1670 Broadway: Reinvigorating a Downtown Asset

1670 Broadway
The project features contemporary upgrades and the expansion of a downtown iconic structure. Courtesy Open Studio Architects

BUILDING DIALOGUE: Feature

The distinctive 36-story 1670 Broadway building has framed the terminus of 17th Street for over 30 years. At the completion of original construction, the Amoco building, Columbia Plaza as it was then known, provided a high standard for office properties in Denver. The office tower, space-frame winter garden and enlarged urban plaza provided a strong urban design solution coupled with new office features not previously seen in this market. The strategic office tower placement at the terminus of the downtown street grid continues to serve as an iconic bookend expression to downtown Denver.

al colussy

Al Colussy, AIA
Alan Colussy Architecture LLC

In 2018, Colorado new business filings hit a record high. With the influx of new businesses moving to the city, many building owners in the downtown area are investing in capital improvements to not only attract new tenants, but add amenities to retain their current tenants. Long-term property owner UBS (which sold the property last month) felt it necessary to update the property with enhancements to the office environment and workplace amenities. An architectural study revealed that many elements of the existing building were not easily or cost-effectively adapted to house the proposed new features. This conclusion resulted in a project design that proposed removing the existing space-frame winter garden and essentially the first three levels of the building, and rebuilding a new, highly efficient, four-story podium addition. This podium provides an updated strong architectural expression and new entrance to the iconic tower.

mike robinson

Mike Robinson LEED AP, Associate DBIA
Senior Preconstruction Manager, The Weitz Co.

The podium resets the usable functions of the base building by carefully dovetailing these into the existing tower. The resulting enhanced office and amenity functions provide a vibrant and contemporary office environment and includes new ground-floor retail space, a rooftop deck, conference space, café and food service, and a fitness center. The multifunctional podium design creates a great set of experiences for both the building occupants as well the surrounding urban neighborhood. The building’s main tenant, TIAA, recognized UBS’ objective with the upgrades and decided to keep and expand its Colorado headquarters at this location.

The design team for this project is a collaborative effort of two strong Denver-based design firms, Alan Colussy Architecture and open studio architecture. ACA and OSA led an experienced team of consultants to design and engineer the podium into the existing building. Judy Anderson, general manager asset services lead for Cushman & Wakefield, provided more than 30 years of direct experience with this property, providing a very beneficial knowledge base for the design team. Cushman & Wakefield also provided project management services for UBS. TIAA became a contributing team member for this project as well.

The Weitz Co. served another key role in the project, providing preconstruction and construction management services through the timely completion of the project. Weitz was instrumental in providing clear and accurate budgeting early in the project, which was essential in the early design stages. This approach created a seamless design that stayed within 2 percent of the original budget through construction completion. (Of note, Al Cohen Construction, the predecessor firm to The Weitz Co., built the initial project in 1980.)

All members of the team were tasked to efficiently advance the project while keeping the property fully functional, which required extensive phasing to ensure public accessibility and safety at all times. The existing office population needs did not subside during the construction phase.

The property is located near numerous modes of public transportation, including light rail, the 16th Street mall shuttle, the MetroRide circular shuttle and the recently opened Civic Center Station. It is also in close proximity to hundreds of walkable amenities serving the central business district.

The rebuilt property is a valuable contributor to the downtown urban experience for the next millennium. It serves as an excellent case study in team project management, design and construction services completing a very challenging project and resetting a premier real estate assent for UBS and Denver.

Published in the September 2018 issue of Building Dialogue.

Edited by Building Dialogue