2901 Blake Street
Sat and Sun 10AM–4PM
Architect: Davis Partnership Architects
Year Built: 1927; Renovation 2016
Photo Restrictions: No
2901 Blake Street originated in 1927 as the home to Magnus Metals, a foundry. It remains a River North mystery as to how long Magnus Metals operated, because in 1976 when Noah Siegel bought the building, it had been converted into a moving and storage warehouse. There were rows of Prestone Antifreeze filling the building from floor to ceiling, and in one room Noah uncovered a motorboat. Despite the puzzling contents of the building, Siegel believed that the warehouse’s lofty ceilings with its spacious bays would be perfect for housing his company, Eastwood Printing.
In 1979, Siegel moved his printing business to 2901 Blake Street where the company thrived under his leadership for next 13 years. In 1992, Sonia Danielsen, Siegel’s daughter, bought the family business and proceeded to run Eastwood Printing for 12 more years at 2901 Blake Street. In 2004, Sonia sold her business to Consolidated Graphics, a national printing company, but kept ownership of the real estate. Consolidated Graphics operated in the building for an additional 10 years, but in 2014, Sonia was faced with a dilemma. The printing industry was shrinking, and Consolidated Graphics was forced to discontinue their operations at 2901 Blake Street: Sonia needed to decide what the future of the building would hold.
She was repeatedly approached by a number of developers hoping to tear down 2901 Blake Street and build a trendy five-story apartment complex in its place. However, Sonia felt invested in the rich history of 2901 Blake Street and couldn’t bear to see the 100-year-old building with its aged brick facade and clearstory windows demolished. At this point in time, the River North neighborhood was growing and transforming into a nexus of Denver culture. The area was booming with local businesses and had developed a flourishing arts scene. Sonia acknowledged this shift and decided that her building needed to be repurposed to fit the changing environment of River North. She then embarked on a project to conserve the architectural and historical integrity of the building while simultaneously increasing the space’s relevance to the neighborhood.
In 2014, Sonia began the process of renovating 2901 Blake Street with the intention of creating a suitable environment for creative office and retail space. To start the transformation process, Sonia had the white and silver paint removed from the walls revealing beautiful red brick. Then she replaced the leaky roof, fixed 400 broken clerestory windows, and redid the street-level windows with new energy-efficient storefront glass. She then shifted her attention to the back of the building where there was a concrete train dock that used to bring in raw materials for both Magnus Metals and Eastwood Printing. She transformed the dock into a covered patio with views of Longs Peak. The original building has retained its riveted steel trusses and large open bays with tons of natural light from the 8,000 original steel-sashed clerestory windows. The building’s structure and history remains intact, but the building is primed to become a space for collaborative businesses.
2901 is now called Bindery on Blake, because the latest renovation hopes to bind the building’s rich printing history with a future of creative business and innovative ideas.
The original brick building with riveted steel trusses, large open bays, and abundant natural light offers a beautiful background for the studio of nearly 150 architects, interior designers, and landscape architects at Davis Partnership. Occupying the two westernmost bays of the overall building, Davis Partnership designed the space to serve as a model for collaborative and sustainable office environments located in renovated historic buildings.
The interior design concept is simple: a series of crisp, clean, white boxes have been inserted into the worn industrial shell. The juxtaposition of the modern against the vintage highlights the contrast between high design and the unique charm of the almost-century-old building.
Designed with high standards for sustainability, the project team conducted an in-depth study of the existing building and found many areas where upgrades were required in order to dramatically reduce energy and operating costs. Originally estimated to be in the range of eight to ten dollars per square foot, annual energy costs are now estimated to be less than one dollar per square foot per year. Overall, the building’s energy usage is expected to be lower than any other retrofit office space in Denver.
With the upgrades implemented in the building, Davis Partnership is proud to be pursuing LEED Gold certification under the new, more restrictive LEED version4, and this project is slated to become one of the first office renovations in a historic building to achieve this level under the new standard.