DENVER-More than a dozen new buildings, either under construction or on the drawing board, are planned in Downtown. Together, the buildings will have a completed value of more than $1.5 billion. The buildings include high-rise hotels, some hotel-condo towers, residential skyscrapers, build-to-suit offices, and public buildings. Not surprisingly, there are no major office spec buildings planned, other than some relatively small condo-office buildings.

George Thorn, principal of Mile High Development and a long-time local developer, says that because most of the buildings are being constructed along the edge of the CBD, Denver’s skyline will change. If they were in the core of Downtown, much larger buildings that were constructed in Downtown Denver in the 1980s would hide them, Thorn tells GlobeSt.com. These latest high rises are the first to be built in Downtown since 1999 Broadway opened in 1985.

Thorn notes to GlobeSt.com that the last building boom Downtown in the early and mid-1980s, primarily by Canadian developers, largely brought spec office buildings downtown. That building boom was predicated on oil reaching $60 or more per barrel, something that didn’t occur for another 20 years. When the energy prices collapsed in the 1980s, Downtown’s office demand dried up for years, and was extremely overbuilt. Now, Downtown’s office market is the healthiest of all the submarkets, but buildings still don’t command the rents that would justify new spec office construction.

A partial list of the buildings under way or planned, include:

  • the $378-million justice center and jail the City of Denver will build on the site of the Rocky Mountain News;
  • the $355-million Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center, a 37-story, 1,100-room hotel being developed by Mosher Sullivan that will open in December;
  • the proposed Four Seasons and Private Residences planned by Jeff Selby and Michael Brenneman, which will cost an estimated $350 million;
  • the $110-million, 41-story Spire condominium tower by Randy Nichols that is being designed by RNL;
  • the 31-story, $140-million Lincoln Park by Erik Osborn that is being designed by Buchanan Yonushewski Group;
  • a 30-story, $65-million building that will target senior citizens by the St. Charles Town Co. and Wally Hultin;
  • the 23-story, $125-million Glass House by East West Partners;
  • the 22-story, 138-room Inn at the DAV proposed to be built next to the Denver Athletic Club;
  • the 14-story, $44-million Residence Inn by Marriott that is under construction and being developed by Sage Hospitality;
  • the $88-million, Rocky Mountain News, Denver Post and Denver Newspaper Agency build-to-suit that is under construction;
  • the $65-million EPA Regional Headquarters under construction in LoDo that is being developed by Opus Northwest;
  • the $5-million, 56-unit Museum Residences being developed by Thorn’s Mile High and Corporex Colorado, and marking well-known architect Daniel Libeskind’s first Denver residential project;
  • the 220-room, 12-story Hilton Garden Inn that will start construction later this year by Stonebridge Cos.;
  • and the Museum of Contemporary Art to be designed by London-based architect David Adjaye. A fund-raising effort is under way to pay for the new museum in the Central Platte Valley.