Archive for July, 2011

Talking Points: Susan Maxwell, Living Green in Denver

Each week, we’ll introduce you to someone you may, or may not know who lives in Downtown Denver. And, each week, we’ll ask that person five questions…always the same. But, we’re sure to get a lot of different answers! Each week’s interviewee will also be archived on the page titled “Talking Points” at the top of this site. Let us know what you think.

Susan Maxwell is the Director of Real Estate for Zocalo Community Development, an innovative residential development and management firm.  She has enjoyed a 26 year career in residential real estate. She grew up in Texas and discovered Colorado in the early 1990’s. She says that although it took awhile to get here permanently, it was love at first sight and she can no longer imagine living anywhere else!

Susan Maxwell, photo Diane Huntress

What is the best thing about living Downtown?

Having moved from the mountains into the downtown a little over a year ago, I feel the best thing is the social pulse of the city. I enjoy the walk-ability to wonderful restaurants, live music, theater, sports and I particularly enjoy the cultural diversity not common with mountain living. Since I work with a downtown residential multi-family developer, it also gave me the opportunity to personally experience life as our residents experience it.  An edge I wouldn’t have otherwise had living elsewhere.

What don’t we have now that we need Downtown?

A full service grocery store comes to mind first. Beyond that, it would be wonderful to see more local business focused on sustainability and environmental preservation. Sustainable residential buildings like Solera, Spire, & 2020 Lawrence hopefully will become the norm, not the exception.

What has been the biggest change while you have lived Downtown? 

The skyline is changing constantly. The improvements under way at Union Station are exciting to watch. The development for the neighborhood and FasTracks will transform how people currently commute in and out of the city. For the better.

What’s your favorite place to go away from Downtown?

Austin, Texas. It is actually a lot like Denver. 

Tell us something about yourself that most people wouldn’t know.

I have a 26 year old daughter who lives in Austin. She is my best friend and I learn something new from her most every day. She keeps me young and it’s easy to persuade her to visit me because she loves the downtown.

Thank you, Susan! And, with our buildings, new housing concepts, car share, transit expansion and B-Cycle, we get greener every day!

(By the way, no trees have been cut down in the production of Denver by the Slice! And, carbon footprint? Forget about it.)

Where are We Drinking?

Blooming Champagne. And, of course, that Flower is Edible!

Unlike some other media outlets around town, always trying to make you guess where they are eating green chile or pho, we’ll gladly tell you!

Just barely up the hill to Highlands is the Cellar Wine Bar, right at the corner of 15th Street and Boulder. And, it’s an oasis, complete with flowers…for the champagne! Hibiscus, actually. Thanks to Brian Delgado and Sandra Lopez for putting this in over a year ago in the neighborhood they are so attached to, and we are so close to.

Take the trip. Take a sip. Tapas, wine, sake, beer, bright windows and champagne. What’s not to like?!

(Photo: Diane Huntress)

12 Countries, 12 Bikes, And, Only One Day Downtown!

This is cool! Ivar Zeile of Plus Gallery was selected to curate 12 pieces of art. Nothing unusual about that. Except the “canvas” for each piece is a racing bike. As in sleek Cannondale racing bike.

The bikes represent the 12 countries from which 128 riders will come to race in Colorado at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, August 22-28th. And, just like a stage race, every bicycle work of art is entirely original and different.

You can see these 12 beautiful works at Plus Gallery, 2501 Larimer, ONLY on Thursday, July 28th from 5-7 p.m. Then they will be moved to DIA where each will sit atop a baggage carousel for the month of August.

And, don’t forget. The USA Pro Cycling Challenge will land in Downtown Denver on its final day in the sixth stage from Golden to Denver. Well, it’s not Paris, but it will do. And, we’ll see how many of those 128 racers have made it through the challenges of a major professional stage race in the Rocky Mountains!

Scene on the Street

John Deere at the MCA, photo Diane Huntress

Talking Points: Meet Downtown’s Andy Youtz…Smart Guy, Smart Car

Each week, we’ll introduce you to someone you may, or may not know who lives in Downtown Denver. And, each week, we’ll ask that person five questions…always the same. But, we’re sure to get a lot of different answers! Each week’s interviewee will also be archived on the page titled “Talking Points” at the top of this site. Let us know what you think.

Andy Youtz is semi-retired from a 40 year career in sales, marketing and mechanical contracting. He grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, attended Penn State and went to work as a project manager in Philadelphia. In the early 1970’s, Andy discovered Colorado and moved to Boulder then to LoDo.

Andy Youtz, photo by Diane Huntress

Denver by the Slice found him on the street…and not in his car…for this week’s profile.

What is the best thing about living Downtown?

Not driving. We can walk or ride bikes to the bank, post office, drugstore, convenience store, dry cleaners, liquor store and so on without getting into a car. We go weeks between fill-ups!

What has been the biggest change while you have lived Downtown?

The in-fill with residences and businesses. When we moved here in 1997 the area was in the early stages of recovering from the 70’s “urban renewal” phenomenon during which scores of vacant buildings, sometimes with enormous historic value, had been torn down to encourage developers who would theoretically rush to build modern replacements. In just the few block radius of our home more than a dozen parking lots and underutilized structures such as the USPS Terminal Annex have been replaced with new office, retail and residential buildings. The seemingly endless construction is sometimes frustrating but in the end it’s always worth it.

What don’t we have now that we need Downtown?

In order: a major chain grocery store, a hardware store, wider sidewalks, off-peak street closures.

What’s your favorite place to go away from Downtown Denver?

Our other favorite city, San Francisco.

Tell us something about yourself that most people wouldn’t know.

My favorite pastime in college was hitch-hiking. That I am not academically inclined cannot be overstated.  Every weekend I would hit the road with a small suitcase and a sign and go hundreds of miles to visit friends and family. It was an exhilarating combination of freedom, uncertainty and excitement that is now a thing of the past.

Downtown Traffic Alert: RTD Sends People Back to Their Cars!

Traffic. It’s a rare day of living Downtown that goes by without seeing a wreck, a near wreck, a near collision between car and pedestrian, an actual collision between car and person, or bus and person or bicycle, or bicycle and person. At the very least, every day will show the Downtown pedestrian as either very careful or very careless about street crossing lights, cars making illegal u-turns, and hundreds of bicycles on the narrow sidewalks where they are just not legal.

Pulling Out

So, what the heck. For the next three weeks (23 days, actually, starting on Saturday) let’s add a few hundred more cars to the mix!

And, that’s what RTD is doing as part of the Light Rail platform re-location at Union Station. No trains at all to Union Station from Saturday morning until August 15. And, no trains from the south to Downtown on weekends until then either. If you want to come downtown…drive. If you want to come to a Rockies game…drive. If you commute to work by rail…many of you will choose to drive.

The tracks have to be moved from their current location to the new platform and that is a massive project. We hope they finish on time. Old tracks out, new extension of 16th Street in, new tracks in, turn on the electricity.

And, yes, RTD will provide their ever-popular “Bus Bridges” from 10th and Osage into Downtown and the other stations being missed. That’s not a particularly appealing mode for most travelers, especially those on a schedule. And, yes, commuters can come into Downtown Monday-Friday by rail. But, those trains are already crowded, and if one needs to get back to the Union Station area…well, what better way to start the day than a hot packed Mall Shuttle?

People will drive. Traffic will get more congested for those weeks. More cars, more opportunities for mayhem. Then, it will end and new patterns will emerge with the new rail location, longer Shuttle rides, longer walks to the train.

Our best advice: Be careful crossing the streets!

4th Annual LoDo Loft Tour This Sunday, July 24!

You can tour unique LoDo loft homes this Sunday…for a very good cause.

Family HomeStead, a long-established non-profit working to keep families in independent housing, not shelters, will benefit from donations for the tour. From 2-5 p.m., visit any or all of the homes, all located on Wazee or Wynkoop between 14th and 19th Streets. Parking is free in Downtown on Sunday. And, clear signs will get you to the right units. More information here.

A minimum $15 per person donation is your ticket to these locations:

Rocky Mountain Warehouse, 1863 Wazee
Street Car Stables, 1720 Wynkoop
Volker Lofts, 1628 14th St, and, Ice House Lofts, 1801 Wynkoop

Each loft is distinctive and the group represents a wide range of design, views, and urban lifestyle. This is one of those rare opportunities when people who live Downtown, and people who are just envious of people living Downtown get to peek inside the living spaces!

Take this opportunity to see some fine homes…and help those without such fine homes.