Study Identifies 21 Downtown Denver Office Buildings as Good Candidates for Conversion

On August 16, The City and County of Denver released a study evaluating the compatibility of underutilized office buildings for potential conversion to residential uses. This kind of conversion, also known as adaptive reuse, allows for an existing building to be modified for a new use or purpose.

The study, which was funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), identifies 21 downtown buildings that are “Good Candidates for Conversion.” Some of the factors used to determine whether conversion is feasible included walkability, proximity to transit, natural light, the shape of the building, existing window to wall ratio and ease of window replacement.

In addition to the study, the city has also launched an Adaptive Reuse Pilot Program in Upper Downtown. The pilot program will help support the conversion of commercial office space to multi-use residential space by providing a dedicated project coordinator to help applicants through the review and permitting process. Property owners can apply here.

The city intends to use the findings in the report to inform the next steps, which could include outreach to interested building owners as part of the pilot program underway.

“Denver has a long history of successful adaptive reuse, and as the study indicates, there is a lot of potential for downtown to provide additional housing to help transition from a Central Business District to a Central Neighborhood District,” said Laura E. Aldrete, executive director of Denver’s Department of Community Planning and Development. “The study is an early first step as the city continues to build partnerships and look for more ways to support adaptive reuse projects that can help us meet our sustainability and housing goals.”

Buildings included in the dataset for analysis were selected by city staff in consultation with Gensler, a global architecture, design, and planning firm with expertise in office-to-residential conversions.

“If the top 16 buildings from Denver’s analysis were converted to residential uses, this could add over five thousand units to our Downtown neighborhood,” said Jon Gambrill, managing director of Gensler’s Denver office. “This would also convert upwards of 4.3 million square feet of office space to new residential uses.”

The initial search area was composed of five downtown Denver neighborhoods: Upper Downtown, Lower Downtown, Union Station, Civic Center, North Capitol Hill and Capitol Hill. The decision of whether to convert a building is ultimately the property owners.

Top 16 Properties

  1. 910 16th St.
  2. 1775 Sherman St.
  3. 1401 17th St.
  4. 1675 Broadway
  5. 1625 Broadway
  6. 1660 Lincoln St.
  7. 225 E 16th Ave.
  8. 370 17th St.
  9. 1801 Broadway
  10. 1900 Grant St.
  11. 1776 N Lincoln St.
  12. 821 17th St.
  13. 621 17th St.
  14. 700 17th St.
  15. 303 W. Colfax Ave.
  16. 1605 – 1615 Califonia St.

CLICK HERE  to read the full report.

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