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DENVER-Construction workers, developers, architects and city officials celebrated a 1,000-year old Viking custom–the topping out ceremony for the 12-story, $130-million Civic Center office building under construction in downtown Denver.

The final steel beam was raised 250 feet off the ground and placed on top of the building amid the usual fanfare. The structure that will open in about a year and house 2,200 city employees.

“The building is on schedule,” Jerry Morgensen, president of Hensel Phelps tells GlobeSt.com. RNL Design and David Owen Tryba Architects designed the building. Hensel Phelps and J.A. Walker are the general contractors. Denver-based Mile High Properties is the developer.

As the Vikings did after completing raids to the south, workers attached an evergreen tree to the beam that was signed by workers and others. The Vikings added the tree to the final beam as a way of thanking Mother Earth for the materials. The tradition was resurrected by steel workers on the East Coast in the 1920s. A 12-foot by 18-foot American flag also was draped on the beam at the Denver project.

The 690,000-sf building is the largest office project under construction in Denver at this time, although the expansion of the Colorado Convention Center and the new jail will be larger, if approved by voters in November.

“This building is not a screamer,” says Karl Berg, a principal of RNL. “There are a lot of screamer buildings. But this one complements the civic center area.”

The building is connected to the Annex I building, the best example of International architecture remaining in Denver. The curved building follows the contour of Colfax Avenue, which it fronts, explains Tryba, who says the best is yet to come as art and finishes are added.

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