage, street level improvements, new lobby finishes, and clearly designating where the hotel and office entrances are. There will be 12,000 square feet of new retail and restaurants added to 707 17th Street.


Construction is very apparent around John’s Manville Plaza (717 17th Street). You can clearly see they are adding ground floor retail pads as well as improving the building signage. Other improvements include floor to ceiling glass on the lobby floor helping the building and plaza become more inviting. A new entrance is also being constructed on Stout Street to form a continuous lobby that connects the plaza and street entrances.


Another new feature on these buildings are the logos Aecom, and Jacobs have put up. The only photo I have is in black and white but these are white logos to begin with.

With all these improvements it brings the question to mind: how are these properties doing in terms of leasing and vacancy? Right now both towers have a combined vacancy rate of about 15% which is very good for office properties. Crescent, the property owners, expect this to go down to 10% within the next couple months as new tenants have signed leases. This is another great improvement for central downtown helping activate areas that have been very empty and ominous feeling in the past decades.

By | 2013-01-13T20:56:29+00:00 January 13, 2013|Categories: General Urbanism|8 Comments


  1. Austin January 14, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Always good to see more properties opening opening up retail along 17th street. I’ve noticed that 707 17th is renovating along it’s 18th st frontage as well (since it’s set back from 17th, it actually seems to sit more on 18th despite the address). 18th st is currently dominated by vehicle access to various garages for towers along 17th & 18th, so it’s good to see this start to change.

  2. Mark B January 14, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Glad to see this, but the old saying “lipstick on a pig” comes to mind (even though I really get annoyed when someone uses that expression in a political context). Both buildings were thrown up in a rush to capitalize on the oil boom of the late 1970s, and neither one was built with aesthetics in mind, only maximum floorspace. I’ve always thought the Marriott building especially awkward looking, with the top half larger than the lower portion. Both buildings are exceedingly ungraceful, so I hope these modernizations to the ground floors help to whatever extent they can.

  3. Django January 14, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    I never thought the Marriot building to be terrific but I’ve always found its shape to be unique,somewhat intriguing.I think it’s better than many buildings built DT from that era. Faint praise I guess.

  4. Nick M January 14, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    We Americans are pretty chincy with our “plazas”. Apparently any extended sidewalk type space between two buildings qualifies anymore.

  5. Larry January 15, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    I think these are nice improvements even if the buildings tend to lack any character. However, nothing that a complete re-skin, like they did to the Cesar Chavez building at 13th and Speer, couldn’t fix. I also agree with Django regarding the Marriott. I thought the bump out made it look unique.

  6. David St. Amour January 18, 2013 at 4:49 am

    I’m an avid follower and supporter of Denver’s building projects and progress. My first job here was at Z Gallerie when there was one located on the corner of Larimer & 14th in 1999. Which brings me to me complaint and suggestion. With so many hotels, apartments and condominiums concentrated in lower downtown why is there only 1 grocery store on Speed Blvd near Colfax and virtually no department store like Macy’s, Dillard’s or Target? Why must residents and visitors alike be required to venture out to the suburbs to shop? The 16th Street Mall needs more than fast food, breweries and souvenir shops.
    Come on Denver lets be like a big adult city that recognizes and meetsand even anticipates the needs of its residents!
    I’m totally behind FasTrax, Union Station redevelopment, DIA expansion & other projects, but where will we all shop once we get downtown?

    • Ken Schroeppel January 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      Denver doesn’t have any control over which retailers locate where. For the retailers, it’s all about the numbers–people and households within a particular radius. With Cherry Creek nearby, there isn’t demand (yet) for Downtown to have its own department stores. Fortunately, with the new grocery coming to the Union Station area, and with Target seeking to locate a store downtown, the tide is turning. But the only way we will get there is simply more people. Retail follows rooftops.

      • SC48 January 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm

        Speaking of the “tide turning” on the mall, I noticed that the McDonald’s in the University Building at 16th and Champa is gone. Incredible how that corner immediately impoved. Any insight into whether that’s a one-off thing, or part of a more comprehensive update/redo of that building? I’ve always thought that that building had a lot of character and a ton of unrealized potential. Would be nice to see the owner fix it up the way the building at 16th and Welton was fixed up a few years back.

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