After three decades of working on major projects in Colorado, the design firm ZGF has opened an office in Denver.
The firm, which started 70 years ago in Portland, Oregon, worked on the master plan for the Central Platte Valley neighborhood; Children’s Hospital Colorado and its East Tower addition; and the RMI Innovation Center in Basalt, a net-zero building designed to produce as much energy as it consumes.
In partnership with Anderson Mason Dale, ZGF designed the Anschutz Health Sciences Building at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.
The firm is now working on the master plan for the redevelopment of 55 acres, including parking lots, around Ball Arena, where the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche play. Stan Kroenke, owner of the teams and the property, also plans the nearby River Mile, a neighborhood to be built on the current site of the Elitch Gardens amusement park.
“We’ve been doing work in Denver for 30 years,” said Ryan Velasco, a ZGF designer and principal. “Now, we’re planting a flag and announcing our official office opening here in Denver.”
Velasco and designer and principal Sadie Cline will lead the new office. Both have been in Denver for about four years. Velasco previously worked in ZGF’s Los Angeles office and Cline worked in the New York office.
“There are six of us right now and we are looking to add to the team,” Cline said. “We’re excited about growing and making this team really rounded out, but we’re continuing to utilize the resources we have firmwide.”
The company, with about 750 employees, also has offices in Portland, Oregon; Seattle; Washington, D.C.; and Vancouver, British Columbia. The Denver office is in the Dairy Block in Lower Downtown.
“Denver has seen tremendous growth in the last decade and ZGF has enjoyed not only witnessing the city’s transformation but the opportunity to play a part in shaping the city that Denver is today, and will be in the coming years,” Ted Hyman, managing partner of ZGF, said in a statement.
The firm is among those working on plans to redevelop the land around Ball Arena. Millions of square feet of buildings, including housing, offices and retail, could cover the acres of parking lots.
“It’s a key opportunity. It’s one owner, so we’re not piecing together a bunch of parcels. We can really look at it holistically and develop the type of neighborhood that we think is the future of Denver,” Cline said.
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Designers are looking at housing for multi-generational families, Cline added. “We are seeing a lot of families where the children are moving back in with the parents or the parents are moving in with the kids.”
There is also a focus on providing people with green and open spaces, Velasco said. “I don’t think we can emphasize enough how much people realized they needed the outdoors and the environment throughout COVID.”
ZGF is also involved in the redevelopment of the former Boulder Community Health hospital into the Western City Campus, which will consolidate offices. For the first time, the firm will design an existing building to net-energy standards.
Velasco said ZGF has been at the forefront of environmentally sustainable design for years, “before it was really talked about in the mainstream.”