April 3, 2017 - Denver Business Journal - by Molly Armbrister
Two Denver entities are planning a $250 million mixed-use development on a piece of land near the 38th and Blake station along RTD's A Line in the Cole neighborhood.
The Denver Rock Drill project will include 700,000 square feet of office, retail, residential and hotel uses and will be developed by a partnership consisting of Saunders Development and landowners Byron, Andy and Brett Weiss. The land is located on 39th Avenue between Franklin and High streets.
Byron Weiss purchased the land in 1992 and currently has his company, Porta Power, located there. Byron decided last year to partner with his sons to develop the property as activity in the area picks up.
“I knew early on there was going to be light rail coming into the area, which at the time was a Denver Regional Council of Governments program, and I knew the neighborhood would eventually undergo major changes, although I don’t think I anticipated the pace of change would be so fast,” said Byron Weiss. “I knew this property had enormous potential, both from a local perspective and from a cultural perspective, with its deep Denver history.”
In addition to proximity to the first stop on the A Line after Union Station, the Cole neighborhood is adjacent to RiNo, which is among the most popular neighborhoods in Denver right now and is thick with construction.
The site's roots go back to 1910 when it was the home of Denver Rock Drill Manufacturing Co., which manufacturing pneumatic rock drills known as "Waugh" drills.
Denver Rock Drill will include 150,000 square feet of adaptive reuse of historic buildings that will become office space, and 550,000 square feet of new build. Within the new construction, 150,000 square feet will be office space, for a total of 300,000 square feet of office space in the full development, and 65,000 square feet will be retail. Plans also call for 180 for-rent residential units and a 175-key hotel by Sage Hospitality.
Tryba Architects designed the project, and commercial real estate firms Shames Makovsky and Cushman & Wakefield have been secured to begin pre-leasing the retail and office space, respectively.
“There is no other place in Denver with such untouched industrial history and the ability to completely customize and repurpose three full city blocks,” said Dorit Fischer, broker for Shames Makovsky. “We think there are numerous food and beverage operators and cutting-edge companies that will want to be part of this unique site.”
Plans for the project were submitted to the city of Denver in December and the developers expect to break ground on the first phase in the first quarter of 2018. The first phase will include work on the existing buildings and the hotel.
The project is expected to leverage both the history of the site and the adaptive reuse trend that is sweeping metro Denver.
“There is a trend in some of the up and coming neighborhoods to build new but try to make it look historic,” said Trae Rigby, Vice President of Development for Saunders Construction. “Denver Rock Drill actually is historic, having fostered a Western spirit of openness and entrepreneurial innovation for more than 100 years. This will be a singularly unique project in the Denver landscape.”