By Ernest Gurulé
There was a time not long ago when the only shadows moving in this section of Denver were from traffic passing through along with non-ticketed travelers charting shortcuts to the railyard and the next boxcar out of town.
Today, the area of 40th Avenue and Walnut Street is buzzing with bottlenecks and the long shadows cast from the new construction. This zip code now hums. As you sit waiting for a construction worker to wave you through — tie-ups are common — you see a skyline that wasn’t there just a few years before. The area has undergone a facelift that makes it all but unrecognizable.
Boom has replaced blight. No longer an outpost, the area has become one of the city’s new ground zeros for hip, whether it be a restaurant, bar or isle of condo cool. New architecture is growing like kudzu along the arteries north of Coors Field.
The latest project envisioned for shopping, dining or hanging your hat is set to begin construction later this year, possibly as early as late spring, according to the developers. The plans were submitted to the city by New York City-based Halpern Real Estate Ventures, which is working with RiNo-based Invent Development Partners.
Developers envision phase I of their project as a five-story speculative office building with a single-level, below-grade parking garage with space for retail and restaurant. The phase I building “is being designed for the post-COVID-19 world and emphasizes tenant health and wellness, innovation and optionality as to how conventional space is allocated,” according to a statement about the project on the Halpern website.
Phase II calls for a 16-story, mixed-use project with 312 units and ground-level spaces for potential retail, restaurant and/or co-working tenants. The ground floor also includes a lobby and amenity spaces for an office building, according to city records.
Jon W. Dwight, president of Invent, told The G.E.S. Gazette that more information on the project would be released in the next two or three months.
The LLC also owns the adjacent parcels at 4000 Blake St. and 4055 Walnut St. Amanda Weston, communications specialist for Denver’s Department of Planning and Development, said the plans for the project have not been finalized, as there remains transportation and various technical issues, even a forestry review that still must be studied. Only then will the city give its stamp of approval.
Ever since ground was broken for Coors Field, there has been a steady evolution of what is now known as RiNo, River North. The boom has slowly snaked farther north, pushing the edge of what seems like the stopping point of the area.