Swinerton In the News

Swinerton Builders Colorado: November 11, 2014

Architectural Upgrades Improve Building Perceptions

According to the Downtown Denver Partnership, there is currently in excess of 2.6-million square feet of new office space either under construction or planned for downtown Denver.

As new product comes into the market and downtown office and retail rents remain high, many building owners with older properties are looking for cost effective ways to reposition their product to retain and attract tenants.  Perception is reality for existing properties, and modifying the perception of a building can make a tremendous impact by bringing back the competitive edge and preference in the marketplace that is needed to compete with entirely new spaces.

One of the ways to accomplish this building repositioning is through architectural “skin” upgrades.  Installation of new building envelope or skin elements such as high efficiency curtain wall, stone and metal panels can replace dated architectural elements and define entryways.  These improvements can reactivate adjacent outdoor spaces to enhance public space, improve access and security as well as street appeal.  Other renovation components can then play off of the new exterior elements to update the look of plazas, lobbies and elevators to improve the tenant experience. Renovations of this nature can be economically viable and stimulate significant return on investment for the property owner. 

Updates Invigorate 17th Street Properties
Swinerton Builders is currently working on a project for Crescent Real Estate Holdings who is taking this repositioning approach far beyond a new coat of paint and new artwork!  The phased renovation of the 707 17th Street building and the Johns Manville Plaza building at 717 17th Street have increased pedestrian convenience and brought natural light into the spaces.  To enhance the perception of these buildings, new lobbies provide access from 18th and Stout Street, raised metal canopies allow in more natural light, and new high efficiency glazing systems create a connection between the renovated interior space and the newly landscaped plaza space.  These renovations also provide spaces for future retail and associated business opportunities.

Crescent has taken an aggressive approach working with Davis Partnership and Swinerton to increase the convenience for their tenants while maximizing the opportunity to include green technology and increase building efficiency.  New property amenities include a large bike room with lockers and gear storage areas that make the building more convenient for tenants riding to work and add an element of building sustainability.  Increased seating in the updated plaza area provides places for enjoying Denver’s beautiful weather.  New restaurant infrastructure, including gas and grease services and increased mechanical and electrical capacity, will attract restaurant tenants to take advantage of the location and help re-activate the street level.   

New Look for 1600 Broadway
Another property that has adopted a plan for repositioning is the Colorado State Bank Building at 1600 Broadway.  Swinerton is working in partnership with building owner LBA Realty, architect Gensler and exterior wall panel specialist Gen 3 Construction to “re-skin” the 27-story building to update its architecture.  The project is designed to integrate an aluminum composite panel that will cover the existing precast façade to create a modern look and raise the perception of the building.

Logistics and timing are challenges associated with this type of renovation, yet a thoughtful project approach inclusive of all project partners mitigates safety concerns and impacts to tenants and pedestrians.   For example, specifically engineered swing stage scaffolding provide access for construction workers at 1600 Broadway so that the composite panels are safely installed on the building’s exterior in a manner that minimally impacts existing building tenants and pedestrians below. 

The key to ultimate project success happens when the building’s ownership works collaboratively with the architect and contractor early in the planning phase to select products and details that are not only attractive, efficient and cost effective, but systems that are constructible in a manner that is efficient on site to minimize the disruption to tenants and allow a safe interaction between the construction activity and tenants.

With many new office options becoming a reality in the next few years, owners of existing buildings will need to find creative ways to maintain and attract tenants seeking Class A space.  Repositioning an asset with architectural upgrades achieves this goal and provides an economic boost for the building owner, retail operations and the immediate area.

By Jared Hoeflich (for the Colorado Real Estate Journal)