At least four U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development secretaries have toured the Mariposa District, the Denver Housing Authority’s flagship project centered on the 10th and Osage Station light rail stop.
The more than 1,500-person neighborhood, which replaced the authority’s South Lincoln Homes, blends low-income, workforce and market-rate housing in a neighborhood that also hosts nonprofits, job training programs and other services aimed at building long-term economic stability.
Now the 17-acre neighborhood’s most visible piece is almost complete. DHA executives next week will finish packing up their desks at the authority’s current HQ at 777 Grant St. On Aug. 20, they will officially start work at the 11-story office tower at 1035 Osage St. the authority has dubbed the Central Office.
DHA executive director Ismael Guerrero on Friday led a Denver Post reporter and photographer on a tour of the still-under-construction 170,000-square-foot tower.
In addition to being the base of operations for DHA’s housing management, resident services and other departments, it will bring a ground-floor Choice Market location stocked with produce and healthy food options to the neighborhood and provide thousands of feet of leasable space for community-serving organizations. All told, 200 people are expected to work in the building including 150 DHA staffers, Guerrero said.
“That will make it a really dynamic neighborhood,” he said of all the foot traffic the building will generate in Mariposa. That foot traffic should benefit Mariposa tenants like the nonprofit Osage Cafe where students in DHA’s youth culinary academy gain experience. The market, expected to open in mid September, also will provide job opportunities for 10 academy students.
“What’s great, too, is it keeps you close to the work,” Guerro said Friday as he looked east across the Mariposa District from an 11th-floor patio near his future office. “This is like the after shot of what Sun Valley is now.”
Guerrero was referring to DHA’s next big neighborhood transformation effort. Sun Valley, too, is visible from the Central Office building, but to the west instead of the east.
DHA will have staff on the ninth, 10th and 11th floors of the tower but isn’t taking up all the prime views. It will share the 11th floor with Enterprise Community Partners. The housing nonprofit was an equity investor in all of the affordable units in Mariposa, officials said Friday.
The eighth floor will be partially dedicated to the Kaleidoscope Collaborative Center, a 5,200-square-foot coworking space set to incubate nonprofits and mission-oriented small businesses. Another 20,000 square feet on the building’s seventh floor has been set aside for more like-minded tenants. All of it available at below-market lease rates.
“It’s going to be a nice little beehive of related entities, those of us with similar missions doing similar work,” Guerrero said.
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DHA and its general contractor, Shaw Construction, didn’t skimp on features in the Central Office. The building, which incorporates a four-story parking garage, has a 5,000-square-foot fitness center with views of the Denver skyline and a large outdoor terrace off its eighth floor open to all building tenants. Sustainability and wellness features include a high-tech curtain wall on the south side of the building outfitted with tinted glass that can be made lighter or darker based on how sunny it is outside.
“The amenities, the services, the finishes, we want it to be top-notch,” Guerrero said.
The $36-million project was funded in part through DHA’s sale of its former headquarters building, $10 million raised through the federal new market tax credit program and an $11-million loan from partner Northern Trust, DHA officials said.