In 1983, Federico Pena paved the road to the Denver mayor’s office with an aspirational slogan: “Imagine a great city.” Decades after he left office, the city has, indeed, become first-class, even as the imagining continues. Currently, the excitement is focused on the South Platte riverfront.
Once a spot known more for its pollution, warehouses and packing plants than pedestrians, it’s now home to four new projects aimed at reshaping and revitalizing the area. Here’s a rundown:
River Mile: Located along a mile of the South Platte River where Elitch Gardens currently operates, River Mile is planned as a sustainable, walkable downtown neighborhood. It will encompass the new interactive art installation Meow Wolf as well as commercial space, residences, parks and a new elementary school, and includes extensive plans to clean and renovate the river.
National Western Center: A partnership between the city, Colorado State University and the National Western Stock Show Association, this project is located at the site of the old National Western Stock Show, near the South Platte. It will re-imagine the area with a planned 250 acres of indoor and outdoor space for year-round events, buildings devoted to food and agriculture research and renovation of the historic Livestock Exchange Building.
Denargo Market: Developers aim to turn 13 acres at 2809 Delgany St. into a “pedestrian-friendly, mixed use development that incorporates parks, public art and centers along the South Platte River,” according to the Denver Business Journal. It will include office, residential and retail space and aims to extend the RiNO promenade to “stretch from 29th St. to 38th St.”
Sun Valley: This area, encompassing Empower Field and many public housing units, will be revamped, turning low-income housing into 800 mixed-income units. Seven buildings are planned, including five multifamily structures, as well as a Riverfront Park.