A pair of massive high-rises towering 32 stories over a neighborhood of modest homes in Wash Park West reached another construction milestone during a recent “topping off” ceremony in which the final beam, signed by those attending the event, was lifted into place.
Decried by some neighbors as a behemoth that does not fit the character of the bungalow-filled neighborhood, the story of Country Club Towers, near the intersection of South Downing and East Bayaud streets, dates back to 1999, when the Colorado Historical Foundation and the West Washington Park Neighborhood Association tried to have the site, known as Country Club Gardens, designated as a historic district. Designed by Fisher, Fisher and Hubbell Architects, a leading Denver architecture firm at the time, Country Club Gardens was erected in 1940 as multiple-dwelling housing and a prime example of "International Style." Built in the post-Depression, pre-World War II time period, the Gardens filled the rental needs of Denver’s middle class.
The city's Landmark Preservation Commission and neighbors worked with developer Broe Real Estate Group to explore preserving key elements of Country Club Gardens that also would protect the owner’s development rights. Several alternatives were analyzed and rejected before internationally renowned architect Rafael Vinoly was invited to evaluate Country Club Gardens and propose a redevelopment concept for the site.
Design guidelines were created in 2001 after an ordinance designated Country Club Gardens as a district for preservation, including some of the structures and landscaped courtyards. The ordinance also provided that a portion of the Country Club Gardens site could be redeveloped.
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Broe demolished about 20 percent of the old Country Club Gardens building; the towers were built on top of it. The units remaining in the historic building will be renovated to include air conditioning, upgraded electricity and other modern amenities.
Broe’s Country Club Towers II and III will have 558 apartments and 985 structured parking spaces. Each apartment will have floor-to-ceiling energy-efficient windows, granite surfaces, stainless-steel appliances and washers and dryers. Amenities include a lap pool with a 20,000-square-foot deck, a 4,000-square-foot fitness center with yoga and massage rooms, a dog spa, a bike-repair station and two common kitchen areas.
“The success we’ve enjoyed is a result of the collaboration between designers, the city and our contractors,” says Scott Conrad, regional manager for Swinerton Builders, general contractor on the project.
The first units are expected to be available to renters in August.