Skip to content
Archive of posts filed under the Adaptive Reuse category.

Montessori Academy of Colorado Renovates Ideal Laundry Building

The Montessori Academy of Colorado (MAC) elementary school recently completed phase one of its multi-million dollar restoration of the Ideal Laundry building in historic Curtis Park.

2015-01-29_MAC_1

With the help of New Markets Tax Credit Loans (a federal program designed to stimulate economic growth in low income urban neighborhoods by providing private investors in Community Development Entities with tax incentives), and the Denver Office of Economic Development, MAC was able to finance a renovation that nearly doubles the usable square footage within the building.

Occupying nearly half of the 2500 block of Curtis Street, the Ideal Laundry building has been a prominent fixture in the Curtis Park neighborhood for over one hundred years. According to a 2010 Application for Landmark Designation to the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission, the building was initially erected in 1910 as a laundry facility where artesian well water was pumped on site. The building changed ownership several times over the years; additions were made, interior walls were erected and dismantled, and exterior doors and windows were boarded up and then uncovered again.  The photo below is from the Denver Public Library’s digital collection, taken in 1988 when the building was home to a watering hole called Eric’s Pub.

Ideal_Laundry_close_up_of_sign

Adapting an historic industrial facility for use as an elementary school is a complicated venture.  Since they purchased the building in 2007, MAC has replaced the outdated HVAC system, the roof, and the smoke detection and alarm systems. This most recent renovation converted spaces like the one pictured below into several new classrooms, a library, art and music rooms, a small kitchen, staff lounge and conference room.

2015-01-29_MAC_2

Though the interior of the building is being completely upgraded, MAC has managed to preserve some of the original character of the building, as you can see in the photo of the windows of the infant care room below.

2015-01-29_MAC_3

Phase two of MAC’s renovation (“Future Phase” on the Slaterpaull Architects rendering below) is scheduled to begin later this year and will include a media center, gym, and rooftop garden. Many thanks to Abby Hagstrom, Jaclyn Greenbaum, and Nancy James for the tour!

Montessori_floorplan_board_small


Industry Denver Accelerates River North Revitalization

By Liz Munn

If you’ve been to the River North (RiNo) neighborhood lately, you may have noticed that INDUSTRY at 29th and Brighton Boulevard is buzzing with activity. Located in the former Denargo Market area that once housed over 60 food vendors and wholesalers circa WWII, 3001 Brighton Boulevard is now the anchor for an ambitious redevelopment project that brings office spaces, restaurants, and residential living to the nine-acre site.

Here is a photo of the revitalized warehouse building taken from the other side of Brighton Boulevard:

2014-11-05_IndustryFacade

The interior features 120,000 square feet of shared office spaces that range in size from a single desk to 5,000 square feet. The development took place in two phases, with every space leased before construction was even completed. The lessees are predominantly creative-tech companies, such as Uber, who is the anchor tenant for Phase 1 of the development. Companies share a café, dining area, a few kitchens (one of which always has a keg on tap), common areas and conference rooms.

Here are a few photos of the building’s shared spaces:

2014-11-05_IndustryHall

2014-11-05_IndustryKitchen

2014-11-05_IndustryEntry

2014-11-05_IndustryCommonArea

The building’s original skylights were restored, allowing abundant natural light to brighten what could have been a shadowy and cavernous warehouse space.

2014-11-05_IndustrySkylights

Industry’s north-east side currently houses Tengu, a noodle shop. Two more restaurants, The Griffin and Will Call are currently under construction and slated to open for business within the next couple of months.

Though the redevelopment of the former market is almost complete, construction is far from over at the Industry site. Phase III is currently under way, a building that combines three floors of parking with two floors of office space, expected to be complete by early 2015. Eventually, the parking lot that currently sits to the north of the building will be razed and replaced with townhomes.

Here is a rendering of the completed development, courtesy of Industry:

2014-11-05_IndustryRendering

Check the DenverInfill blog in the future for updates as the new infill phase at Industry gets underway.

~~~

Liz Munn grew up in the shrinking city of Cleveland, Ohio, holds a B.S. in Sustainability from Washington University in St. Louis and is currently a Master of Urban and Regional Planning candidate at the University of Colorado Denver. She is pursuing a professional career in urban development, with a special interest in brownfield revitalization, infill and adaptive reuse projects.


Adaptive Reuse: Avanti Food and Beverage

Adaptive reuse—that’s planner-speak for the repurposing of an old building—is an important part of helping cities revitalize and grow in a sustainable way. Some adaptive reuse projects are no-brainers, where the historic and architectural quality of the existing building is so great that to demolish the building instead of reusing it doesn’t make any sense. Good examples would include the Colorado National Bank (now the Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center Hotel) and The Source.

Then there’s the adaptive reuse project called Avanti Food and Beverage at 32nd and Pecos in Lower Highland. The existing building looks like this today:

2014-08-02_avanti_1

Okay, maybe not an architectural masterpiece, but that’s alright! Even if the structure itself isn’t all that glamorous, the reuse of an old building—in addition to being an environmentally friendly option—helps preserve some of the neighborhood’s physical scale and offers a reminder of fast-changing Lower Highland’s economic roots. This structure, built in 1935, was occupied by Avanti Printing and Graphics for many years. Here’s a view of the inside:

2014-08-02_avanti_2

After its physical transformation is complete, this will be the home of Avanti Food and Beverage, a “collective eatery.” The concept behind this project is really cool. Most people are now familiar with coworking spaces, where small start-up companies share office space and resources and collaborate with each other. Avanti Food and Beverage will be very similar, except it’s for restaurants instead.

The building will house eight different restaurants, each operating out of a modified 8′ x 20′ shipping container. This allows restaurant entrepreneurs, particularly up-and-coming chefs, the opportunity to launch a new restaurant or test a new food concept for a fraction of the cost of building out a traditional restaurant space, all while fostering creativity in a cooperative “restaurant incubator” environment. Customers will have a great selection of affordably priced and innovative food, plenty of indoor and outdoor seating areas to share, and two bars offering adult beverages.

Here are a couple of images, courtesy of the Avanti development team. Here’s an example of the shipping container-turned-kitchen:

2014-08-02_avanti_3

and here is the ground-level interior floor plan showing five of the eight shipping container/restaurants, shared seating areas, and one of the bar areas:

2014-08-02_avanti_4

Three more restaurant spaces, the other bar, and additional seating will be built out on the roof, providing awesome views of the Downtown Denver skyline. Here’s a rendering of the rooftop deck, followed by a photo I took from the roof (the power lines will be buried):

2014-08-02_avanti_5

2014-08-02_avanti_6

The building will be given a thorough makeover and new windows will bring a lot of natural light to the interior. The grounds will be landscaped along with additional patio seating overlooking Highland Gateway Park:

2014-08-02_avanti_7

Renovation work will be getting underway soon and the project is planned to open Spring 2015.   

The Avanti Food and Beverage project is fantastic in so many ways. It renovates an old building in disrepair; it infuses energy and activity next to a small public park; it adds an innovative concept to Denver’s booming culinary scene; and it brings another great dining option to Denver’s hottest restaurant neighborhood.


Colorado National Bank Hotel Conversion Final Update: Part 2

In Part 1 of our coverage, Ryan gave us a comprehensive overview of the grand opening of the new Marriott Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center Hotel that has been carefully crafted out of the historic Colorado National Bank building at 17th and Champa in Downtown Denver. In this post, we’ll add a few more photos of the project and some additional observations.

This project is a HUGE win for Downtown Denver. Take a classically historic building and transform it into a new hotel, with the modifications approved by the Denver Landmark Commission:

2014-06-11_CNBHotel-02

2014-06-11_CNBHotel-01

This building was vacant for about a decade. Thanks to Stonebridge Companies and the Denver Urban Renewal Authority, this historic building was transformed into the beautiful building it is today. Here’s a photo of Councilman Brooks and others from the development team cutting the ceremonial ribbon on June 5, 2014:

2014-06-11_CNBHotel-03

A few more images of the building at grand opening:

2014-06-11_CNBHotel-04

2014-06-11_CNBHotel-05

If you haven’t yet checked out the inside of this awesome historic structure, featuring a stunning three-story atrium of white marble colonnades and a series of historic murals by Colorado artist Allen Tupper True, I highly recommend you do. The lobby bar and the hotel’s restaurant, Range, are fantastic.

While infill development is a big part of Denver’s growth as a city, adaptive reuse projects like the Marriott Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center hotel are equally important to Denver’s urban evolution and preserving its heritage as a major city.


Adaptive Reuse: Colorado National Bank Hotel Conversion Final Update – Part 1

To kick of our first adaptive reuse final update, we are going to go inside the Colorado National Bank hotel conversion. Now known as the Renaissance Denver Downtown City Center Hotel, the hotel is now open and DenverUrbanism was invited to attend the grand opening event! In part one of our series, we will be looking at the interior of the hotel along with some of the grand opening festivities! Thank you to BrieAnn Fast of B Public Relations for making this inside look possible!

First off, as per our final update tradition, here are all of the previous posts for this project:

Colorado National Bank Hotel Conversion Underway

Adaptive Reuse: Colorado National Bank Hotel Conversion

Adaptive Reuse: Colorado National Bank Hotel Conversion Update #2

Adaptive Reuse: Colorado National Bank Hotel Conversion Update #3

Adaptive Reuse: Colorado National Bank Hotel Conversion Update #4 

Now for the look inside! Once you enter the building, you are greeted with a very large great hall, which used to be the lobby for Colorado National Bank. Many of the historic elements of the building, including the artwork, are still intact; giving the great hall a very historic feel with some modern hints throughout.

2014-06-09_CNBHotel-01 2014-06-09_CNBHotel-02

2014-06-09_CNBHotel-09 2014-06-09_CNBHotel-05

The mezzanine level is accessible with hotel rooms lining the entire length of the hallways.

2014-06-09_CNBHotel-06 2014-06-09_CNBHotel-14

The hotel rooms have various floor plans, ranging from small studios to multi-room suites. Each room has a modern style finish with either hardwood or carpet flooring.

2014-06-09_CNBHotel-12 2014-06-09_CNBHotel-10

2014-06-09_CNBHotel-11 2014-06-09_CNBHotel-13

Throughout the main floor and lower level, there is ample, not to mention comfortable, seating for all of the hotel guests. Since this is an old bank building, the vaults on both floors have been converted into conference rooms, my personal favorite feature of the whole project. Some of the vault rooms are very intimate while others are quite large and open.

2014-06-09_CNBHotel-04 2014-06-09_CNBHotel-07

2014-06-09_CNBHotel-08 2014-06-09_CNBHotel-03

The hotel comes with a full fitness center on the lower level. Here’s a fun fact: anything to the right of the blue beams is under the sidewalk; the lower level extends just past the property line along Champa Street!

2014-06-09_CNBHotel-16 2014-06-09_CNBHotel-15

Last but not least, the hotel features a full restaurant and bar on the lobby level.

2014-06-09_CNBHotel-17

The outcome of this conversion is incredible and we couldn’t have asked for anything better! Coming up next, additional grand opening coverage and a final look at the exterior of the building!