River Arts North [aka the RiNo District]- Denver’s premier arts revitalization story

My evaluation uses the small geography for River North (aka RiNo) from the Platte River to Larimer St but all the way down to 20th St and up to 38th st and thus includes much of the Ballpark District.

RiNo is a newer neighborhood name that grew out of the arts revitalization of a previously industrial area. But RiNo is actually a combination of parts of several neighborhoods including the Ballpark District, 5 Points, and  Globeville. The revitalization of RiNo started in the 1990s as artists were inspired by the frayed industrial environment and converted many old industrial spaces and garages into workspaces. It was a gritty and interesting place with the South Platte River running through it, full of vacant lots and vast swaths of junkyard . Now RiNo has, like many American arts revitalization efforts, become popular and its Denver’s fasting growing neighborhood with new apartment buildings sprouting up everyone.

As an urbanist I generally feel this is the natural and positive movement that reclaims underperforming and desolate industrial space back into the wholesome urban fabric of a City. But many lament that it creates gentrification and a loss of authenticity.  Regardless, the scale of new bldgs and housing in RiNo is staggering and something to learn from. I particular like the mixed-use character of RiNo-‘s revitalization efforts and seamless connection to Dwtn/Union Station. RiNo also has excellent public and bike infrastructure and wonderful cultural amenities thanks to the still thriving arts scene. Amazingly there is still more room for urban infill here and urban connectivity could be improved. Schools are also utterly lacking thanks to a few children living here & tree canopy is thin thanks to the industrial legacy.

Click here to view my RiNo album on Flickr


* Great ADA infrastructure except for some industrial areas where the sidewalk got torn up.
* Very convenience access to Dwtn. Some parts of RiNo and within 1 mile of the CBD/Union Station,
* Great public transit and bike infrastructure.
* Pretty good racial diversity here.
* Generally a very safe district. Still some gritty and desolate spots.
* Lots of apartments available and generally on the expensive. Fair amount of “Moderately priced” studios and 1-beds but they sell anywhere from 1.3K-3K. 2-beds lease btwn 1.3K- mid 3Ks. 3-beds are limited and lease in the 3 & 4 Ks.
* Great cultural amenities here including a wide range of Ford & Beverage stores, the ballpark, tons of art galleries, a handful of museums, lots of live music venues & night clubs and a couple theaters. All great access to all the Dwtn Cultural amenities.
* Good park amenities including the Platte Recreational Trail, the large Cuernavaca Park,  the new Arts Park, and the Globeville Landing Park
* Great retail amenities including lots of boutique & clothing’s stores (Some brand name), a couple major supermarkets and a Co-Op, several drug stores, several home goods and gift shops, plenty of banks, a public library, a couple book stores, tons of salons, gyms, and dessert stores, and some churches. Great access to all the Dwtn retail amenities as well.
* Great urban infill throughout.


* So  density thanks to all the industrial land and railways still remaining in the RiNo district.
* Connectivity is a mix bag. Its good near the stadium and the eastern half of the district but becomes rather poor closes to the river in the previously industrial areas.
*So so economic diversity and horrible generational diversity as this is a very heavy young professional district.
* No walkable schools within the RiNo district. A handful of options in the adjacent Curtis Park neighborhood.
* For sale options are expensive but good amount of 1-bed condos available. Those sell btwn 400K-850K, 2-beds btwn 500K & low 1Ms, 3 & 4 beds btwn 600K and 1.5 M.
* With its industrial legacy tree canopy isn’t great right now but will get better as there are 100s of new trees being planted with the new developments.
* Limited historic infill.

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