BOOM WITHOUT THE BUST. Denver SmartGrowth.
There isn't a brewery or coffee shop in town where the patrons aren't buzzing about the 27 construction cranes dotting the skyline. You've memorized the numbers, over 10,000 new residents per month migrating to Denver. Property values are soaring, unemployment is low but Denver has some growing pains to address. There are pressures on social services, schools, community programs and policy makers are scrambling to put forth some solutions. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock has unfurled a $937 million bond package so there will be plenty of public debate to follow. We are talking to architects and builders to get their input on growth challenges. Today we sat down with Zeke Freeman the Principal Architect of Root Architecture & Development. We asked him the following:
BOC: What is the advantage of the Design / Build strategy ? (vs having construction docs hitting the street for GCs to bid against each other) Early in my career I spent a lot of time pushing quality design and haggling with contractors to get the design our clients wanted at the price they could afford. I found this process to be frustrating for all parties involved. We find that with Design Build we have live feedback that is not shaded with clouds of distrust as we’re making wise decisions with our clients and contractors. The goal is not to beat down contractors or push our designs upon anyone but, to create the best quality projects for our clients, the communities that we build in and our trade partners we work with. The first step in the process is making the decision to only work with clients and contractors that share these values. We find the process of design/build comes in many different forms from our in house turn-key solutions to partnership with our developer-builders. The common denominator for all our projects is clarity of goals with early and accurate feedback on design decisions along the path to a successful project.
BOC: What is a good practice for addressing ROI with clients?
We are excited to be a part of a new generation of place makers in the city of Denver. We’re living in an extraordinary time where there is a continuing progression towards the democracy of information. The key today is not finding the information regarding cost or values but, knowing how to process all the information coming at you and being able to make informed and creative decisions with this information with the end goal of creating profitable and extraordinary places. As an Architect and Builder today it’s important to understand the implications of the decisions we make and how this impacts the cities we live in and the bottom lines of each of our clients. To be a successful leader in this industry you must constantly balance conflicting desires and help make the best decisions. These daily decisions range from striking a balance with a client's BMW desires with a Ford budget, to managing a Developers need to make a good ROI to helping neighborhoods preserve the character of it’s communities. These decisions are never clear cut. This is why we intentionally have partnerships and close physical proximity to the developers, realtors, builders and building officials we are working with on a daily basis. This not only helps us keep a pulse on all aspects of the industry but, it also allows us to understand and empathize with the need, desires and wants of these various fields that will ultimately determine what the future of our cities look like along with the ROI for our clients and communities. BOC: The buildings we occupy use more energy than the cars we drive. Multi family is good for environment and the wallet right?
Sure, there are lot’s of positive aspects about multi-family projects including these. One of the largest one in Denver is the current rise in housing cost, with an influx of people wanting to live in close proximity to urban cores. Multi-family development in our cities is one way to provides attainable housing for the next generation of people looking to own their own homes. These homes are typically built to higher building standards then the homes that may have been there before, they are in walkable districts which decreases commuting and they add new life to neighborhoods or homes that may have previously been deteriorating. But like all things multi-family projects are not a one-size fit’s all solution and we must be careful in this current housing Boom to not create homes with low caliber of quality that will ultimately be Bust for our future city.
Root Architecture 5-plex @ 1260 Xavier Denver | Parking in the back w/ black modular brick & cedar panel exterior, Xtra natural light | transparent man and dog not included
BOC: Are you working on any townhomes right now?
We’ve got about 60-70 units coming up across 15-20 townhome projects, these include a 10-plex coming up at 3901 Cook St, a 5-plex at 1260 Xavier, a 5-plex at 2922 w. 26th , 10-units at 4420 Pecos and several others across various design phases.
Zeke Freeman has an impressive resume including work at 3 prestigious Denver firms (Bennett Wagner Grody, Roth Sheppard & OZ) He is now the principal of Root Architecture and Development. Contact Zeke email@example.com if you have a project you'd like his team to examine.
Root Architecture & Development
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