The developer of the site that once hosted The Denver Post’s printing plant at the intersection of Interstates 25 and 70 has snagged as its anchor the new campus of the World Trade Center Denver, which had initially targeted a location in the RiNo district.
“While it was a difficult decision to move, it was an obvious one,” said Karen Gerwitz, president and
CEO of the WTC Denver, of the decision to leave a 2.1-acre development in the works at 38th Avenue and between Blake and Walnut streets.
For 27 years, WTC Denver called two towers off 16th Street and Broadway home. But the high-rises couldn’t accommodate a bigger vision the group had for offering co-working spaces, cultural amenities, lodging, restaurants and gathering spaces to an internationally-focused audience in one central location.
After narrowing down a field of more than two dozen prospects, WTC Denver in early 2016 went with developer Sean Campbell and MOTIV, who had earlier developed INDUSTRY. But the project has taken much longer than expected to come together and the scope of the initial proposal has been narrowed, especially after the pandemic.
“We were originally hoping this would open by 2019. We are hungry for it,” Gerwitz said. When she learned what Jose Carredano, head of Pure Development’s Denver arm, had in mind at Fox Park, she realized his vision was “100% aligned” with what her group was hoping to achieve.
With 41 acres, he had much more room to accomplish it, and he isn’t afraid to push forward despite the recession in commercial real estate. It also helps that the location had a transit rail stop, giving it easy access to downtown Denver and the airport.
“They were so aligned with what we were thinking,” Carredano said. “It is a great fit. We are excited to get this going to demonstrate to the world community how things can happen.”
Originally from Mexico City, Carredano and his family have completed projects at World Trade Centers in other countries. He was giving Fox Park a global focus, which would have put it in competition with what MOTIV had planned.
The former 327,000-square-foot facility where The Post printing presses once whirred will be repurposed and expanded to host the World Trade Center Denver Complex, which is set to open next year. It will include a cultural center, an International Exhibit Hall, a boutique hotel, a performing arts center, a conference center, as well as internationally-themed restaurants, retail, a fitness center, a maker space and art galleries.
The complex will serve as the centerpiece and first phase of a four-phase development that will include 2.2 million square feet of office space and 3,400 residential units. While the market will dictate how quickly it can be built out, Carredano is hoping to have it finished within 10 years.
Kathleen Fogler of Tryba Architects has designed the master plan for the development and the Denver Botanic Gardens will design and maintain 14 acres of public parks and open space, including an outdoor amphitheater and an on-site nursery. Gerwitz said Metropolitan State University will locate its performing arts program at Fox Park, providing the complex a further boost when it comes to attracting a host of internationally-focused cultural events.
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