Denver NEEDS a Supertall!

Initial Rendering

This past week the Denver news media all picked up a story about a proposed new skyscraper at 650 17th St. in the Central Business District.  The proposal actually (quietly) leaked out weeks ago with a rendering and speculation regarding the developer, Greenwich Realty Capital out of NYC, but within the last week, the same developer released updated renderings and a slick new website.  

The first rendering of the building appeared to show about 80 stories and would be the new “Tallest” in Denver but not by much, but to add mystery and intrigue to the plot a recent update to the website and interviews with the developer now claim the building would rise some 90 stories, and 1,000′.  

The local media including the Denver Post picked up the story.

The new details on the structure would absolutely tower over anything else in Downtown Denver.  The current tallest building in Denver is The Republic building at a mere 714′ built in 1984.  The next two tallest buildings, 1801 California (the old Xcel/Centurylink building) and the Cash Register Building were also built during the early 1980’s.

Denver is booming, and it’s high time (no pun intended) that we not only got a new “tallest building” but one that is beautiful to look at, glass, modern, and statement-making.  

The icing on the cake would be if we do in fact get a Supertall building, a building with a height of 1,000′ or more.  This would become the 19th tallest building in the US, and put Denver in some pretty elite company.

We already have a respectable skyline for a third tier or more likely now second tier city, and this would be awesome to see.  

Tall buildings do not “make cities,” as Paris and Washington DC demonstrate, but in the case of Denver, we have only small number of redevelopment sites left in the CBD that could accommodate a Supertall given current zoning and height restrictions along with view plan restrictions, and another stubby apartment block here would be a wasted opportunity.  

Count me as a city-lover and in particular a Mile High City-lover who would love to see a place-making structure like this tower get built.  

The proposed tower would be a true mixed-use building with Condo, Hotel, and Office uses, which makes sense given the size it would have to have multiple uses to “pencil out” to investors and equity partners.  

You don’t have to a building nerd to appreciate how cool this would look on our skyline:

 

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About Jeff Summerhill

Jeff is equally passionate about the x's and o's of real estate, and the emotional, more heart-felt side of real estate like people, places, and design. He enjoys getting up to the mountains and skiing, hiking, and biking whenever time permits.

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  1. Robert Gardea says

    This looks like old proposal from the 1st building proposal ….. I already seen this old picure dozens of times . We need to be informed on updates. I remember back in the 80’s office buildings where buying the hight rights from other buildings. Thats how the republic plaza ,wells fargo go to be higher than these same o same o mediocre buildings we see now. They all look like they went to the same barber. All flat tops . No imagination whats so ever ….

    • Molly Summerhill says

      Hi Robert, thanks for your comment. You’re right, this is an old post and to my knowledge that project is entirely dead in the water, in fact died long before Covid hit last March. I don’t disagree at all with your critique of the design of this proposal or of Denver’s high rise architecture at large. To my knowledge you cannot “buy” air rights from other buildings like you can in other cities such as NYC. Denver uses a FAR (floor area ratio) zoning guide in the CBD, in addition to view plane requirements. There are not many sites at all in downtown Denver that would currently allow a Supertall under the present zoning code. Again, thanks for stopping by and the comment!

  2. Robert Gardea says

    The tall building thats next to the Holy Ghost catholic church, bought the air rights from that church to build that high rise .

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