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Writer Square 2.0: development FAIL

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Now that the controversial re-imagining of Writer Square is more or less complete (minus most of its especially controversial signage plan, since the Las Vegas-inspired spectacle was shot down in a boisterous planning board meeting in September), people seem to be stocking up on their rotten tomatoes.

Over at the DenverInfill blog, contributor Chris Geddes has been considering the site all week. His conclusions from this multi-part smack-down analysis? The 16th Street Plaza sucks, the new lampposts suck and the stupid, locked-up "triangular terrace for hire" especially sucks.

The only good news seems to be that so far, the developers haven't gone through with their cockamamie plan to stick a big glass pyramid in the middle of everything.

So much for winning over pedestrians with the new design. But what about the restaurants and retailers that operate in Writer Square: What do they think of the new look?

Keith Arnold, owner of Cafe Colore, doesn't particularly mind it. "Would I have put in these particular features? Probably not," he says. "But it has nice elements of continuum now, and it's fresher looking. It's better than it was before it all started."

One thing he's not sure of yet, however, is whether the end justified the means. "We had a tough summer," he says. "All summer long, to try to dine here while having to maneuver through six-foot fences and jackhammers, it was not a very lovely feeling. Even our regulars, when presented with that kind of hurdle, they change their eating habits. And then it's harder to get them to come back."

Arnold says that so far, Writer Square's new design hasn't brought in an influx of pedestrians, as the property owners predicted -- though he thinks that might be due to the cold season.

"We're excited to get into the spring and summer," he says. "Whether Writer Square can bring some of the people back, only time will tell."

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