It’s not news that Denver’s River North neighborhood (a.k.a. RiNo) is experiencing a surge in activity. But beyond the new airport rail stop at 38th and Blake opening in April 2016, the spin of rumors of new corporate offices in redeveloped industrial buildings, or the prices dropped on the latest land deals, RiNo is enjoying a convergence of significant public, semi-public, and private activities. The below listing will enhance urban design, quality of life, affordability, and development opportunities for years to come.
RiNo Public/Private Activities:
- Business Improvement and General Improvement Districts (BID & GID respectively) approved by voters in the Fall of 2015. The BID and the GID are up and running, with an Executive Director (Jamie Licko). Their initial operating budget, generated in part by a tax levy on land values, is about $1MM. This will surely increase with property values. With sitting boards representing landowners and business owners, they represent a fantastic tool to positively influence AND fund redevelopment of the neighborhood’s industrial buildings and infrastructure needs.
- A proposal for incentivized upzoning to allow for more dense development. Allowable building heights are contemplated to increase within a half-mile of the train station, in exchange for public goals such streetscape infrastructure, affordable housing, and artist’s space. This plan is being led by Councilperson Albus Brooks and the City’s Community Planning & Development Department. Legislation is scheduled to be prepped and adopted between February and August of 2016,
- Links to the huge National Western redevelopment, supported by the North Denver Cornerstone Collaborative (NDCC) and various City departments. National Western’s 10-year, $1BB redevelopment will include facilities and related amenities linked directly to RiNo by transit, regional parking plans, bike paths, and parkways.
- Platte River Promenade Planning. As the east side of the river becomes developed between 29th and National Western, the opportunity to repurpose Arkins street along it has come into focus. While the financial contributions have not been finalized, kudos must go out to City agencies, the NDCC, and the Greenway Foundation for chasing this amazing opportunity to create a generous and active outdoor space.
- A strong neighborhood organization, known as the RiNo Arts District (http://www.rivernorthart.com) is led by Andrew Feinstein of EXDO Properties, and Chandler Romeo. They are hard at work with the City, BID, and GID developing design standards for new development, and staying active within development planning.
- Significant City Public Works Infrastructure investments, consisting of street reconstruction along Brighton Boulevard and 38th Street, on top of substantial drainage infrastructure.
- A creative, innovative, and can-do spirit looking to leverage the artsy, industrial feel and special character of the neighborhood. From creation of the RiNo logo by Jill Hadley Hooper, to the pursuit of art at locations through design review, few ideas are left unexplored. The zoning incentives (#2 above) and design guidelines (#5 above) may be used to enhance the industrial legacy. Other character-defining opportunities include the rail tracks, pedestrian-only streets and bridges, loading docks, historic landmarks, drainage infrastructure, mountain and downtown views, and street kiosks.