In an effort to replace older repurposed Denver Public School buildings, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has arranged with the Metropolitan Football Stadium District to purchase a 2.9 acre parking lot at the corner of W. Howard Place and Federal Blvd to construct a new headquarters building. The building is five-stories and 175,000 square feet in size. It will house more than 700 CDOT employees and also have a 500 car parking garage, which can double as game-day Bronco parking.
The proposed new site is a unique location. Across the street from the Decatur Light Rail Station and the Lakewood Gulch/South Platte River system of trails, as well as adjacent to the Federal and W Colfax cloverleaf. While most large employers would enjoy and see great value of being located in such a versatile site, the placement of such a large building and employee-base raises several issues that should be addressed.
For example, a large governmental employer as an office use is inconsistent with the recently adopted Station Area Plan for the Sun Valley community, which recommends this site as mixed use (residential, retail, office). Also, the Station Area Plan recommends developing design alternatives for the replacement of the cloverleaf. Accompanying this recommendation, the plan suggests the formation of public/private partnerships with new adjacent development interests to fund redesign and cloverleaf replacement efforts. Is this possibility on the table? Lastly, with the opening of the Decatur Federal Light Rail Station, pedestrian safety at the adjoining Howard Pl and Federal intersection is very poor. Adding another 700+ people to this intersection seems precarious at best. This intersection is in dire need of reanalysis and implementation of pedestrian safety improvements.
There are benefits to the new project. Local restaurants and retail should benefit from the new staffing complement associated with the building, including the visitors who frequent CDOT. Hopefully, CDOT will also work with staff in utilizing the adjacent transit and trail availability for promoting alternate “non-personal vehicular” transportation modes.
For additional information about this project, see several of the posts written about it at the DenverInfill Blog.