Oct 4, 2023 - Real Estate

The future of Denargo Market: RiNo's largest remaining vacant lot begins construction

Renderings of the future Denargo Market site along Arkins Court and Denargo Street in Denver's Five Points neighborhood. Photo: Courtesy of FORMATIV/Golub

The 17-acre Denargo Market site just north of downtown Denver has been nothing more than dirt patches and uneven grass for years.

  • A massive new development that just kicked off construction along Arkins Court and Denargo Street promises to change that.

Driving the news: Over the next several years, developers Golub & Company and FORMATIV plan to complete what they call the largest urban infill project currently under construction in Denver.

Why it matters: The project will transform RiNo's biggest remaining vacant lot and make a major impact on the district, which has become a premier destination for Denverites to work and play along the South Platte River.

Zoom in: At more than 3 million square feet, the proposal would amount to more than twice the size of Republic Plaza, Denver's tallest building.

  • It's slated to include housing, public open space, a lawn, plaza, sports courts, dog park and connections to the nearby Brighton Boulevard and South Platte River corridors.
Renderings of the future Denargo Market site along Arkins Court and Denargo Street. Photo: Courtesy of FORMATIV/Golub & Company

State of play: The initial phase, which is expected to take about 20 months and kicked off at a groundbreaking last week, will focus on new infrastructure, new roadways and green spaces.

By the numbers: Laura Newman, vice president of investment and development at Golub & Company, tells Axios the space will support more than 1,000 housing units and more than 1 million square feet of offices.

  • Buildings near the center of the site will be the tallest in RiNo at 250 feet, she says.

Of note: The developer promised the City Council in 2021 it would ensure 15% of residential units would be affordable. Newman told Axios they would be restricted to people making between 60% to 80% of area median income.

  • It has also committed to a 56-unit building specifically for young people leaving foster care.

What they're saying: "It took a community, not a developer, to make this happen today," Councilmember Darrell Watson, who represents the area, said during last week's groundbreaking.

  • Mayor Mike Johnston said the project will have a major economic impact on the city and lauded the facility serving children after foster care: "Those young people now don't end up homeless — they end up housed."

Flashback: The original Denargo Market opened in 1939, according to the Denver Public Library. During its heyday, it featured more than 500 stalls for growers, a refrigeration plant, restaurant and barber shop, but a 1971 fire destroyed the market.

  • Another developer previously proposed revamping the site to include housing and commercial space in the late 2000s, but those plans didn't materialize.
  • The site was purchased by Golub & Company for $86 million in 2019, per the Denver Business Journal.
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