Colorado's intense heat wave and dry spell has abated a bit, although we are still almost three inches (about 40%) below normal for rainfall for the year.
The construction industry seems to have finally recovered in Denver. Cranes, not as many as at the peak, but plenty, have popped up across the city. St. Joseph's Hospital has a major new project underway in Uptown, Union Station's ongoing redesign as a FasTracks hub has heavy machinery moving, and the new RTD West line is set to open in April. The new appellate court building and Colorado attorney general's office is going up. The new Colorado History Muesem, Denver jail, Denver criminal court house, and Denver zoo renovations are just coming on line. The Fitzsimmons Medical Complex continues to grow like kudzoo. National Jewish Hospital has finished the demolition of the city block sized former Gove School site and is now working on building its own improvements there. The Beyers School (formerly Denver School of the Arts) complex renovations are about to take start. Street repairs are in progress everywhere. The reconstruction of the Valley Highway part of I-25 is moving forward after long and hard efforts by Diana DeGette and the Colorado delegation generally to make it happen. Washington Park's trail system is being tweaked. The Denver Convention Center has managed to fence in a little bit of its green space to serve as a locale for catered events. Mayor Hancock has thwarted the efforts of "Occupy Denver" in part by doing work at Civic Center. All of these projects from the public and non-profit sectors are providing a lot of what is buoying the construction economy in Denver, especially at the scale of big projects.
There are private sector projects too, of course. A huge new luxury apartment building with ground floor shops is going up at the corner of University and Evans immediately across the street from the University of Denver campus. A new retail complex next to the Hilton Gardens hotel in Glendale is going up. A new Target location is going up near Tamarac square replacing a dead mall and movie theater. I have clients working on a new downtown Denver hotel, a new apartment complex in the North suburbs of Denver, and on a smaller scale, a few new apartments in one of Denver's old urban residential neighborhoods. The Denver Post reports that building permit activity is up. Here and there you can see union picket lines pronouncing shame on this or that building contracting company.
One by one vacant retail spaces are filling up in the never ending process of creative destruction. The hole left by the two Blockbuster franchises that once sat at 6th and Grant have been replaced by a Sushi restaurant, Cosmos Pizza (one of the best new pizza producers in town on an old school model), and a frozen yogurt shop. A failed thrift shop near the Esquire movie theater is being replaced by an independent video store, a necessity given that there is now only one, ratty, ill patronized Blockbluster store in the entire City and County and kiosks, Netflix, the Denver Public Library, and Hulu all have flawed selections of movies. My neighborhood as seen Cafe/Bar succeed where a Vietnamese restaurant and used book store failed, a new high end Italian restaurant (La Scalia) where there was once a weekly dinner assembly storefront, a new breakfast place and local gym in a the real estate of yet another dead Blockbuster, and a Larkburger franchise. After a gloomy moment or two at the Cherry Creek Mall with many TBA storefronts, the holes in the mall are starting to fill in with new shops and other shops are spilling out into Cherry Creek North which against all logic and reason given that most of the botiques sell expensive, useless stuff, the parking is only so so, and the space is almost too big to be walkable, is somehow thriving - my favorite coffee shop, Avianos, managed to find a new home there as well after being booted out of the Beauvillon on Broadway by an insane common space owner who foreclosed when construction defects maimed its financial viability.