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Downtown Denver: Celebrate something old, something new at the Four Seasons Hotel today

Against all odds, Denver has a vibrant downtown that weds the present with the past -- and today, it celebrates both something old and something new, starting with a ribbon-cutting at the Four Seasons Hotel Denver at 1111 14th Street.

Still-Denver mayor John Hickenlooper will do the honors at the luxury hotel/102-private residence project at 11 a.m.

The Four Seasons is just up the street from Larimer Square, the block of historic buildings that preservationist Dana Crawford saved in 1969, when much of the rest of downtown was falling to the wrecking ball. The city is still filling in some of the vacant lots that resulted from that enthusiastic "urban renewal" -- with the Four Seasons definitely the most spectacular of the new developments.

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Denver's Historic Lower Downtown District starts in the alley between Market and Larimer streets, two-and-a-half blocks from the Four Seasons. And that's where Hickenlooper will be this afternoon, when city boosters gather at Fogo de Chao, 1513 Wynkoop Street, for a ceremony celebrating the American Planning Association's designation of LoDo as one of "10 Great Neighborhoods for 2010" -- part of the APA's Great Places in America program.

Much of this old warehouse area might have been wiped off the map, too -- if the city hadn't turned the area into an official historic district in 1988, the same year that Hickenlooper founded the Wynkoop Brewing Company in the heart of LoDo, the spot from which he launched his political career.

As synonymous as Hickenlooper has become with LoDo, with Denver and soon, perhaps, Colorado, he's not the one who gave Lower Downtown its nickname. Click here to read about the naming of LoDo.

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