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Archive of posts filed under the Adaptive Reuse category.

Adaptive Reuse: Broadway Plaza Motel

Over on 11th Avenue and Broadway, there is an adaptive reuse project I would have never expected nor seen coming. The Broadway Plaza Motel , built in 1958 when motor hotels were on the rise, has steadily declined in quality and reputation until a developer, Jon Cook, decided that something had to be done.

The Broadway Plaza Motel has been converted into 27 office suites with four ground floor retail spaces ranging from 525 to 1,402 square feet. The brick has been restored and the ‘Broadway Plaza MOTEL’ insignia will stay on the side facing Broadway. Toward the alley, the building has been painted a vibrant green.

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Here are two additional views of the building. The facade had been opened up, painted black, and street level improvements are underway. There has been some chatter about restoring the neon sign and re-branding it for the new office building. It is, however, going to stay as close to the original as possible.

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Here are two pictures, thanks to Vintage Chrome Postcards and 1950s Unlimited, of the Broadway Plaza Motel when it opened in the 1950s.

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As unexpected as this project may be, this is a solid improvement for the Golden Triangle Neighborhood, not to mention a much more aesthetically pleasing building. It is currently leasing with rents starting at $1,000 per month.

The Source

Construction is booming in Denver and cranes dot the landscape across most parts of town. We’ve all become accustomed to the growing crowds, higher rents and the abundance of the color neon orange (construction). However, there’s another form of development that’s been happening a bit under the radar. This is Denver’s cultural development. In the past few years, Denver’s identity has continued to blossom through its food culture, breweries and local craft everything. Now, there’s a place in River North that has combined many of these items into one place for you to enjoy. And they called it, The Source.


[Photographs by Adam Larkey Photography]

As many of us have been anticipating this development, it is certainly worth a visit. Opened in September, The Source brings a sense of community to an area that is still on the up, but has also created a destination for the entire city. Denver has long lacked a year-round open marketplace to serve as a cultural icon, but that seems to have recently changed. Visiting The Source, one can find day-to-day staples like a butcher, cheese shop and bakery, but can also explore some of the deeper cuts of Denver cuisine. Take the edge off with a beer from Crooked Stave Brewery or craft cocktails at CapRock made with organic fruit and ingredients from the Western Slope. Still, the space goes on to provide a Collegiate Peaks Bank branch, a florist, restaurants and an art gallery. Just when you were still losing sleep over the loss of El Diablo’s scrumptious taco selection, Comida opened up shop in The Source as one of its restaurant anchors. Make sure not to miss out on the bacon & jalapeno grilled tacos!

Beyond the injection of life that this development has provided to the neighborhood, it has also succeeded in delivering the product with a focus on original design. The 25,000 sq. ft. space once functioned as an iron foundry, but was adapted into the current marketplace, still retaining its urban grunge flavor. The space is decked out with numerous aluminum garage door-style panels that not only provide a unique aesthetic, but also allow market tenants to open or close their space independently.


In the bigger picture, The Source is helping RiNo to reach a tipping point that is not too far off. The addition of this development to the neighborhood has made the area (and those surrounding it) overall more livable, has upped the cool factor which will inevitably draw new residents, and has also given others a reason to invest in future developments. Things to keep in mind are that the hundreds of new units have been created within just a few blocks of this site, 38th/Blake St. light rail stop is taking form just a handful of blocks away and Great Divide Brewery has recently announced that they’ll build a $38 million brewery right across from The Source to replace their current space. Their new location will be one of the largest brewery spaces in Colorado. With that said, we may have a true example of “If you build it, they will come!” unfolding right in front of us. So, do yourself a favor and get over to The Source now before you have crowds to fight through.

Click here to get a reminder of what The Source looked like one year ago!

Adaptive Reuse: The Burnsley at 1000 Grant

What was once a boutique hotel in the heart of Capitol Hill, The Burnsley Hotel is now turning into a fully renovated apartment community. RedPeak Properties purchased the Burnsley Hotel building back in December, from the owner Joy Burns, and is spending $5 million on renovations. A very interesting fact about this building is that it was originally built as apartments in 1962. Then, it was converted to a hotel soon after, remodeled to what used to be the Burnsley Hotel in 1983 and now is getting converted back to its primary use when it was originally built.

If you aren’t familiar with where the building sits, it is situated on the northeast corner of 10th and Grant. 1000 Grant is the rightmost high-rise in the first photo (we can clearly see that there are some parking lots ripe for development). This already dense block will now contain five residential buildings; an 8-story, 5-story, 16-story, 3-story, and now a 17-story building to join the mix. Since this is an interior renovation, it’s very difficult to see how far along this project is. All we can really see is a boarded up entrance.


Since I used to live on the same block as 1000 Grant, here are some additional views of the building. The exterior and balconies will remain the same.


With the current demand of rental units in Downtown Denver, there are various buildings getting converted over to apartments and showing great signs of success. 1000 Grant will add around 80-units to Capitol Hill with renovations expected to be complete by this Fall.

Denver Union Station Renovation

Time for a DenverUrbanism exclusive look inside the historic Denver Union Station’s transformation from a sleepy train station into a luxury hotel. RTD has partnered with Union Station Alliance to transform one of Denver’s most historic structures into a 112-room hotel. Union Station Alliance is a partnership of Urban Neighborhoods (of Dana Crawford fame), Sage Hospitality (Oxford Hotel), and Milender White Construction, among many others. Thanks to RTD and JG Johnson Architects, we have an exclusive look.

If you’ve been down near Union Station anytime within the last few months, it’s hard to miss the scaffolding. There is a TON of work going on at 17th and Wynkoop Streets, but with the notable exception of the massive scaffolding collection, a lot of the work remains hidden inside. 


The canopy that surrounds much of the LoDo-front of Union Station will be maintained and restored, as evidenced in the pictures below. There will be patio space surrounding the building – nearly 20 feet worth. The canopy will have glass installed to allow some light through, but protect us from the elements. The nice part about the building being reinvented as a hotel is that crews will always be hand to make sure the canopy is clean and looking it’s best.


The main train hall room, formerly adorned with long wooden benches and steam heat, is completely filled with scaffolding. Crews are working to restore and refinish the walls to their former glory and will also be installing new light fixtures (replacing the absolutely abhorrent fluorescent lights that were there before) while maintaining the historic elements that graced the hall. The main hall will be a public space serving as a mixing bowl between hotel guests and outside visitors alike. Hotel check in will be on the second floor.



The hall was notoriously echo-filled and acoustically displeasing.  Crews are working to place noise dampeners along the ceiling to help reduce the echos that used to flow throughout the space. As you can see in the pictures below, the pink is a primer applied to the walls prior to the sound dampening panels, which are a grayish-tan color.


Just off the main train hall in what used to be the ticket office, crews are working to transform the space into what could be known as “The Terminal Room,” serving as a bar for hotel and downtown visitors alike. The Terminal Room was the name of a bar that was at Union Station during the railroad’s hay days – the name is a perfect shout-out to the building’s storied past.  The space is fairly skinny but runs the length of the train hall. It should make for a very cool bar and fit right in down in LoDo.


For the historic preservation advocates reading this, take comfort in the fact that it seems that Union Station Alliance and RTD have taken every effort to protect the historic elements within the building. From columns and staircase railings to arch detail and crown moldings, historic elements present before the renovation will still adorn the historic structure after completion.




A casualty of modern building and safety codes are staircases such as those inside Denver Union Station that lead to the upper floors. Don’t fret – they’re not being removed or modified in any significant way, but there are other staircases being constructed that meet fire safety standards. To construct a stairwell in an existing structure is difficult, as you could probably imagine. There’s a lot of demolition and reconstruction as they are constructed. 


Denver Union Station has very ornate historic staircases leading to the upper floors. Luckily, these staircases aren’t going anywhere. They have been identified as historic elements so they are being preserved. As you can see in the pictures, crews are making every effort to ensure they make it through the renovation with no accidental damage.



As I mentioned before, the hotel will have 112 rooms, 90 of which will be unique sizes (yes, 90 – that wasn’t a typo). Only 22 of the rooms will have a twin somewhere else in the building. Even the attic of Denver Union Station is being converted in hotel rooms. Not many have been up here before and you can see why in the pictures below. There are awkward roof lines and little ventilation. This will change as a few additional dormers are added to the building as the hotel rooms are constructed. The attic will host some of the larger rooms in the hotel as rooms will be longer to make sure that every room has a window, as required by code. Obviously, there’s a lot of work to do before that happens, but construction is well under way. The large, angled beams will be integrated into the hotel rooms, serving as a nod to the building’s historic past. 




For those who have been in the basement at Denver Union Station may remember a space that looks very different than it does today. What used to be the home of the model railroad exhibit is being transformed into conference space and home to other essential hotel functions. Additionally, Amtrak will have administrative space in the basement. A lot of work has gone into shoring up the foundations down here as well. Crews have been busy installing reinforcing concrete and large steel beams to help support the structure above. A lot of excavation work has occurred as well to help clear the space, even turning up the bones of what Union Station Alliance believe was a horse – and no, they have no idea how that got down there.




Retail is included as part of the Denver Union Station renovations. As announced by Larimer Associates in May, Denver favorites Snooze and The Kitchen will be opening locations at Denver Union Station in addition to a restaurant and market concept by Alex Seidel. These will be located on the ground floors of the north and south wings. Construction of the retail spaces has opened up the wing buildings into very large and inviting spaces. The posts lining the center of the room will remain as well.



Construction will continue through the fall as rooms are constructed and the Union Station Hotel will open in the summer of 2014!

Adaptive Reuse: Colorado National Bank Hotel Conversion Update #4

It’s time to revisit the Colorado National Bank Hotel conversion as a lot has happened since our last update. This is the adaptive reuse project that is giving the historic Colorado National Bank building a new life and look along 17th Street in central Downtown Denver.

The facade on the additional two floors is more or less complete and the core on the back side has been painted. The addition has a contrasting dark grey color compared to the building’s white facade.


This is pretty much what the final product is going to look like. Before you judge the design, color, and overall look of the new addition, keep this in mind: The Colorado National Bank building originally opened in 1915. You can clearly see the resemblance of that era’s architecture on the first two floors. In 1963, an additional three floors were built on top of the original building which look no different than a typical low-rise office building from that time period. Finally, in 2013, we have the additional two floors which reflects our contemporary architecture from the 2010 era. This is a building that reflects architecture and design from three different periods of time. That’s pretty neat!


The Colorado National Bank Hotel is expected to be complete by the end of this year and will add an additional 230 much needed hotel rooms to Downtown Denver!