DENVER – Longtime Telluride resident Grant McCargo’s newly opened urban residence building, the SugarCube, is designed to fit in with its historic Lower Downtown neighborhood while incorporating contemporary design elements to give long- and short-term residents an unparalleled living space in the heart of Denver’s sports, dining and entertainment district.
Not surprisingly, considering McCargo’s own lifestyle, the project was largely conceived to appeal to residents of mountain resorts like Telluride, who may wish to spend anywhere from a night or two to up to a few weeks or months in Denver and enjoy the benefits of having their own place, without the cost or headaches of owning it.
The SugarCube is located on the busy corner of the 16th Street Mall and Blake Street – the perfect location for business executives, Broncos fans or the mountain weekender who is looking for urban culture. Designed by the award-winning architect Bruce Kuwabara, of the firm Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg, the outside of the building features historic materials. On the inside, the SugarCube contains 37 luxury units defined by high-end materials like wide-plank walnut and ash floors, wool carpet, Italian cabinetry and Bosch and Gaggenau appliances.
“We wanted the building to be something of its time,” said McCargo, the CEO of Urban Villages, a green development firm that takes as its mission to create places “that endure, inspire and connect,” according to its website.
“Right now, the average commercial building has a 20-year lifecycle.” At Urban Villages, he said: “We are about buildings that last 100 years.
“We also wanted a building that is a piece of art.” The building goes no higher than its surrounding historic buildings yet carries a contemporary sugar cube look like no other building in Denver.
Urban Villages, McCargo said, is all about “green” building; he went on to emphasize that the SugarCube’s most important feature is that it “won’t be recycled in 50 years” like so many urban buildings. Instead, he said: “It will last hundreds of years.”
The SugarCube has solar panels on the rooftop and huge operable windows in each unit to let in natural daylight and fresh air. The building was also constructed with thick walls for better insulation.
“It is a super-insulated building,” McCargo said. “The local contractors kept asking us why we were building the walls so thick.”
The answer to that question: “We want to keep our energy costs down. A lot of companies go through LEED standards,” he said. “We are beyond all of those things.”
As if constructing the building in an environmentally progressive way wasn’t enough, the SugarCube has a prime location for minimal-to-no driving while in the downtown area. From its rooftop, Invesco Field at Mile High and the Pepsi Center can be seen to the west with Coors Field to the east. And for those who show up for dining and entertainment, the shops and restaurants of the 16th Street Mall are only a few steps away, with Larimer Square and Union Station just a few blocks away. The now mostly silent train station will soon undergo redevelopment to become the center of the Denver region’s new transit system, the hub of the 2004-approved FasTracks, which will bring 119 miles of new rail lines and 18 miles of bus transit.
“The restaurants and activities are already down here,” McCargo said. “With the Union Station project, there will be a migration back to this area, especially with the price of gas as it is.” McCargo said the central location lends itself to a mixed-use building. The bottom floor of the building is designed for commercial space; the middle section is designed for offices. And above it all are the 37 residential units, each one with secure parking in the basement garage.
“By mixing density, we got a density bonus,” McCargo said. “Density is positive, not negative, if it is managed and done correctly. The urban location has its value, but the residential market is soft. If we just had for-sale condos, we would be worried right now. The mixed use brings a varied income stream. This place really creates an active place like you would find in midtown Manhattan.”
McCargo said there is no time limit to the length of time a SugarCube residence can be leased, and that single-night rates will be available, as well. Renters will enjoy the benefits of a full-service concierge, offering everything from drycleaning pick-up to ensuring the refrigerator is well-stocked prior to a late-night arrival.
“The idea is that some people who come to stay here a week would rather stay here than a hotel,” McCargo said. “Business executives, like me, need a high level of services. My primary residence is in Telluride, but I work in Denver and may need to stay in Denver for extended periods of time. The apartments are already furnished, and can be rented for any length of time.”
For more information on the residences at the SugarCube in LoDo visit www.sugarcubebuilding.com/ or call Asset Manager of the Sugar Complexes, Nick Koncilja, at 720-904/0928.
“We are really progressive company,” McCargo said. “I consider us a human habitat business that constantly asks how do we create places to live that are special.”