Block 32 at RiNo a winner



  • Block 32 at RiNo reeling in the awards.
  • Named a Project of the Year by DU.
  • It also was one of the winners in the Mayor’s Design Award


Block 32 at RiNo

Block 32 at RiNo

In October, the penultimate stop on a bus tour of 10 apartment communities was a building that couldn’t be missed, with its splash of bright red on its exterior, which contrasted the nearby gray industrial buildings.

It’s name is Block 32 at RiNo.

“(Developer) Scott McFadden took a pioneering approach in selecting the location for Block 32,” Cary Bruteig, principal of Apartment Appraisers & Consultants told the more than 100 people on the tour, which was sponsored by the Colorado Real Estate Journal and drew a “who’s who” in multifamily development, design, leasing and investing.

“The concept was to move into a transitioning neighborhood on the edge of the CBD (Central Business District), purchase the land at an affordable price ($22 per square foot and $19,000 per unit), and keep construction costs down by NOT building a concrete parking structure, yet still achieve a density of almost 50 units per acre with four-story, wood frame construction,” Bruteig told the tour members, who combined control more than half of the apartment inventory in the metro area.

He noted that detached garages line the perimeter of the site, providing a buffer to the railroad tracks and adjoining industrial uses.

Bruteig said the “fringe location,” of Block 32 at RiNo was expected to primarily draw young single men as tenants.

“But, the first eight leases were signed by young single women,” Bruteig said.

He said the property has experienced a strong lease up.

“The the concept has worked very well.”

Part of that might be the curb appeal of the building at 3200 Brighton Boulevard designed by JG Johnson Architects.

Block 32 at RiNo.

Block 32 at RiNo.

“The red, gold, and black exterior colors are very bright, as are the colors in the clubhouse area You might need your glasses – inside!” Bruteig said.

In November, the news got even better for Block 32 at RiNo, which is along Brighton Boulevard in the gritty Riverfront North area that is quickly becoming a hipster haven with artists, computer geeks and trendy restaurants starting to move into the area that long had been the home of warehouses and small manufacturing facilities.

This month, the Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate and Construction at the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver named Block 32 at RiNo as the 2013 Project of the Year for apartments and residential development.

It also received a City of Denver Mayor’s Design Award for excellence in architecture, design and place-making.

This is what the judges for the Mayor’s Design Award had to say: “Block 32 at RiNo gets at the innovative, creative and industrial nature of River North with its bold color scheme and building materials. A new take on residential living in what was historically a heavy-industrial corridor, Scott McFadden’s funky apartment building introduces a new building type, with massing that reinforces the scale of Brighton Boulevard. With a restaurant at the sidewalk to activate the street, Block 32 takes its rightful place along the gateway to downtown.”

 Block 32 is now 94 percent leased and has achieved rental rates 25 percent greater than its original pro forma.

Bruteig said it is averaging rents slightly above $2.00 per square foot.

“We believed young renters would be attracted to an eclectic, high-quality residential community in this evolving neighborhood,” said developer McFadden, principal of Denver-based Prospect.

“It is thrilling to see that vision realized,” said McFadden, who has developed more than $1 billion in properties during his 25-year career.

Brighton Boulevard serves as the gateway to downtown from Interstate 70 and had long been eyed by Denver planners for its potential to create a unique community with a mix of uses.

For example, that is happening in the nearby TAXI development by Mickey and Kyle Zeppelin.RiNo press release1

Block 32 is seen the catalyst for other new projects that will make the Brighton corridor an appealing entry to downtown.

Managed by Riverstone Residential Group, the four-story building offers studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments intended to inspire creativity in an urban environment.

For example, eight of the ground floor units include roll-up garage doors that open into the living room of the apartment.

“This allows artists the freedom to work and move freely to and from their patio,” Bruteig said.

Amenities include:

 A lounge for residents to meet and mingle;
  • A conference room with audio-visual equipment;
  • An Internet cafe;
  • A “Paw Spa” dog wash;
  • An extensive fitness center;
  • A dedicated bike storage and “Bike Kitchen”;
  • And a 15,000-square-foot courtyard with a public lawn, fire pits, pool and spa, exterior bar, game area with ping pong and barbecue areas.

“The building is designed to fit in with the industrial character of the neighborhood,” said Jim Johnson, founding principal of JG Johnson Architects.

“It also is designed to meet Xcel’s Energy Efficient Building program,” Johnson said. It also is designed to meet standards set by Enterprise Green Communities.

“We included photovoltaic solar (on the ground, not on the rooftop), energy-efficient lighting and increased thermal insulation on the roof and exterior skin to ensure the long-term energy usage for the building is minimized, which will benefit the owner, the residents and the environment,” Johnson said.

Interested in buying a home in RiNo? Please visit

Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at is sponsored by Universal Lending, Land Title Guarantee and 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.


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John Rebchook

John Rebchook has more than 30 years of experience in writing and communications. As the Real Estate Editor for the Rocky Mountain News, he wrote about residential and commercial real estate for 26 years. He has won numerous awards for business stories and columns that he wrote, both as an individual and part of teams. In addition to real estate, he also covered economic development, banking and financing, the airlines, and cable TV for the Rocky. In addition, he was one of the original freelance writers for, covering commercial real estate for the Internet publication.

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