Museum of Contemporary Art

New lofts but no museum -- yet -- in the Platte Valley.

Things are really taking shape over at 15th and Delgany streets in the Platte Valley, where a multi-family development of lofts and townhouses designed by Yong Cho and Catherine Mercer of Studio Completiva are well under way. Both of these projects are associated with the not-yet-started Museum of Contemporary Art (above), which is being designed by London-based architectural hotshot David Adjaye.

The moderately priced lofts, called Monarch Mills, are already nearly sold out. Urban Ventures LLC developed the building with Susan Powers, the vision-less visionary who once headed up the Denver Urban Renewal Authority. Powers has got a big karma debt to work off: Chief among her bad acts is that she played shill for Fred Kummer's successful effort to destroy I.M. Pei's Zeckendorf Plaza. Monarch Mills, as nice as it is, doesn't even begin to make up for that.

The townhouses, Art House, are being built by Continuum Partners, headed by Mark Falcone, who has, to say the least, a much better reputation than Powers. It was Falcone, with his wife Ellen Bruss, who donated the land on which the MCA will be built. Falcone and Bruss have also hired Adjaye to design their townhouse in the Art House development. The Art House residences are being marketed to art collectors and are designed with plenty of wall space so that they resemble mini-museums.

Ground was to be broken for the new MCA this fall, but things have been put back to early next year. Director Cydney Payton wants to have all the money in hand before construction gets started. Among the many who have already contributed are Noel and Tom Congdon, who made a gift of $1 million in memory of their deceased daughter, Natasha Congdon, whose name will grace the large-works gallery at the new space. Other big donors include Laura and David Merage, Charles and June Gates, and Margaret and Glen Wood. Payton mentions that there are many naming opportunities still open, including the big one: The name of the building itself is being offered for $5 million. Any takers?

 
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