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Swinerton Builders break ground on WTC Denver campus

The building’s façade is mostly curtain wall, whose extrusions project from the glazing and provide another unique architectural feature.

Swinerton Builders recently began demolition and site prep work in order to go vertical later this year on the World Trade Center Denver (hotel, office and parking structure), which will be in the River North neighborhood. Formativ, a Denver-based real estate development firm specializing in transformative mixed-use and commercial projects, and Memphis, Tennessee-based Kemmons Wilson Cos., are co-owners and developers of the 240,000-square-foot hospitality tower. Golub & Co., based in Chicago with a local office in RiNo, is partnering with Formativ on the 350,000-sf office building.

OZ Architecture designed the project, which is expected to be delivered in 2021.

According the architect, the design inspiration for the WTC project was to blend global and local, “specifically the coupling of the immediate industrial and arts heritage of RiNo with accommodation for travelers of all cultures,” said Rick Petersen, FAIA, LEED AP, principal, OZ Architecture. The WTC Hotel and Conference Center is also inspired by its role within the broader WTC Denver campus, and therefore “projects a stature and identity of durability and inspiration that compliments its neighboring office building and active open spaces between the buildings,” according to Petersen.

The RiNo Arts District plays a central role in the design.

“The design reflects the richness of material, color, form and scale that we all love in our RiNo home,” Petersen said. “With specific regard to the arts, we’re excited about the project’s role to support local artistic expression, and to that end we’ve identified many ‘canvases,’ both inside and outside, in obvious and surprising places.

“In addition to installations by local artists in unexpected places, I’m excited for visitors to discover the hotel’s varied social spaces, including year-round outdoor areas that capitalize on our unique climate,” Petersen continued. Guests also will enter their rooms to find unfolding panoramic views to the Rockies while RiNo sits in the foreground.

“The World Trade Center Denver campus provides an incredible hospitality opportunity for its tenants and the RiNo neighborhood,” stated Sean Campbell, CEO of Formativ. “Partnering with a stalwart like KWC raises the bar for the World Trade Center Denver hotel and conference center; we’re thrilled to have such acclaimed operators and visionaries on our team.”

“It’s an exciting time to be entering the hotel market in Denver,” stated McLean Wilson, a principal of KWC and president of Valor Hospitality. “To partner on a project like World Trade Center Denver is an incredible opportunity for our team, and we’re looking forward to building off of the foundation already built by Formativ and bring our expertise in hotel development and management to deliver an amazing project in the RiNo neighborhood.”

Asked about any site challenges anticipated, Chad Holajter, Swinerton project executive, said, “As the general contractor, site logistics is one of our biggest challenges of building in the RiNo neighborhood. Our goal is to deliver a high-quality project that is welcomed by the community. To overcome this challenge, we will stay in close contact with neighboring projects to minimize our impact on the neighborhood.

“The site itself, while it sits at 2.5 acres, is not as large as it may seem,” Holajter said. “With three structures planned for the site, nearly all of the acreage is occupied with buildings. We have a strong logistics plan in place to help us achieve our construction goals.”

The World Trade Center Denver hotel and conference center will feature 240-plus rooms, 20,000 sf of conference space, with a ballroom suited for more than 600 attendees. The oversized, Blake Street-facing lobby, programmed as a community gathering hub with varied food and beverage concepts, is complimented by the third floor, 8,000-sf amenity deck and bar with expansive mountain views. The activated pedestrian alley between the office and hotel tower will allow for large-scale community events and programming in concert with the RiNo Art District and office tenants. With its adjacency to the 38th and Blake A-Line commuter rail stop, guests and visitors will easily be able to access both Union Station/downtown Denver and Denver International Airport, in a 4-minute or 30-minute ride, respectively.

KWC has a 70-plus-year history in hotel development and management, in partnership with Valor Hospitality, which operates all KWC hotel assets.

Published in the April 15-May 5, 2020, issue of CREJ.

Kris Oppermann Stern is publisher and editor of Building Dialogue, a Colorado Real Estate Journal publication, and editor of CREJ's construction, design, and engineering section, including news and bylined articles. Building Dialogue is a quarterly, four-color magazine that caters specifically to the AEC industry, including features on projects and people, as well as covering trends…