Lower Downtown Design Review Commission

Overview

The function of the Lower Downtown Design Review Commission is to preserve, enhance, and perpetuate structures that have architectural, historical, geographic or cultural significance within the Lower Downtown Historic District.  

Agenda items for consideration can include the following:

  • Recommendations to City Council on the contributing (or historic) status of structures within the district
  • Design review for new construction, alterations, signs and demolitions
  • Adoption of design guidelines, policies and procedures related to historic preservation within the district

General Meeting Information

  • Time and date: Lower Downtown Design Review Commission meetings are held the 1st Thursday of every month at 8:30 a.m.
  • Location: Meetings are held virtually, see agenda for specifics.
  • Virtual access: Members of the public may participate virtually via Zoom. Meeting links and call-in information is posted for every meeting. 
  • Accessibility: If you need a sign language interpreter or CART Services, contact SignLanguageServices@denvergov.org at least three business days ahead of the meeting you'd like to attend. For other public accommodation requests/concerns related to a disability, please contact DisabilityAccess@denvergov.org.

 

See info for December 2 meeting

Information for Presenters

Submission and Staff Review

Design review applications, and other applications for board consideration, are due 3 weeks and 2 days (23 days) prior to the first Thursday meeting. Once a project is submitted, Landmark Preservation staff works with the applicant to ensure that the project meets the design guidelines, the materials are complete and to write a staff report and create a presentation for LDDRC members that includes a recommendation of approval, approval with conditions, or denial for the project. 

To make meeting length more manageable and create greater predictability for commission members and applicants, agendas are capped at a certain number of projects. Projects are added to the agendas on a first come first served basis. If more than 2 infill projects or more than 5 projects total are submitted in a given month, the commission will hold an overflow meeting on the second Thursday of the month. If 4 infill projects or 10 projects total are submitted in a given month, additional projects are scheduled for the following month. 

Helpful Downloads

Design Review Guidelines

The Lower Downtown Design Review Commissions conducts design review for the Lower Downtown Historic District, using the following design guidelines.

Lower Downtown Historic District Map

Members

Commission is made up of nine members who are appointed by the mayor, serve three-year terms and receive no compensation. Members must include the following:

  • Real estate developer with experience in rehabilitation of commercial/residential projects similar in scale to buildings in the district
  • Practicing architect
  • Historic preservationist
  • Preservation architect
  • Resident of the district
  • Property owner in the district
  • Owner or operator of a business in the district

Tom Cella

  • At Large
  • Term expires 5/1/2021

Tom Cella Denver native, married, father of 2 and grandfather of 5. Background in construction. Established Spectrum GC in 1978. Initial projects residential and historic properties. Ten years forward projects included more generally commercial and historic profiles. Recently divested ownership with continuing consulting involvement. Projects of note; Colorado State Capitol, US Mint, Denver Civic Center Park Monuments, Oxford Hotel and multiple local restaurants and hospitality facilities 

 

Mike Coughlin, vice-chair

  • Real estate developer
  • Term expires 5/1/2023

Michael Coughlin is an Executive Vice President of Coughlin & Company, Inc., Colorado’s oldest investment banking firm.   For nearly 30 years, Mike has been instrumental in the firm’s real estate development and property management efforts, which has included the award-winning redevelopment of six Denver Landmark buildings in Lower Downtown Denver and in the former Lowry Air Force base.  He has also overseen the development or acquisition of more than 2,000 apartment units and the construction and management of dozens of commercial real estate projects including office, retail, medical, single-family lots, and hotel properties.

Mike is a Denver native and he and his wife raised their family in the Washington Park neighborhood.  He is graduate of Stanford University and received an MBA from Harvard University.  

 

Jane Crisler, chair

  • Preservation architect
  • Term expires 5/1/2023

Andy Duckett-Emke

  • Historic preservationist
  • Term expires 5/1/2023

Andy Duckett-Emke is a licensed architect and associate at Anderson Hallas Architects.  He has over twenty years of work experience after completing his Masters Degree in Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Technology, Helsinki.  Andy served 2 terms on Denver’s Landmark Preservation Commission and is currently serving on Denver’s Lower Downtown Design Review Commission.  Andy’s professional work includes the rehabilitation of stone and cast iron lighthouse within the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, rehabilitation of the log and timber Many Glacier Hotel,  the stone and brick Pitkin County Courthouse and the wood framed Elkhorn Tavern in the Pea Ridge National Military Park.   

 

Fred Glick

  • Property owner in the district
  • Term expires 5/1/2022

Fred Glick is a commercial real estate developer working primarily on adaptive reuse projects in Denver’s urban core.  He is also an active community volunteer and currently serves on the boards of RedLine Contemporary Art Center, Denver Civic Ventures, Clayton United RNO, and Denver Architecture Foundation.  He also serves on the Downtown Denver Partnership’s Mobility Council and Urban Exploration Planning Committee.  Fred chaired the board of the Academy of Urban Learning, a Denver charter school serving unhoused and at-risk students.  He led the Learning Spaces Committee at Denver Shared Spaces, was a member of the Mile High Connects Advisory Council and helped establish the Aurora Welcome Center, serving immigrants and refugees.

A Denver native, Fred spent twenty years abroad in Swaziland, South Africa, India, Egypt and the United Kingdom.  He holds a BFA from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and is a master’s student in University of Colorado Denver’s Urban and Regional Planning program.

James Graebner

  • Resident of the district
  • Term expires 5/1/2022

Jim Graebner was born in western Pennsylvania in a town without a stop light. He received his undergraduate degree from Valparaiso University and a graduate degree from Case Western Reserve University.  He first came to Denver when he was assigned to manage the study which led to the city buying the Denver Tramway.  He became RTD’s fourth employee and spent 4 1/2 years there before becoming the general manager of the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority. This was followed by 8 years as CEO of the San Jose Transit system, quintupling ridership and building the light rail line. A three-year stint in Canada gave him the courage to return to Denver where he started his own consulting firm, which has kept him busy for the past nearly 35 years. He moved to LoDo in 1994 and has watched it change and grow into a model for the mixed-use urban community that it has become.

John McIntyre

  • At Large
  • Term expires 5/1/2024

John McIntyre, ANZIA, Principal at Tryba Architects has 21 years of experience in award-winning, international design. He has provided design leadership for cultural and academic institutions, master plans, adaptive reuse, corporate and mixed-use developments in Denver, New York, London, Toronto and New Zealand. John specializes in adaptive reuse and the repositioning of existing buildings and has significant experience working within historic urban environments. He has a deep understanding of sustainable design principles, contextual design and the importance of the sensitive integration of contemporary architecture with the existing building fabric to provide both continuity with the past and relevance for the future.

Heather Vasquez Johnson

  • Architect
  • Term expires 5/1/2022

Heather Vasquez Johnson is a licensed Architect at Johnson Nathan Strohe with over fifteen years of experience.  Heather brings a strong ability to bridge the unique technical and creative design components of architecture and interior design, with a current focus on hospitality design and a passion for adaptive reuse.  She was the project manager for the renovation of the Crawford Hotel at Denver’s Union Station and the rehabilitation of Hose Company No. 1, now Woodie Fisher restaurant.  Before joining the Lower Downtown Design Review Commission, Heather served as vice chair of the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission. 

 

Steve Weil

  • Owner/operator of a business in the district
  • Term expires 5/1/2022

Steve Weil is the business owner commission member. Steve is president and chief design officer, the 3rd generation of his family to run Rockmount Ranch Wear Mfg. Co. The firm has been in Lower Downtown since 1946. Rockmount manufacturers apparel, hats, and accessories, and sells to stores world-wide.  In addition to being a designer, Steve is a preservationist, serving on the board of Historic Denver. He headed the renovation and transformation of the Rockmount Building, a 1909 Wazee Street landmark that was originally a warehouse. Today it is mixed use including retail, offices, warehouse, and basement garage. Steve has also undertaken residential historic renovation. He is particularly concerned with the balance between preservation, property rights and the necessity of innovation to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world.