A multi-family mid-rise project incorporates upscale and eco-friendly features in a premium neighborhood
By Elizabeth Delehanty
In December 2013, Gables Residential embarked on a daring multi-family residential project in the heart of the Mile High City. The plan? Build an eight-story, energy-efficient apartment community with high-end amenities and superior walkability with an exterior design that challenges the city’s architectural status quo. No small task, but it was one the ambitious, vertically-integrated company could more than handle with in-house development, construction and management teams on staff.
After selecting the site for construction, Gables Residential began the process to build the 387,000-square-foot structure. First, architecture firm Ziegler Cooper designed the exterior using Colorado Red Ledgestone complemented by metal paneling, upholding Gables Residential’s signature contemporary look. At the time, this style of architecture was in direct contrast to what the rest of Denver was doing. “The biggest challenge involved making the decision to create this level of quality product in Denver at a time when the market was really focused on traditional wood frame type projects,” explained Josh Landry, Gables Residential’s vice president of investments for the Denver market.
Environmentally responsible practices were key to the project, as was utilizing the location to its full potential. Part of the Gables Residential strategy for building green is to select build sites that are centrally located. It was Gables’ intent to attract tenants not only with Cherry Creek’s service-oriented approach to residential living, but also with the intentionally designed walkability of the location. “Gables Cherry Creek offers direct access to the Cherry Creek Hike and bike trail system connecting to over 25 miles of hiking and biking paths, appealing to the active urban lifestyle demographic prevalent in this market,” Landry said. Additionally, by having preferred retailers like Whole Foods and Target nearby, renters can avoid driving for living necessities, lessening environmental impact. Because driving is still sometimes necessary in Denver, an adjoining eight-story parking garage gives occupants access to their vehicles. Electric cars get preferred parking with plenty of charging stations to incentivize owning an eco-friendly car.
Landry explained that considering Denver residents’ expectations of luxury living accommodations while maintaining Gables’ strong commitment to green building is what made the project successful. “Gables chose to create an eight-story concrete structure with elevated amenities that took advantage of the irreplaceable mountain views that were available on the site,” he said. “By doing so, we believe, we have captured a higher level demographic that appreciates this level of product.” When the location and exterior design of Cherry Creek had been determined, Gables turned its focus to the interior of the mid-rise, giving special attention to both green and upscale features. While many residential buildings use only a level 4 or below MERV filter, Cherry Creek exclusively uses MERV 8 air filters throughout the building in hallways and within each unit. Using this level of air filtration ensures that up to 85 percent of harmful particles, such as mold spores, are kept out of the air. Floor to ceiling low emissivity windows were installed to showcase the mountain range on the horizon and allow natural light in, while also controlling radiant heat, keeping homes warmer during Denver’s snowy winters. “[Other] green practices include the use of low VOC paints, sealants and flooring adhesives, high efficiency HVAC systems, high efficiency glazing, patio doors and windows, use of recycled materials for steel, utilization of local markets for stone and CMU, use of reflective high efficiency TPO roofing, and electronic project management software to reduce paper waste,” Landry said.