Forget the real estate adage “location, location, location.” Tucked in the growing River North district between the South Platte River and the railroad tracks that stretch north from downtown, Taxi, a mixed-use development, is out of the way, even isolated. And yet the 10-year-old complex—comprised of the popular Fuel Cafe, an early childhood education center, dozens of small businesses, and 44 residential units—is bustling.
This spring, Taxi’s owner and longtime Denver developer Mickey Zeppelin will break ground on Drive, the latest building on the 20-acre site. Despite the undulating economy, there’s already a waiting list to lease office space in the four-story, nearly 40,000-square-foot Drive. (A second Drive building will eventually open in the already at-capacity complex.) Zeppelin’s secret? He didn’t focus on location. “I wasn’t really trying to gentrify [River North],” he says. “I was more interested in attracting a gritty mix of companies and entrepreneurs that would free people up to be creative.”
A few of the concepts behind Taxi’s continued success.
? Say what? Input from tenants is welcome as soon as they sign a lease. “We have a broad idea of how everything works,” says daily operations manager and Mickey’s son, Kyle Zeppelin, “but we get the tenants involved at an early stage by providing open plans that let them build out their spaces however they like.”
? Love Thy Neighbor Long, open hallways (Mickey calls them “main streets”) with comfortable seating, shared kitchens, conference rooms, and video monitors are designed to encourage “accidental collaborations” between tenants. “I wanted a place that stimulates innovation,” Mickey says, “through chance meetings with new people who you might end up working with.”
? Connecting the Dots A separate project (still in the fund-raising stage) aims to transform the land opposite Taxi into a park; the proposal calls for an ornate pedestrian bridge across the South Platte River, which would make Taxi more accessible to the arts-driven population of the maturing River North neighborhood.