By Michael Leccese
Twelve projects, ranging from affordable housing and alley enhancement, to large-scale mixed-use, to parks and playing fields, have been named finalists in the fourth Impact Awards of Urban Land Institute (ULI) Colorado.
The nominees and four winners will be honored at a gala at the Seawell Ballroom, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, on Thursday, April 4, 5:30 to 8:30 pm. Also being presented are individual awards for Lifetime Achievement and Rising Star.
“The Impact Awards showcase the best work of Colorado’s developers, architects, builders and their teams to create great places,” says Tracy Huggins, executive director of the Denver Urban Renewal Authority and ULI Colorado chair, 2017-19 “These examples will inspire others to improve our communities by creating the best possible projects.”
The event title sponsor is Plante Moran (formerly EKS&H).
INFILL (category sponsored by Otten Johnson Robinson Neff + Ragonetti)
Downtown East Louisville (DeLo). This transformative $60 million, 12-acre redevelopment of a former industrial site into mixed-use neighborhood includes 130 apartments, 30,000 square feet of Class A office and retail/restaurant space, 60 townhomes, a community plaza and park area, new public parking, and a pedestrian gateway that links the community to Historic Downtown Louisville.
Fruitdale Lofts, Wheat Ridge. Vacant since 2007, the last school designed by Denver architect Temple Buell (Paramount Theater, Fillmore, many schools) has been reborn as 16 solar-powered and affordable lofts set within a sustainable landscape.
Go Spot Check, Lower Downtown Denver. The 16,000-square-foot tech headquarters is the first all glass-and-steel building in LoDo, yet it complements the historic context while replacing a parking lot.
Influence (category sponsored by Brinkmann Constructors)
Clinica Health, Lafayette. Designed by a noted health-care architecture firm, Clinica delivers services to 15,000 uninsured people a year in a location accessible to populations in need. The jury also cited the project’s creative finance requiring a capital stack of nine sources.
St. Francis Apartments at Cathedral Square, Colfax, Denver. Replacing a parking lot near St. John’s Cathedral (which donated the land), these 51 apartments house very low-income people, some formerly homeless. The jury cited the project’s excellent location for people without cars, with a Walk Score of 95 and access to five bus lines and 350 daily rides.
Silverthorne Performing Arts Center. Located in the town’s urban renewal district, this small theater complex heralds Silverthorne’s evolution from a stop off the highway to a true community with a walkable downtown and destination attractions.
Innovation Category (category sponsored by Redland)
Basecamp Center, Frisco. What could have been a routine Whole Foods-anchored shopping center has become “the world’s highest T0D” that includes six separate green buildings, a central park, local retailers, and 24 above-the-shop microunits (75 percent affordable, 50 percent reserved for locals). The jury cited creative finance involving six different lenders for a $30 million project.
Dairy Block, Denver. A long-stalled project has become an exemplar of infill combined with historic preservation. Dairy Block blends 250,000 square feet of new office construction with 172-room hotel, local retailers including a successful food hall, 700-piece Colorado-focused art collection, and “Maker Space” alley enlivened by public art.
Fifty Eight Hundred, Lakewood. This project rescues a long vacant/abandoned/contaminated eight-story office building as high-quality affordable housing that is 100 percent preleased with a wait-list of 3,500. Its success is changing the image of a blighted area of Lakewood and attracting new interest in business revitalization.
Inspire (category sponsored by Trammell Crow Co.)
Downtown Fort Collins Enhanced Alleyway Program. Since 2006, this project has revamped seven square blocks of alleys with paving, lighting and public art, creating walkable new connections from Old Town to CSU. It has spurred new investment in 12 buildings and boosted the value of adjacent properties.
Festival Park, Castle Rock. In 2017, this project remodeled an ugly, unused two-acre park into a vibrant downtown center that has attracted $150 million of new investment into vertically mixed-use projects within a block.
The Regency Athletic Complex at MSU Denver. This $23.6 million effort replaced a 12-acre brownfield with a state-of-the-art complex for baseball, softball and soccer. An innovative system to compact fill soil in place rather than hauling it away saved MSU $3 million.
In addition to selecting four projects from the finalists as winners, ULI Colorado will recognize a Legacy Award winner for Lifetime Achievement. The 2013 recipient was Dana Crawford of Urban Neighborhoods; 2015 went to industry veteran John Shaw; and 2017 to Harry Frampton of East West Partners.
Recognition will also be given to an industry Rising Star. This award will go to a young leader under 35. In 2013, it was won by Bradley Weinig of Herman and Kittle Properties; Paul Books of Palisade Partners in 2015; and Sarah Komppa of Tryba Architects in 2017.