Living on top ... New Skyscraper Planned for Denver

September 28, 2017


A Manhattan developer plans to bring a mammoth skyscraper to downtown Denver, a monumental structure that would not only stand as the city’s tallest building, but dwarf its closest competition.


But that project will have to make its way through the city’s approval process.

Greenwich Realty Capital on Wednesday released details for a 90-story high-rise it plans to construct at 650 17th St., in the heart of Denver’s central business district. The mixed-use structure, Six Fifty 17, would be greater than 1 million square feet in size. It would feature 284 luxury condos, a hotel, 22,000 square feet of retail space and 500 parking spots.


Greenwich co-founder and managing partner Michael Ursini  said the structure would be 1,000 feet tall, which is 286 feet taller than Denver’s current loftiest structure, the 714-foot, 56-story Republic Plaza, 370 17th St.

If built at exactly 1,000 feet, the building would be the 19th tallest in the U.S., according to a list by USA Today.


“The building is being constructed to be a very iconic structure right at the axis of the city,” Ursini said. “The idea of the building is to further the progression of the city and create a building that is going to complement the city in a responsible way.”


But before it can alter Denver’s skyline, Six Fifty 17 will have to clear some municipal hurdles.


Greenwich late last year submitted a preliminary project application to the city, but no formal site plans are in the approval pipeline, Denver Community Planning and Development spokeswoman Andrea Burns said. Greenwich has remained in contact with the city in recent months, she said.


“We don’t consider this an active project right now, but when they bring us something, we’ll be happy to review it,” she said.


Ursini emphasized the project is “100 percent going forward.” He put a $400 million price tag on it and said his company is working on various aspects such as marketing and design. He said the building, which is being designed by Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott, will fall in line with newer structures built in Denver. Ideally, the company wants to break ground in the summer of 2018. 


“It is not in the approval process yet, but it’s in the design stage,” Ursini said. “We’ve been working diligently.”


One thousand feet is doable downtown but challenging. Zoning in most of the central business district does not limit building height as long as a structure meets a specific floor area ratio requirement. The ratio is dictated by the size of the floor plate for each floor of a building. “In short, the taller you make your building, the skinnier it has to get,” Burns said.


Carlos Ott, Crown Architecture, and Davis Partnership Architects


A rendering of Six Fifty 17 at 17th and California. The building would be the tallest building in downtown Denver.


The specifics – and eye-popping dimensions — of the proposed tower began creating a stir in the Mile High City on Tuesday when the staff at The Metropolitan, the student newspaper at Metropolitan State University of Denver, published details from a news media kit recently shared online by Crown Architecture, Greenwich’s executive architect on the Six Fifty 17, working with Ott. Crown is working alongside Denver’s Davis Partnership Architects on the project, according to Greenwich.


Crown’s 42-page document, which outlines more modest dimensions than those shared by Ursini on Wednesday,  shows a proposed height of 800 feet and lists the building at 75 stories.


Indeed, the dimensions could change again before the site plans are submitted. The following language was included at the end of Greenwich’s news release: “All matters

addressed or described in this document are subject to change at any time and from time to time, and none of the parties mentioned herein shall have any obligation or liability of any kind or nature whatsoever, to anyone, as a result or consequence of any such changes.”


City records indicate the roughly 25,000-square-foot site where Greenwich plans to build — a parking lot — is owned by Paradise Land Co. Paradise top executive Buzz Geller on Wednesday said the property is under contract to sell to Greenwich, a deal he expects to close in “a short period of time.”


“I think it’s terrific,” Geller said of Greenwich’s plan. “We need convention business, so the more hotel rooms we have, the better off we’ll be.”


Geller is no stranger to accommodating big projects. A property he owns at 19th and Arapahoe streets is also under contract, this one with a buyer who aims to build two 400-foot towers accommodating 700 condos, according to

Downtown Denver has proven to be fertile ground for sprouting office towers and high-rises in recent years. The most notable among those projects is 1144 Fifteenth, a 40-story structure at 15th and Lawrence streetsthat will be fourth-tallest building (nonspire category) in the city when completed next year.  That building represents the largest new structure in Denver since the 1980s. For now.

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