Inside One River North, Denver's New Luxury "Canyon" Apartments | Westword

Room Service: Inside One River North, RiNo's New Canyon Apartments

We've all seen the building and its impressive canyon, but what's it like on the inside?
One River North is about a month away from its grand opening at 3930 Blake Street, but a handful of people already live there.
One River North is about a month away from its grand opening at 3930 Blake Street, but a handful of people already live there. Catie Cheshire
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Welcome to the One River North installment of Room Service, a series that steps inside apartment complexes and other housing options. Our first installment was on the Art Studios; keep reading for our latest on this canyon-cut building in RiNo.

What: One River North, a luxury apartment building at the north end of RiNo with a “canyon” running through it.

Where: 3930 Blake Street

Cost: Fourteen income-restricted units start at around $1,800 per month. The largest and priciest apartment, a 2,610-square-foot penthouse, costs $16,000 monthly. The average unit cost is $5,000 per month. The pictured unit is a 1,890-square-foot premium unit with two bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, and costs just shy of $8,400 a month.

Management: Kairoi Residential

The building: Since construction on the project began in 2021, people have been curious about One River North’s unusual facade, on which sixteen stories of glass paneling are interrupted by a greenery-filled, dirt-colored cutout meant to mimic a canyon running through the building. The unique structure stands tall and can be seen from Interstate 70, so it's not just people in RiNo who will be able to view its unusual architecture.

The plan for the project was created in 2019 by development firms the Max Collaborative, Uplands Real Estate Partners, Wynne Yasmer Real Estate and Zakhem Real Estate Group. Beijing-based MAD Architects designed the building, while Denver’s Davis Partnership served as the operational architects and Saunders Construction built the apartment complex.
click to enlarge One River north balcony waterfall
A waterfall is part of the landscaping in the three-story canyon balcony.
Catie Cheshire
One River North has a total square footage of around 32,000 square feet, with 8,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor and 187 units on the second through sixteenth floors. Building manager Kairoi says it is close to locking in retail tenants but can’t announce anything yet.

The so-called canyon has a communal balcony spanning floors six through nine, while the carveout goes from the sixth floor to the very top of the structure, A handful of units will have private balconies in the canyon.

“As you climb in elevation, as you climb through our canyon, it actually is meant to mimic the shift in the landscape from the planes to the foothills to the mountains,” explains Kairoi regional manager Lynsee Mann.

The plants on the sixth floor are prairie-esque, while those up higher include conifers and other forest flora. The rooftop pool is supposed to represent the water source that would naturally erode a canyon.

"The idea is that the pool up top erodes and breaks this canyon through the building,” Kairoi marketing manager Amanda Young adds. “It’s really just pulling in everything from nature as we see it into a living space where people can really feel like they're in nature. That's the intention of the canyon.”

Up close, the canyon isn’t quite as luscious as the renderings that got people so intrigued, but the plants are still young and will have a bigger visual impact as they grow. Additionally, the pool and rooftop community space is still under construction, though the plan is for it to be fully ready by the end of May. BrightView is the exterior landscaping contractor.
click to enlarge One River north balcony
The balcony at the center of the canyon cutout provides views in addition to unique architecture.
Catie Cheshire
Mann says the intention was to incorporate outdoor elements indoors, too. The seventh-floor indoor community space is lined with live plants, and the walls and ceilings are the same beige tone as the canyon outside.

“Nothing's too obtrusive,” Young says. “Nothing's too loud. It just really flows.”

Other community spaces include a fitness center and a dog walking area.

The lobby feels like a cave, with sloping walls and ceilings also washed in the dirt color scheme. A giant stone anchors the white reception desk; according to Young, the stone was one of the first things placed in the building using VR goggles while construction was built around it. The management team could not confirm where the rock came from, but members said they were fairly sure it was excavated during the construction process at One River North.

The RTD A Line to the airport has a stop less than a block from One River North’s entrance; it's both a perk and a slight deterrent, as the trains can be loud.

The building abuts an area that is still largely industrial, despite the rapid redevelopment taking place around it. The Mission Ballroom, one of Denver's most popular music venues, is about a half-mile walk away.
click to enlarge One River north lobby with rock reception desk
Even the lobby is designed to remind people of the natural world.
Catie Cheshire
The inside scoop:
Units range from one to four bedrooms, and each apartment has a planter with living moss underneath the unit number to continue the biophilic theme of the building. Each apartment comes with in-unit laundry, kitchens with soft-close drawers and smart thermostats that can be controlled remotely.

The apartments are generally spacious, but some are as small as 610 square feet.

“Most apartment complexes in metro Denver are a little bit of a smaller footprint from a square-footage perspective,” Mann says, citing the average Denver apartment as 800 feet compared to One River North's average of 1,100 square feet. “People who are looking for a little bit more square footage, who need more storage for winter gear or whatever that may be, we're able to serve that particular resident probably better than a lot of our competitors.”

The building’s glass exterior provides panoramic views of Denver, but the design team knew that windows mean sun, so each apartment is equipped with solar shades in living spaces and blackout shades in bedrooms. In premium units, some of those shades can be operated electronically with built-in switches.
click to enlarge One River north apartment kitchen
Apartment kitchen details like live-cut wood help make each unit stand out.
Catie Cheshire
Premium-unit kitchens have gas ranges while the rest have induction stovetops. Additional premium upgrades include heated bathroom floors and custom wood closets in the primary bedroom, whereas other units have normal floors and metal racking systems in the closets.

The building is in pre-leasing, and there are nine residents actively living there after a soft opening earlier this month, with a grand opening planned for late May. Just under 5 percent of the units are spoken for already, according to Mann. The management team says it has been looking forward to being able to give tours to prospective residents, which just kicked off this month.

“The building's so unique, and so are the units, especially the penthouses,” Young says. “We've had so many people who are just so excited to get in and see how different things can be. … It's hard to try to articulate what the space looks like; you kind of just need to get eyes on it.”

Mann says those interested in the RiNo area where the building sits and the many attractions and restaurants nearby will be prime residential candidates along with established professionals looking for a turnkey space.

Young expects One River North to appeal to empty-nesters, younger people relocating from coastal cities and wealthier homeowners looking for a second place.

“It’s going to be a really fun mix of residents,” she says.
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