Redevelopment vision of Denver Performing Arts Complex takes center stage

A rendering of what the Denver Performing Arts Complex could look like following plans to enliven, diversify and sustain the 12-acre complex in downtown Denver.

Mayor Michael B. Hancock and Denver Arts & Venues announced the vision plan for the Denver Performing Arts Complex.

The vision, dubbed The Next Stage, is a redevelopment plan to enliven, diversify and sustain the 12-acre complex in downtown Denver.

A new music hall, rehearsal and recording space, commercial development, expanded retail and an arts high school campus are elements of the redevelopment.

“The Next Stage vision provides a phenomenal opportunity to elevate our arts complex to become a vibrant, public regional center of cultural activity in the heart of downtown,” said Hancock. “With this vision, we will set out to realize the potential of the arts complex by better attracting diverse residents and tourists, integrating it into the neighborhood and enhancing the Galleria and Sculpture Park. I am thankful for the ELT’s and community’s commitment to create this vision together.”

The featured elements of The Next Stage are an open wedge design that offers more green space, an elevated Sculpture Park with parking beneath it, a new midsize music hall for the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and other presentations, and a number of other retail options. A memorandum of understanding has been established between Denver Arts & Venues and Denver Public Schools to study the feasibility of bringing a school of the arts to the arts complex.

“The next generation of performers, artists and patrons is growing right before our eyes in our schools,” said Susana Cordova, acting superintendent of Denver Public Schools. “We are committed to studying how our school of the arts can fit in at the arts complex because of our commitment to diversity, creativity and imagination in education.”

H3 Hardy Collaboration, under contract to Denver Arts & Venues, delivered sections of the report and renderings of what the revised complex might look like at the plan’s announcement event.

The plan was delivered by the Executive Leadership Team, a working group appointed by Hancock that studied options, needs and trends in arts over the past year. The group received input from more than 4,200 residents, as well as arts patrons, performers and presenters.

Hancock also announced a year-long funding and governance study to develop the next steps to build a plan to deliver on the vision. The funding and governance group will aim to provide its recommended plan by the end of 2016.

Work to diversify and expand the arts programming, recommended as part of The Next Stage vision, will begin almost immediately. Donations from the Boettcher Foundation and the Denver Performing Arts Complex’s largest resident company, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, will be used to seed and encourage the unique programming. New visual art will appear at the complex with the expanded programming. Denver Arts & Venues is committing $250,000 in public artworks to be installed over the next year.

“All of us at Arts & Venues are eager to build on the vision of The Next Stage,” said Kent Rice, executive director of Denver Arts & Venues. “The exciting new programming we’re about to start will further brand this city and this neighborhood as the heart of Denver’s creative and cultural life.”

Jennifer Hayes has been an editor with the CREJ since 2000. Jennifer covers multifamily and retail news in the Denver metro area plus all property types in Colorado Springs and Southern Colorado. She also covers the finance market as well as solicits bylines articles and is editor of the Health Care Properties Quarterly. Before joining…