Every month, LIFE will provide answers to the community’s burning questions about new and ongoing developments. If there is a pile of dirt you’re curious about, or if you want to know how much …
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Every month, LIFE will provide answers to the community’s burning questions about new and ongoing developments. If there is a pile of dirt you’re curious about, or if you want to know how much longer your street parking will be sacrificed during construction, email Stacey McDole at firstname.lastname@example.org. She’ll do the investigation for you and report back.
Denver Art Museum expansion
Becoming a cultural hub comes at a price. After five years of fundraising, which includes funds from the General Obligation Bond, the $150 million needed for the Denver Art Museum’s (DAM) North Building Project and state-of-the-art Welcome Center have been met. The project will be breaking ground later this year.
The Denver Art Museum expansion seen from above.
Preparations are set to begin Nov. 20, with doors closing to the public on Sunday, Nov. 19 as DAM prepares to move crucial collections into storage while renovations take place. Also starting Nov. 20, the Hamilton Building, just south of 13th Avenue, will be open seven days a week to ensure visitors have plenty of access to DAM during the construction period.
“Nearly half of the DAM’s visitors last fiscal year came to the campus free of charge, thanks to several free days, festivals and our Free for Kids program,” says Shadia Lemus, communications manager for the Denver Art Museum. It’s important for the community to still have all-access to the museum during renovations.
“One of the key North Building renovation goals is to unify the museum campus and create a ‘you are here’ moment for the Denver Art Museum as well as the entire Golden Triangle Creative District,” says Lemus.
Renovations to the Gio Ponti-designed North Building will include updates to major systems, new and expanded gallery spaces. Thanks to a large donation from the Sie Foundation, a new, fully-glassed Welcome Center will house fast-casual dining, formal dining and event spaces and will be named after the generous donors—Anna and John J. Sie.
Other new spaces will include a center for learning and engagement, design and graphics gallery, Western American Art galleries, outdoor site improvements and a conservation lab, where the public can watch art conservationists at work.
“Upon project completion, the Denver Art Museum will be able to provide more access to more museum visitors with expanded gallery spaces, opportunities to see art conservation at work and new hands-on creative spaces,” Lemus says.
The museum and new Welcome Center are slated to reopen by the end of 2021.
To learn more about the new North Building Project, the architecture firms responsible for the design, Denver-based Fentress Architects and Boston-based Machado Silvetti, will host two talks free to the public on Oct. 6 at 3:00p.m. and 5:30p.m. For information on these presentations and further project details, visit denverartmuseum.org/north.
Saint Francis Apartments at Cathedral Square
It’s difficult to ignore the construction in Argonaut Liquors’ parking lot. However, that parcel of land is owned by the Clarkson Corporation, a subsidiary of St. John’s Cathedral. A 50-unit apartment building for individuals experiencing homelessness or who fall below 30 percent of the area median income is currently under construction between 13th and 14th Avenues on Washington Street.
St. Francis Apartments at Cathedral Square as seen from the Argonaut Liquors parking lot. The housing is for Denverites earning below 30 percent of area median income. Photo by Sara Hertwig.
“We will open Saint Francis Apartments at Cathedral Square on Nov. 15. We are [in the process of] choosing residents now,” says Tom Luehrs, executive director at Saint Francis Center. “[Potential residents] must be homeless. We have lists of people to draw from at this point, and obviously, there is no shortage of people looking for housing that they can afford.”
Capitol Hill United Neighbors (CHUN) has been an advocate for the project. The organization understands there is a need and is grateful that Saint Francis can accommodate those less fortunate within the community.
“We're happy to see quality housing and services provided to those in need,” says John Riecke, CHUN treasurer and delegate of CHUN Neighborhood 4 AKA West Capitol Hill. “It's a good location with easy access to transit and daily needs, and replacing a parking lot with something which helps the community is always a boon.”
There will be an onsite manager who will occupy one of the units, according to Luehrs. All apartments will be 500 square feet and will have amenities such as air conditioning, internet and cable, plus kitchen appliances.
“This has been a great partnership with St. John’s Cathedral and St. Francis Center,” says Luehrs.
For more information on this project, please visit sjcathedral.org/SaintFrancisApartmentsatCathedralSquare.
17th & Pearl
The newest “hole” to emerge on North Capitol Hill came with a little controversy. According to Southern Land Company’s (SLC) website, a new 316-unit luxury apartment building will occupy the majority of the block between Pearl and Pennsylvania streets and 16th and 17th Avenues. Due to this project, several historic buildings were on the chopping block.
“Capitol Hill United Neighborhood (CHUN) worked with Southern Land Company, city leaders, Historic Denver, and residents to balance Denver's need for growth with 17th Street's historic character,” says Chris Hinds, neighborhood delegate of CHUN Neighborhood 1. The City of Denver deemed the corner non-historic, but the community and stakeholders felt differently about the buildings’ fates.
Hinds said SLC was receptive to a petition, which received 1,500 signatures, to maintain the buildings on 17th Avenue. These precious buildings were spared and became part of the architectural plan, retaining the avenue’s façade.
“We're happy that the charm of the original 17th Avenue Streetcar line, along with the facade of the original grocery store built in 1900 at 17th and Pearl will remain,” Hinds says. “[It] will serve as a reminder of Denver's historic past while embracing the growth needed to accommodate all those moving to Denver.”
Southern Land Company was unavailable for comment. Visit their website at southernland.com.
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