Archive for July, 2007
Oxford Club Posted by
Last night I attended the 20th Anniversary Party for the Oxford Club. Having never been inside, it was really a fun and interesting event. There was champagne, hors d’oeuvres and complimentary spa treatments. I passed on a complimentary paraffin hand treatment but enjoyed the Swedish meatballs. The club offers a fitness center in addition to a salon. It is neat how much historical character remains even today.
The Oxford Club is right next to the Oxford Hotel in Lower Downtown (LoDo). Both buildings are gorgeous historic structures that are less than block from Denver’s Union Station.
This whole part of LoDo is really cool and tells such a great story for Downtown. It will be exciting to witness Union Station’s complete tranformation into the regional transportation hub for the entire state.
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“Green” Taxi Posted by
This morning I had the pleasure of riding in one of Metro Taxi’s new “Green” taxis. It was totally awesome!! I have never rode in such a nice cab or had such a pleasurable experience riding in taxi my entire life in Denver! (sorry about the picture - I did not have my camera with me!)
It was so clean, cool (literally!) and quiet. Metro Taxi started with five of these new cabs which are actually Toyota Priuses. Recently they announced they were adding five more. By 2010 they intend to replace all of their Crown Victorias, 500 of them, with Priuses. You can find out more at the Greenprint Denver website under “Community News”. You can also call Metro Taxi at 303-333-3333.
Posted in Transportation | 1 Comment »
W Hotel & Residences Posted by
Exciting news for Downtown Denver today! Sage Hospitality has announced they have acquired the Office Depot site on the 16th Street Mall and plan to build a W Hotel & Residences there. Even though Office Depot’s site on the mall is not up until 2011, Sage has pledged to help them relocate to another site in Downtown. Both the Rocky Mountain News article and the Denver Infill blog give additional details.
This excites me a lot because of the residential component. Having more residences on the 16th Street Mall will continue to help it evolve more and more into a 24/7 center of activity. This project joins the Sugar3 project under construction at 16th & Blake and the recently opened 1600 Glenarm tower. Between the three projects that will be 427 residences right on the mall! Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ W Hotel & Residences website show you a hint of what we can expect here (if you click on the “Upcoming News” button next to the elevator you can see Denver listed).
Retail follows rooftops - I envision more and more retailers taking notice of these projects and think they will have a ripple effect around them for future development. Between now and 2010 this project will bring the total number of new households in the Central Business District, Ball Park, and Lower Downtown to over 1,200!
Also very exciting is the cache that comes with a W Hotel. Starwood is revolutionizing the hotel industry with their cutting edge design and amenities. I personally have not been to a W Hotel but the photos I saw on their website were amazing. Getting a W really levels the playing field for Downtown Denver in competing with other similar cities for residents, visitors and businesses. This hotel will be unlike anything Denver has seen before and really elevates us as a world-class city. I cannot wait to find out what one-of-a-kind restaurant the W brings and to hang out in their super cool bar/lounge.
This project will really transform this corner on the mall that as you can see is not pedestrian friendly or aesthetically pleasing in its current state. Sage also acquired the parking lot across from the Office Depot that is also a future development site.
In the end Downtown Denver will get a brand new Office Depot, a gorgeous modern internationally renown hotel and 56 new families. Congratulations to Sage and our city!
Posted in Development | 1 Comment »
Yesterday I got to attend my first Mayoral and Municipal Officials Inauguration. It was held at the Temple Hoyne Buell Theatre at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Master of ceremonies was the President of Denver City Council and representative of District 11, Michael B. Hancock. I really had a good time and was very motivated by the Mayor’s remarks.
Governor Bill Ritter attended, as did former Mayor Wellington Webb and his wife Wilma. Denver’s first ever elected Clerk & Recorder, Stephanie O’Malley was sworn in first and then all of the City Council followed. Three of the City Council members were brand new; Paul D. Lopez - District Three, Chris Nevitt - District Seven, and Carla Madison - District Eight. Dennis Gallagher, the City Auditor, was sworn in after that and following him Mayor Hickenlooper took the Oath of Office.
The Mayor touched on a number of topics but I was most excited by his talk of an urban renaissance in the City of Denver and the upcoming bond issue that will fund numerous projects that have long been neglected. It was exciting to learn that crime overall and panhandling on the 16th Street Mall went down dramatically as did the number of chronically homeless individuals in the City.
I know it does not sound that exciting to most people but I really liked attending this event and getting a glimpse of the vision for Downtown and the City of Denver in the next few years. 2008 will prove to be a banner year for our great city as it is not only our 150th anniversary but we will also host the Democratic National Convention! I am really excited about the next four years of this administration as well as seeing the new City Council jump into action!
Posted in Civic, Events | No Comments »
As my Saturday journey took me further into Lower Downtown I went over to check on the progress of the Downtown Children’s Playground that is being constructed behind the 1400 Wewatta mixed use project just off Speer.
It was exciting to see they are right on schedule for their official July 21st Grand Opening. This will be such a great amenity that brings a whole new dynamic to this part of Downtown. With access from the bike trail along Cherry Creek, so many families will be able to get to this playground easily and safely.
What also makes this so exciting is that it is a concrete example that can be re-created and other playgrounds can be modeled after all over Downtown. Downtown is well on its way to becoming more family friendly!
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A Walk Downtown Posted by
After brunch on Saturday I walked from 6th & Grant down Broadway into Downtown. I had fun being a pedestrian and experiencing Broadway from that point of view. Along the way I noticed that the new 816 Acoma Apartment Tower under construction has now emerged from the tree line and I could start to really get a sense of what a dramatic change this 16 story building will have on this part of our skyline.
I crossed over on 13th and went past the Denver Art Museum into Civic Center Park. Eventually, I made my way down to 15th then went down California to 14th where signs of progress were everywhere.
At the old Republic Hotel (aka the Colonial Hotel) both the 15th Street Tavern and Denham’s Liquors have closed since the building was acquired by developer Evan Makovsky and will be demolished later this summer after the Bank of Denver building (formerly the Standish Hotel) is torn down.
A sign in the window of the now defunct 15th Street Tavern hints of a battle lost. I am sure the owners will find an even better spot to keep rockin on at. I wish them luck. More information on the entire Block 162 re-development can be found on the Denver Infill Blog postings for June 19th & 25th and July 12th.
At 14th & Stout tremendous progress has been made in demolishing the Motor Garage Hotel that will be the site of a new Embassy Suites Hotel.
14th Street will change so much in the coming years - I cannot wait to witness the transformation!
Posted in Development | 1 Comment »
Racine’s Posted by
On Saturday I walked down and had brunch at Racine’s. Located just on the edge of the Golden Triangle at 650 Sherman St., they are always packed on the weekend. I was happy to get seated right away and I am a big fan of their new space and food. Their dining room has this great combination of modern architecture, eclectic interior design and one of a kind pieces of art.
I had their High-Protein Omelet, which I really enjoyed. It was just nice to leisurely eat breakfast and read the paper in such a great place. They have a huge bar, an awesome patio that I have had brunch on before and to top that off, they even have free parking if you are not in the mood to walk. I love that they are unique to Downtown and a cool alternative to chain restaurants.
Posted in Dining | No Comments »
Bubba Gump Shrimp Company Posted by
On my way back from my meeting yesterday I noticed one of those public notice signs requesting a liquor license on a building right across from the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center. Who is requesting the license? None other than Bubba Gump Shrimp Company Restaurants Inc.!
This will be the second Bubba Gump Shrimp Company in the State but the first in Downtown. The first is in Breckenridge and I actually had lunch there just over a year ago and it was really good. Located at 1437 California Street they have extensively renovated the old building that previously served as a construction office for Hensel Phelps during the construction of the Convention Center Hotel. All of the top windows fold open like closet doors to let fresh air in.
The old motor garage behind it is being demolished for a brand new Embassy Suites Hotel that will replace the old one being converted into the Ritz Carlton Hotel & Residences.
Not only is it great for Downtown to get yet another unique dining option but they renovated an older building instead of tearing it down! I will keep you posted on their progress. I am guessing sometime in September they will be opening their doors.
Posted in Dining | 1 Comment »
All Together Now Posted by
Walking down 14th Street on my way to a meeting I came upon Downtown Denver’s newest public art installation. Extremely colorful and whimsical the piece officially is titled “All Together Now”.
Anchored by a long bright yellow bench and textured wall the piece rises up a couple of stories and looks like children’s alphabet blocks. This piece is attached to the exterior wall of the Corner Office restaurant and bar, which is across the street from the Denver Center for Performing Arts (DCPA). It was created by Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt, a Miami-based husband and wife team. You can read more in the Denver Post article from Wednesday.
This piece joins other fun public art pieces like the blue bear at the Colorado Convention Center, the toy horse & red chair at the Denver Public Library and the dancing white aliens (my term - not the official title) behind the DCPA.
These pieces only hint at how much art and culture can be found in Downtown. Personally I think this newest piece is great and will quickly become a stop for people visiting Downtown. Fun!
Posted in Civic, Culture | 1 Comment »
Crab Cakes Posted by
Last night I got to attend the grand opening gala for the Oceanaire Seafood Room. Please see the post from July 5th to read about my first experience there. Even though we got there half way through the party it was still packed. The oyster bar was full of fresh prawns and raw oysters that were delicious and amazing.
Numerous passed appetizers included my favorite lump crab cakes along with mini key lime tartlets that were to die for. There was a giant ice sculpture in front of the back bar of a sword fish. The seared Ahi tuni and crab deviled eggs I tried were really good as well.
I cannot wait to go back and have a proper dinner there! I know that they will do gang busters because besides having a great dining room and superb food, their staff is very attentive and competent. The Oceanaire has a winning combination to become a formidable force in the Downtown dining scene. They oficially open tomorrow for happy hour and dinner service. Welcome to Downtown!!
Posted in Events, Dining | No Comments »