Larimer Square Owners Propose Large-Scale Redevelopment
When Larimer Square was designated as Denver’s first historic district in 1971, it became the inspiration for Denver’s preservation movement and a national success story. Recently, Larimer Associates and Urban Villages, the owners of Larimer Square, announced their plans to redevelop Larimer Square, adding two towers on top of portions of buildings on both sides of Larimer Street. In late April the owners decided to pause this proposal and form an Advisory Committee to engage the community. Historic Denver has been invited to participate.
Larimer Associates and Urban Villages have presented a redevelopment plan that calls for two major additions to Larimer Square: a tower as high as 40 stories on the downtown side of the block, and another large building up to 10 stories on the LoDo side. These new structures would be built behind and over the existing buildings and along the alleys, though their large size would envelop existing courtyards and would require partial demolition to several of the historic buildings. The buildings would include a hotel, residential units (for-sale condominiums and apartments), commercial/retail space, and parking.
Key Issues of Concern
Historic Denver has deep concerns about the redevelopment project, including:
- The partial demolition of several of the historic district’s buildings.
- The severe harm to the historic context and human-scale of the buildings on Larimer Square.
- Amending the nearly 50-year old legal protections and design guidelines that created the historic district and have since guided
the block’s evolution.
- The potential threats to the legal protections for the rest of Denver’s hundreds of historic buildings and districts.
Historic Denver’s Role
Historic Denver, along with community stakeholders, has committed to engage with Larimer Square owners to address the challenges they have identified for the district’s future, including the costs of maintenance and infrastructure, and Larimer Square’s market positioning in a rapidly growing and changing Denver.
Historic Denver will regularly post updates here on this page. Also, stay up to date on Larimer Square by following Historic Denver on Facebook and Twitter.
National Register of Historic Places Nomination of Larimer Square, expanded in 1994. Click HERE to read.
Local Historic District Ordinance (1971), Click “ORDINANCE Larimer Sq (1974)” to read.
“Focus on Larimer Square – Again” Historic Denver Spring 2018 newsletter. Click here to read.
Larimer Square Timeline
1858 – Denver City Town Company established. The first cabin constructed in Denver, housing General William Larimer, where the current day Granite Building is located
1861 – Colorado Territory was created
1900 – Businesses began leaving Larimer Street to relocate on 16th and 17th Streets
1930s – 50s – With business and people leaving Larimer Street and a declining economy, Larimer becomes skid row
1950s – 60s – Larimer Square is threatened by Denver Urban Renewal Authority
1963 – Dana Crawford gathered a group of investors, Larimer Associates, to begin buying one building at a time and restore for a new use
1971 – Larimer Square becomes Denver’s first Historic District
1990s – Restoration on a few of the Larimer Square buildings
1994 – National Register of Historic Places designation expanded