Denver Launches 16th Street Mall Renovation
Published on April 14, 2022
Initiative will replace aging infrastructure and enhance the visitor experience
DENVER – Denver’s 16th Street Mall is open for business, and a project to breathe new life into the iconic pedestrian destination is now underway. Today, Mayor Michael B. Hancock gathered with downtown residents and businesses, representatives of the Downtown Denver Partnership, Regional Transportation District (RTD) and Denver Urban Renewal Authority to officially launch the 16th Street Mall Project, breaking ground with decorative shovels indicative of the colorful design materials that will be a hallmark of the project.
“This is a truly monumental day in the life of our downtown as we kick off a project that will secure the future of the 16th Street Mall for generations to come,” Mayor Hancock said. “The 16th Street Mall reconstruction is a key part of downtown’s comeback and will set the pace of Denver’s overall equitable and sustainable economic recovery.”
The 16th Street Mall Project is the first major renovation of this vital downtown corridor since its opening in 1982. A primary driver for the project is the need to address deteriorating infrastructure, specifically the granite paver system, that results in poor drainage, frequent disruptions to the transit system and maintenance costs of more than $1M annually.
“The 16th Street Mall transitway is a vital community connector linking Civic Center to Union Station,” said Debra A. Johnson, RTD General Manager and CEO. “We look forward to working collaboratively and cooperatively with all project partners to provide an exceptional customer experience on this historic urban corridor.”
The 16th Street Mall renovation is a component of Denver’s overall financial plan for an equitable and sustainable economic recovery and is anticipated to support more than 1,800 jobs, generate more than $155 million in income for workers, nearly $380 million in sales for businesses and have a regional economic impact of as much as $4 billion throughout the duration of the project.
The City and County of Denver will deploy $1M from the city’s 2022 General Fund to support small businesses along the Mall during construction. The city is partnering with the Downtown Denver Partnership to distribute grants and technical assistance to eligible small businesses along the Mall and is currently moving a contract with the Downtown Denver Partnership through the Denver City Council.
“The 16th Street Mall is one of the city’s most important public spaces, serving millions of people each year,” said Kourtny Garrett, President and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. “This project will enhance the overall experience for residents, employees, and visitors, ensuring the Mall remains Denver’s Main Street. For now, it’s more important than ever that we rally behind the businesses that make Downtown special and ensure they have the resources they need to thrive during construction.”
Highlights of the 16th Street Mall project include:
- Replacing the mall’s existing granite paver system with one that drains more effectively and offers greater surface friction to improve pedestrian safety.
- Moving the transit lanes to the center of the Mall, eliminating the median that runs between the buses on some blocks, and creating wider pedestrian walkways and new amenity zones for leisure, commerce, entertainment, and tourism.
- Expanding and diversifying the Mall’s tree canopy
- Honoring the Mall’s iconic original design by I.M. Pei and Associates, and Olin
- Exciting new art that will draw people to the corridor
Access to all businesses will be maintained throughout the project. Colorful and abundant wayfinding signage with feel-good imagery will help people navigate the Mall and get where they want to go. A brightly-wrapped portable trailer will be onsite throughout, providing a place for people to visit and learn more about the project. An opportunity to meet with the construction team in person will occur monthly, with a schedule provided on the project’s website at www.denvergov.org/16thStreetMall. People can also stay connected to the project by searching “16th Street Mall Project” in the Apple or Google Play stores and downloading our mobile app.
The 16th Street Mall renovation will improve infrastructure on 13 blocks along the corridor from Market Street to Broadway. Work will start in the center/transitway area on Block 1 between Market and Larimer Streets, with a new adjacent block entering construction approximately four to eight weeks later. Each block will be under construction for approximately 18 months. The project will wrap up at the end of 2024.
The RTD Free MallRide shuttle will continue to run during the 16th Street Mall project, rerouted to 15th and 17th Streets as needed. RTD will update the public on their MallRide page.
The city selected PCL Construction Services as the design/build firm to carry out the 16th Street Mall Project. PCL’s $149M design/build contract is funded through a mix of local, state, and federal funds, including voter approved Elevate Denver bond funds and contributions from partners including the Denver Urban Renewal Authority, Colorado Department of Transportation, and Federal Transit Administration.