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1144 Fifteenth is set to be completed by early 2018. Photo by Studio 260, courtesy of Hines.

7 Commercial Developments To Watch in 2018

We talked to local design experts and came up with a list of places that are actually going to make Denver a better place to live in the new year.

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You don’t have to look hard for evidence of Denver’s building boom: the ever-present cranes in downtown’s skyline, the soul-crushing traffic. But there’s an upside—namely, these seven new developments that local design experts promise will make Denver a better place to live in 2018.

1. Civica

Projected Completion: Early 2018
Neighborhood: Cherry Creek North
What Is It? A seven-story, tiered boutique office building with a ground floor that includes the new 801 Fish restaurant, all designed by Denver’s Davis Partnership.
Design Detail To Love: The Great Room follows the “resi-mercial” trend in workspaces (blending traditional office spaces and just-like-home flourishes) with a fireplace, a two-story water feature, and a variety of seating arrangements. Laptops optional.

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Civica
Civica is set to be completed by early 2018. – Photo courtesy of Schnitzer West.

2. 1144 Fifteenth

Projected Completion: Early 2018
Neighborhood: Central Business District/Downtown
What Is it? The first Class-A (the highest rating, given to buildings with the best looks and location, among other things) office building to go up in Denver in 30 years has 40 floors, a 5,000-square-foot fitness center, and various terraces; manufacturer Gates Corp. and cybersecurity firm Optiv are the first confirmed tenants.
Design Details To Love: Floor-to-ceiling windows allow plenty of natural light into workspaces, and a spacious lobby finished with stone, fumed aspen, and glass feels sophisticated and smart. Bonus points: The soaring steel-and-glass structure (think: Dubai meets Frozen) is a handsome addition to the skyline.
What The Experts Are Saying: “It has 13 floors of parking above ground, with a continuous glass curtain wall going all the way up to the top. It’s gorgeous because you can’t really tell where the parking ends and the office begins. That’s the way to do it.” —Ken Schroeppel, University of Colorado Denver professor and blogger (denverinfill.com and denverurbanism.com)

3. Denver Rock Drill

Projected Completion: End of 2018 (Phase I)
Neighborhood: Cole
What Is It? The site of the former Denver Rock Drill Manufacturing Company will be converted into a 700,000-square-foot, mixed-use development (including a hotel from Sage Hospitality, which has recently given us the Halcyon hotel in Cherry Creek North and the Maven in LoDo). Denver’s Tryba Architects came up with the innovative design.
Design Detail To Love: Old rail spurs along the alleyways will serve as a reminder of the site’s history.
What The Experts Are Saying: “It’s a really special example of industrial architecture that’s still intact from an era from which we don’t have a lot left. Denver Rock Drill builds on the authenticity of that site.” —Annie Levinsky, executive director, Historic Denver

Denver Rock Drill
Phase I of the Denver Rock Drill in Cole will by done by end of 2018. Photo courtesy of Tryba Architects.

4. Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Projected Completion: March 2018
Neighborhood: Golden Triangle
What Is It? A dream for art lovers and mid-mod fanatics. The 14-year-old museum—home to the original studio of renowned 20th-century Denver painter Vance Kirkland—is moving to a new, larger space designed by Seattle-based architecture firm Olson Kundig. (In November 2016, the original studio was literally moved—very carefully—from its former site to the new location, about eight blocks away; it forms the heart of the new museum space.)
Design Detail To Love: A building that houses art should have a creative feel, and the new venue achieves that with a textured exterior of yellow terra-cotta bars and gold-backed glass meant to mimic the Colorado sunshine.
What The Experts Are Saying: “It’s pretty damn bright —a yellow building—but that’s what art museums are. They’re iconic. In an art building, you have to be able to protect and diffuse the light. With the horizontal band of windows along the top of it, they’ve introduced natural daylight inside.” —Jeff Sheppard, principal/founder, Roth Sheppard Architects

The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art
Photo courtesy of The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

5. Wrigley On Penn

Projected Completion: Fall 2018
Neighborhood: Wash Park
What Is It? Twenty-nine condos, ranging from 509 to 1,305 square feet and designed by local firm Craine Architecture, will sit above 10,000 square feet of retail space, including Uncle restaurant’s second location.
Design Detail To Love: Each third-floor unit has its own rooftop deck—a classic Colorado perk.
What The Experts Are Saying: “I appreciate the scale of that building and how it has not overwhelmed its neighbors. It’s an exciting addition to the neighborhood that complements it, but stands out at the same time.” —Joe Lear, principal, Davis Partnership Architects

Wrigley on Penn
Wrigley on Penn will be in Wash Park by Fall 2018. Photo courtesy of Craine Architecture.

6. Sugar Square

Projected Completion: Early 2018
Neighborhood: LoDo
What Is It? The final addition to downtown’s historic Sugar Building is a slender office structure that incorporates a glass-and-steel look by Denver’s Semple Brown and developer Urban Villages—and makes the most of its small footprint.
Design Detail To Love: The new project maintains the original, 101-year-old exposed brick along the shared wall with the Sugar Building.
What The Experts Are Saying: “We always encourage the combination of old and new. That’s the long-term story for LoDo. This fills the space in a way that respects that environment.” —Annie Levinsky, executive director, Historic Denver

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Sugar Square
LoDo’s soon-to-come Sugar Square. Photo courtesy of Semple Brown.

7. The Grand

Projected Completion: Late 2017 (South Tower), Late 2018 (North Tower)
Neighborhood: Union Station
What Is It? In a word: density. The Grand, designed by Denver-based firm Shears Adkins Rockmore, comprises 508 apartments in a 12-story brick building and a 24-story glass tower that offers city and mountain views.
Design Details To Love: A careful mix of exterior materials embraces both the old (brick) and the new (glass) to make the building blend with the rest of the neighborhood.
What The Experts Are Saying: “This street wall speaks to that urban-focused, transit-oriented living that Union Station has been all about. We’re getting density in that area that’s rivaling the nation’s greatest cities.” —Joe Lear, principal, Davis Partnership

The Grand
The Grand’s South Tower will be compete by the end of the year. North Tower will be finished in late 2018. Photo courtesy of SA+R.

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