Capitol Hill was originally home to Denver’s elite who constructed many elaborate mansions here. When the Denver economy crashed after the Silver Crash of 1893, Capitol Hill’s housing transition to more modest homes and apartment buildings. The neighborhood remained middle-class until the 50s. At that time Capitol Hill became pretty seedily with lots of transients. Colfax Avenue also suffered in the 50s & 60s with the construction of I-70 and went into a downward spiral.
Fortunately Capitol Hill’s fabric remained intact and its affordability, urban character and eclectic architecture appealed to young bohemians, artists, musicians leading to a gradual gentrification that reached its height during the 2000s. Rents have increased significantly over the past decade but Capitol Hill still retains many of its moderately priced rentals and condos thanks to more many dated mid-century multi-family bldgs. While Colfax Ave has certainly improved, it still retains much of its historic grittiness and some blight. Many urban in-fill opportunities exist along Colfax Ave.
Capitol Hill is one of Denver’s most dense neighborhoods and is conveniently located about 1.5 miles from Downtown. This has created a very mixed-use and culturally vibrant community where one can get around easily by any mode of transit. The two main areas I’d especially like to see improve are better schools and a larger multi-generational population. Capitol Hill is very much a young professional district. There are also some surface lots on the western edge that need urban in-fill and park amenities could be better.
* One of Denver’s most dense districts. * Overall excellent ADA infrastructure. * Excellent public transit close to Colfax. Decent further south in the neighborhood. * Great connectivity in the street grid. * Good array of bike shares but only one dedicated bike lane in the neighborhood. * Very convenient access to Dwtn across all modes of transportation. * Great economic diversity. Decent racial diversity. * Hsg on the pricey but a ton of moderately price condos. Studios & 1 beds sell anywhere btwn 200K-700K, 2-beds 250K-low 1Ms, 3 & 4 beds btwn 350-1.5M with condos being on the cheaper end. * Tons of rentals and comparatively moderately priced comparted to other Denver neighborhoods. Studios 1-beds lease anywhere in the 1Ks, 2-beds 1.5K to 2.5K, 3-beds are limited and lease around 3K. Good # of dedicated aff. hsg here. * Great cultural amenities including many food & beverage businesses, several art galleries, plenty of night clubs, a couple local theaters, lot of live music venues, tons of museums and historic homes (esp. when you include the Golden Triangle). * Good retail amenities including a couple grocery stores & drug stores, several boutiques, home good & creative stores, a bookstore, some banks, and gyms, & dessert venues. There is also a Children’s hospital and many churches here. * Great mixed-use fabric including lots of office space near dwtn. * Overall quality urban architecture both old and new. * Some auto centric spots along Colfax, Lincoln, and Broadway but overall very good urban form
* Generational diversity is limited. Most residents are childless young adults. * Good # of schools here but very mixed ratings. * Parks are limited to a couple parkettes, the State House/Civic Center Park, and decent access to Cheesman Park. * Generally a safe district but it does have some grit and sketchy spots on Colfax and 13th Street. * Decent tree canopy but below average for Denver. * Some surface parking lots on the western edge of Capitol Hill.
The Cheesman Park neighborhood is one Denver’s older districts with City plats dating as far back as 1868. By 1883 the district was annexed into Denver and the neighborhood was filled in by about 1910. The neighborhood revolves around its namesake Cheesman Park, which was completed by 1915. The park and the Denver Botanic Gardens replaced the old Prospect Hill Cemetery. Thanks to this great asset many mansions where built here for the City’s elite yet by the 1930s many apartment buildings were constructed and replaced the historic mansions. The densification of the district continued into the 1960s as more and more apartments were constructed.
Because of the construction of many apartment buildings between 1930s-1960s, Cheesman Park hosts many affordable apartments and condos buildings that mix in well with higher end single family homes. The district also has great access to Dwtn and good public transit access. Areas that could improve include better ADA and bike infrastructure, more racial and generational density, better schools access, and urban infill along Colfax Avenue, which feels rather auto centric and lacks retail amenities.
* Excellent urban density. * Convenient access to Dwtn. * Great connectivity here. * Wonderful economic diversity here. * Hsg on the pricey but a good amount of moderately price condos. Studios & 1 beds sell anywhere btwn 200K-700K, 2-beds 300K-1M, 3 & 4 beds btwn 450-2M with condos being on the cheaper end. * Decent # of rentals and comparatively moderately expensive to other Denver neighborhoods. 1-beds lease anywhere in the 1ks, 2-beds 1.5K to 2.5K, 3-beds in the 4 & 5Ks but few of them. * Wonderful access to park amenities as Cheesman park sits in the middle of the district and comprises about 1/3 of the neighborhood. The park has very diverse amenities too. City Park is also not too far away. * Good cultural amenities including a good array of restaurants, bars, night clubs, and cafes. There is also a performing arts center, indie theater, a couple historic homes, and the Denver Botanical Garden. * Good but not great retail amenities including a supermarket, a couple pharmacies, a bookstore, a couple antiques stores, several banks, several dessert & gyms and a local post office. A couple major hospitals are only 1/2 mile north of here. * Very attractive historic architecture and generally good urban in-fill with the modern towers. * Excellent tree canopy.
* Good but not great ADA infrastructure as only 1/2 of the curb cuts are up to modern standards. * Good but not great public transit access. Much better in the northern half than southern half. * A bit of a dead spot for bike infrastructure in the Inner City. Few dedicated bike lanes. Decent access to the City’ bike share. * Limited racial and generational diversity. * Generally a very safe community although some crime appears to occur in the park itself. * No schools within Cheesman Park but a couple good ones on nearby. * Colfax Avenue is pretty autocentric along its stretch touching Cheesman Park.
I included the small neighborhood between Colfax and City Park in the Congress Park neighborhood as this area is too small to evaluate on its own.
By the late 1880s, the air quality in Denver had pushed the population to the outskirts of town and cable car improvements made the eastern sections of the Capitol Hill neighborhood more accessible to the middle class. Congress Park was platted into more than ten subdivisions between 1887 and 1888 as part of this growth and incorporated into the City of Denver. While originally known as Capitol Heights, the Congress Park name has been used since the 1970s.
This is a solid district from an urban perspective with its 3 commercial districts along Colfax, Colorado Blvd. and the very mixed-use 12th Avenue. Congress Park also has solid public transit & bike access, good parks, great cultural and good retail amenities, and a good amount of affordable apartments and condos thanks to its numerous mid-century buildings.
Major deficiencies in Congress Park include a lack of racial and generational diversity, some autocentric gaps along Colfax & Colorado Blvd. and lacking a walkable public library.
* Great sidewalk and good ADA infrastructure although with a fair amount of outdated curb cuts. * Wonderfully connected street network. * Good economic diversity. * Over a very safe community. * Decent # of walkable schools here or nearby and well rated. * Decent # of rentals and comparatively moderately expensive to other Denver neighborhoods. 1-beds lease anywhere in the 1ks, 2-beds low 1Ks to 3K, 3-beds in the high 2Ks to 4K. * Hsg on the pricey but a good amount of moderately price condos. Studios & 1 beds sell anywhere btwn 200K-1M, 2-beds 300K-1M, 3 & 4 beds btwn 500-2M with condos being on the cheaper end. * Good park amenities with City Park on the northern border, Chessman park on the western and Congress park filled with athletic courts and a pool. * Great tree canopy. * Great cultural amenities including many restaurants, cafes, & bars, a couple breweries and art galleries, a major cineplex & and an indie theater, and several music venues. Also good access to several museums in City Park and the Denver Botanical Gardens to the west. * Good retail amenities too including a Trader’s Joe and a couple grocerias, a couple drug stores, several boutiques & creative stores a bookstore, a hardware store, a post office, and several dessert and gyms stores. There is also a major hospital here.
* No public library in Congress Park. * So racial and generational diversity. * Generally good modern in-fill but still some autocentric development along Colorado Blvd. and Colfax. * Good but not great public transit access. Same with bike infrastructure as there are a couple dedicated bike lanes and some bike shares available.
The Cherry Creek area was originally called Harman, which was annexed into Denver in 1895. The low lying area around the Cherry Creek was the legacy of black homesteaders,. By the 20s Cherry Creek was considered a suburb and still largely African-American. In 1950 a couple of major improvements occurred: a dam was built, which significantly reduced regular flooding and the neighborhood dump was removed and redeveloped as the first edition of the Cherry Creek Mall. By 1990, the mall was replaced with high-end outlets and department stores that upped the area’s prestige. Cherry Creek also began to densify in the 1990s especially along the main commercial centers of First, Second, and Third Avenues becoming more mixed-use medium sized structures. Most of the older single family homes have also been rebuilt as a mix of very high end SF homes and townhomes.
From an urban perspective, I generally view Cherry Creek’s densification as a positive force but unfortunately this came with limited new affordable housing creating a pretty homogenous high-end community. But Cherry Creek does host some of the best cultural and retail amenities outside of Dwtn plus solid bike & public transit access along with quality park amenities. From an urban form perspective Cherry Creek does well but still has some pretty autocentric stretches that should be redeveloped.
* Good public transit access and pretty convenient access to Dwtn among all modes of transit. * Great connectivity in the street grid. * Quality bike infrastructure here. * This is a very safe community. * Solid park amenities include recreational trails along Cherry Creek, the multi-faceted Pulaski Park, and James Manley Park. * Sidewalk infrastructure is good but about 1/3 of curb cuts are outdated. * Great cultural amenities including tons of restaurants, night clubs, bars, cafes, plenty of art galleries, a cineplex, and some live music venues. * Some of the best retail amenities in a Denver neighborhood including the extensive Cherry Creek Shopping Center that includes tons and shops and several dept stores, a couple supermarkets, a couple drug stores, lots of boutiques, home goods, & clothing stores, plenty of banks, gyms, & dessert joints, and a large medical center.. There is also a suburb shopping mall on the SE edge of the district with a Target & lots of other stores. * Most of the neighborhood is built after WWII and the architecture is generally urban. * Very mixed-use district.
* Decent density. * Diversity is pretty low across all indicators especially generational and economic. * Hsg is certainly on the expensive end. Wide range of pricing for 1-bed condos selling anywhere from 225K-1.4M, 2-beds 375K-2 M., 3 & 4 beds 700K-5M even with some more expensive product. * Rentals are all very expensive. Studios & 1-beds lease btwn 1.5K- mid 3Ks, 2-beds 2K-4K, 3 -beds 3K-6K. * Better walkable schools access than most Denver neighborhoods including several well rated schools. But not great. * Limited historic architecture. * Generally good urban massing but a fair amount of auto centric stretches too.
Country Club is a mostly residential neighborhood developed between around 1900-1940s. The district hosts some of the best historic mansions in Denver and is a very high-end enclave of the City. The district also has convenient access to Dwtn and the mixed-use Cherry Creek district to its east. It excels as a very safe community, great tree canopy, solid bike infrastructure and public transit access and wonderful set of tree lined boulevards.
But Country Club does lack a lot of important urban features including a decent urban biz district, good density, plentiful walkable schools, diverse and affordable housing, and quality park amenities. I’d certainly love to see more mixed-use development and density here. Just not sure if the current zoning permits it.
* Decent public transit access but still good access to Dwtn. * solid bike infrastructure including a couple dedicated bike lanes and decent access to bike rentals. * Great generational diversity as many families with kids live here. * Good sidewalk and solid ADA infrastructure but about 1/2 curb cuts are not up to modern standards. * Very safe community. * Excellent Tree Canopy. * Wonderful set of tree line boulevards. * Excellent Historic homes here, many of them mansion.
* Below average density for an urban area. * Poor racial and very poor economic diversity. Generally a very white and affluent district. * Several well rated schools in and around Country Club but too few too be considered a major walkable asset for Country Club. * Rentals are very limited here and pricey, which helps explain the limited income diversity. * For sale options are expensive and limited. Really no 1-bedroom options. 2-beds range btwn 500K-1M. 3 & 4 beds btwn 500K-3M + * Okay park amenities including little Cheesman park, the expansive Cheesman Park just north, and the private Denver Country Club. Also Alamo Placita Park a couple places west. * Okay cultural amenities including a handful of restaurants, bars & cafes, a indie theater. Country Club is adjacent to the many cultural & retail amenities of Cherry Park to its east. * Slightly better retail amenities including 2 supermarkets, a couple drug stores, a couple boutiques & home good stores, a couple banks, and a couple churches. The cherry Creek Shopping Center and lots of other retail amenities sit just east of the district.. * Not much newer in fill but what does exist is generally decent.
The first subdivision of the Baker neighborhood was platted along Santa Fe Dr. south of W. Sixth Ave. in 1872, and residential development took off throughout the district in the 1880s. The part of the neighborhood north of Alameda Ave. was annexed into the city of Denver in 1883. More than 80 percent of the neighborhood was developed by 1900. Much of the neighborhood’s historic housing is being preserved thanks to its historic district designation in 2000.
Baker’s historically has been a major Hispanic enclave including half of its residents. The Hispanic population is now closer to 30% but Baker remains a very diverse community as many Asians and Blacks have moved into the neighborhood.
Baker boasts quality urbanism thanks to great public transit access, a robust biz district along Broadway and other mixed-use areas, and solid bike infrastructure. To be a premier urban district Baker needs better density, more walkable schools and park amenities, and the redevelopment of the suburban power center at its southern edge.
* Good sidewalk infrastructure but ADA curb cuts are generally dated, especially on residential streets. * Great public transit access thanks to decent access to the rail lines that run through the district. * Decent bike infrastructure with a patchwork of bike lanes and lots of bike share options. * Good diversity all around , esp. racial and economic. Large Native American and Hispanic populations living here. * Very cute historic homes great historic commercial along Broadway. * Solid urban infill along Broadway. Large suburban power center in the southern end of the district. Blah industrial along the western edge. * Great cultural amenities including many restaurants, cafes, bars, & breweries, live music venues, concentrated along Broadway and Santa Fe. Also an indie movie theater and several art galleries here. * Good retail amenities albeit often in power centers including a Safeway, Home Depot, Sam’s Club, plenty of boutiques, gift stores, & creative shops along Broadway, a couple book stores, several home goods shops esp. in the Denver Design Center, several gyms and dessert venues, a public library & post office, and several churches.
* So density. * Some schools in and around Baker but generally not rated well. * Good # of rentals but on the pricy side. Studios 1-beds lease btwn low 1Ks to mid 2Ks, 2-beds high 1Ks -mid3K. Some 3-beds available generally leasing in the 3Ks. * For sale properties are also expensive but decent variety and a good # of 1-beds and 2 beds in the district. 1-bed condos/homes selling in the 300KS-550Ks. 2-bed homes range from 400-900K, 2-beds homes/townhouses are on average a bit more expensive. 3 & 4 beds homes sell btwn 550K-and the low Ms. * Park amenities are limited to a couple small parks. Some good large parks along the Platte River but hard to get to from Baker by foot. * Urban massing is generally good but some gaps on Broadway on the northern and southern end. Santa Fe and surrounding industrial area is a mixed bag.
Alamo Placita was first developed by Robert Speer, developer and mayor of Denver. The neighborhood filled in primarily between the 1890s and 1940s and much of this fabric has been preserved thanks to the Alamo Placita Historic District home to many fine examples of middle class housing styles (Arts & Crafts, Foursquares, and Bungalows) mixed with larger Classical Revival-Styles.
After WWII the neighborhood slightly declined but interest picked up by the 70s as young professionals appreciated the district’s comfortable family friend homes with convenient City access.
Alamo Placita has decent walkability and mixed-use fabric but not great urban business districts (limiting its retail and cultural amenities). The district also excels at safety, quality park amenities, and leafy tree lined streets. For a better urban environment Alamo Placita could use more density, and mixed-use buildings. There is also a lack of quality walkable schools, several critical retail amenities, and limited affordable housing options.
* Pretty good density. * Good ADA and sidewalk infrastructure overall. About 1/3 of all ADA curb cuts are outdated. Curb cuts also not the best at Alleyway crossings. * Good public transit access. * Good bike infrastructure with a dedicated bike lane running along the river and dockless bike share available in the neighborhood. * For sale properties are also expensive but good variety and there are many condos in the district. Studios sell btwn 200K-400K, 1-bed condos btwn 250K-500K, Lots of 2-bed condos that range from 250-700K, 2-beds homes/townhouses are on average a bit more expensive. 3 & 4 beds homes sell btwn 400K-1.5 M. Condos are on the cheaper end. * Cute historic homes from the 20s-40s. * Good parks spaces with the pleasant and diverse Alamo Placido & Governors Parks. Quality recreation trail along Cherry Creek and a cemetery as well. * Quality tree canopy. * Overall a very safe community. * Pretty good urban massing along the 6th & 7th biz districts. * Decent cultural amenities including several restaurants & cafes, a brewery, some bars, an indie film house, plus lots of amenities in nearby districts. * Good retail amenities including a Trader Joe’s, Safeway, drug store, a couple boutiques & home good stores, several dessert joints & gyms, a couple banks & churches.
* No schools within Alamo Placita but several on the edges of the district. Unfortunately these schools are generally rated poorly. * Decent # of rentals but rather pricy. 1-beds lease for mid 1Ks to mid 2Ks, 2-beds 2K-3K. A handful of 3-beds available leading in the 3Ks. * Does not appear to be much dedicated affordable hsg here. * No art galleries, theaters, or live music venues in Alamo Placita. * Missing a post office, public library, and many local stores. Also a very limited number of churches here. * Limited racial and economic diversity here.
This solid Denver district was developed primarily between the 1890s-1930s. It has a typical Denver form with gridded streets and regular alleyways. But does better from an urban perspective than other adjacent Denver districts as it has the major Broadway Business District on its western edge, lots of mixed-use areas throughout, and is quite dense thanks to several 60s & 70s high-rises and the densification of the neighborhood, which has been in force since zoning changes were made by the state in 2010.
Speer also excels at being a truly multi-model district with great transit and bike infrastructure. While housing is generally expensive, Sheer offers a good amount of moderately priced condo options. Speer also has solid retail and cultural offerings particularly along the Broadway Corridor.
Areas for improvement include more high quality walkable schools, more park and recreation options, and filling in autocentric gaps particularly present along the northern and southern end of Broadway Ave and Almeda Avenue.
* Great density especially for a district built up btwn the 1910s-1940s. * Generally good sidewalk infrastructure but many curb cuts are outdated or broken. * High quality public transit access. Good access to dwtn across all modes of transportation. Great system of dedicated bike lanes and decent access to the City’s bike share. * Great economic diversity. * For sale properties are also expensive but good variety and there are many condos in the district. Lots of studios and 1-bed condos selling in the 200KS-400Ks. Some are a bit more expensive. Lots of 2-bed condos that range from 300-800K, 2-beds homes/townhouses are on average a bit more expensive. 3 & 4 beds homes sell btwn 600K-1.4 M. * Lots # of rentals but on the pricy side. Studios 1-beds lease btwn low 1Ks to mid 2Ks, 2-beds mid 1Ks -3K. Some 3-beds available generally leasing in the 3-4Ks. * Good tree canopy. * Solid cultural amenities including many restaurants, bars, breweries, cafes, an indie theater and community theater, and plenty of live music venues & night clubs. * Good retail amenities including a couple supermarkets on the SW edge, a couple drug stores, good # of boutiques and unique stores along Broadway, a couple bookstores, a couple banks, several dessert spots & gyms, plenty of salons, a post office and public library, and several churches. * Solid architecture all around. Cute historic residential holds, quality residential neighborhood infill, and great historic comm. along Broadway.
* Racial and generational diversity are pretty limited here. * Walkable access to a decent number of schools generally rated well. * Decent park amenities including a community garden, the Hungarian Freedom Memorial, and recreational trail along the northern boarder. The extensive Washington Park is only several blocks south of the district and the private Denver Country Club sits on the eastern border. * Urban massing is generally good but some gaps on Broadway on the northern and southern end. Almeda is a mixed bag.
For this evaluation I combined the Union Station and CBD districts. Both districts have Dwtn qualities and naturally flow into one another.
Dwtn Denver is home to the original site of the City at current day Confluence Park where the Platte and Cherry Creak rivers meet. This was founded in the late 1850s. Dwtn quickly grew as Denver became a boom town housing the headquarters of many mining businesses operating in the Rocky Mountains. This produced a wonderful concentration of gorgeous turn of the 20th century historic architecture. As Denver became a major US city after WWII many corporate headquarters located here and modern high-rises naturally followed. In the 50s & 60s many Civic leaders desired to sweep away most of Downtown’s historic fabric with an ambitious urban renewal campaign. Fortunately, thanks to the tireless efforts of Dana Crawford, much of historic Downtown was saved, especially the Union Station (aka LoDo) area. Her first big win was the preservation of Larimer Square, a now vibrant mixed-use restaurant area. After this Dana went on to preserve the Union Station area and helped pull together Union Station’s revitalization as a major transit hub.
The 16th Street Pedestrian Street is also a major urban asset to Dwtn and one of America’s most successful pedestrian streets still lined with numerous retail and clothing stores. With Denver’s growth, blocks of blocks of dense mixed-use development were built between Union Station and the Platte River creating an urban environment on par with Portland’s Pearl District. McGregor Square and the Ballpark District are part of this area. There are still many surface parking lots on Dwtn eastern edge near Broadway ripe for new in-fill development.
* Great density for a Dwtn area. * Generally very good sidewalk infrastructure and ADA curbs throughout downtown. * High quality transit within Denver and to many of its suburbs especially Lakewood & Aurora. This is helped Denver’s several rail lines spurring out in every direction. * Very consistent gridded street system Dwtn. Streets are pretty wide but only a handful of the main streets are too wide (i.e. Broadway, Colfax, and Market). Much of the width has been converted into a great bike lane system. * The Denver region has a great dedicated bike system almost as good as West Coast cities. Good dockless bike and scooter system that covers most of urban Denver. * Lots of for sale hsg options but certainly on the expensive end. Studios and 1-beds can range anywhere from 300K-1M but a good # of options btwn 300K-500K. 2-beds condos can range anywhere from 350K-2M Lots of diversity in product. Lots of 3-bed condos ranging anywhere from 650K-3 M. Some 4-beds that are even more expensive. * Dwtn is generally safe besides a decent amount of homeless activity. * Great array of small plazas and pocket parks Dwtn. Also an excellent trail along Cherry Creek and Speer Park and the expansive and multi-faceted Confluence park along Platte River. * Union Station Square has been a quality Civic Heart of Dwtn. Very active, well designed and good # of events. 16th Mall is also a great plaza like space. * Culturally great array of Food & Beverage biz, several theaters in the PA Complex, a Cineplex, many art galleries, several live music venues, and decent # of museums. 2 major sports stadiums Dwtn and a large Convention Center. * Dwtn Employment is around 100K but closer to 130K when adding Golden Triangle. * Great retail amenities w/ a target, a couple supermarkets, plenty of boutiques, Denver Pavilion Shopping Mall, plenty of banks, and plenty of other retail. * Great university presence with ~ 40K on the western edge of Dwtn. * Great vibrancy and mixed-use character.
* Scooter regulation is a real issue in Denver. Scooters rides frequently use sidewalks and create a rather uncomfortable walking environmental for pedestrians. * Some racial diversity living Dwtn but much lower than the City as a whole. * Not a very kid friendly dwtn nor do many reside Downtown. * Really no schools within the Dwtn area but several decent options on the edges of Dwtn. * Great supply of rentals but pricey. studios and 1-beds lease btwn the mid 1Ks-mid 3Ks. 2-beds btwn the high 1Ks to 4K. Good # of 3-beds generally leasing in the 3Ks & 4Ks, some are more expensive. * Some government offices Dwtn but many of them are just south of Dwtn in the Golden Triangle area. *Good # of surface parking along Downtown’s eastern edge near Broadway.