Alameda Market: A New Sustainable Urbanism

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Location: Denver, Colorado, USA. historic urban grid

The project was a submittal to a national competition in which interdisciplinary teams
of students were asked to submit a design and development proposal for a 75-acre site,
located a mile and a half south of Denver, Colorado. The site is adjacent to a light
rail station and the historic Baker and West Washington Park neighborhoods. The
project is comprised of three properties with a single-entity owner and includes a
387,500 S.F. retail power center, a 233,000 S.F. design center and 251,000 S.F. of office space.

Resembling a typical suburban power center, the site was identified as having the
potential for creating a mixed-use, transit-oriented development that will enhance the
connections to the surrounding neighborhoods. Redeveloping the site introduced
complexities which required that the project be phased in order to accommodate the
current tenant roster.

In addition to the light rail station, the site is bordered by an Interstate and enjoys
more than a half mile frontage along one of Denver’s major arterial roadways. The site
was selected because it provided an opportunity to incorporate essential components
of sustainable communities which includes: mixed-income housing, adequate
infrastructure to support growth, ample public space, places of commerce,
environmental preservation and financial feasibility. In its current configuration
however, the site is an automobile-centric development with a collection of single-use
properties that inhibit pedestrian circulation and provides significant barriers to the
connectivity to the surrounding neighborhoods.

The proposal seeks to build on the historic urban grid of the City of Denver while
achieving a sustainable density and a balance between the public and private realms. The submittal pays particular attention to the notion of a self-sustaining community that simultaneously reaches out to the adjacent neighborhoods and creates a sense of
place. The flexibility of the building types for adaptive re-use coupled with
agricultural urbanism are environmental responses to future conservation initiatives.
This is accomplished through the design of building infrastructure currently housing
large anchor tenants which are planned to accommodate smaller users in the future
with minimal expenditure of resources; and agricultural urbanism which features an
extensive network of allotment gardens, vertical farming, fruit-growing street trees, a
Farmer’s Market Pavilion in the Market Square, and a comprehensive recycling program
of wastes and natural resources. The architectural typology and block scale are
strong design components of the urban plan which reinforce the social, historic,
demographic and economic forces in Denver. By extending the street-grid into the
project and limiting the scale of the buildings, the urban fabric of the surrounding
neighborhoods permeates the proposal and creates opportunities for civic and
cultural spaces. Additionally, the proposal provides a mix of housing types within
different market segments to create a demographic cross-section that mirrors the
Baker and West Washington Park neighborhoods.

The project is envisioned to be carried out in three distinct phases, with each phase
creating value and a sense of place. Every phase includes the creation of public open
spaces and a mix of housing and commercial uses. Throughout all of the phases, care
was taken to maintain operability of the existing tenants while enhancing the
streetscape. In summary, each phase strives to create a complete environment that
contributes to placemaking.

Transect Zone(s): T1 natural.
Status: Proposed
Project or Plan's Scale: Neighborhood
Land area (in acres): 1
Total built area (in sq. ft.):
Total project cost (in local currency):
Retail area (in sq. ft.):
Office area (in sq. ft.):
Industrial area (in sq. ft.):
Number of hotel units:
Number of residential units (include live/work):
Parks & green space (in acres):
Project team designers: University of Miami, School of Architecture
Project team developers: Victor Manuel Santana III, Jeff Hall, Benyameen Ghareeb, Jared Sedam, Warren Bane

Previous site status:

Starting/Ending date of construction/implementation: -