The Denver Housing Authority celebrated the next phase of community revitalization at its Mariposa development on West 10th Avenue and Navajo Street in Denver on April 10.

Photo courtesy of DHA
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette and Housing and Urban Development Administrator Rick Garcia sign a ceremonial building beam at the April 10 Mariposa Phase 2 groundbreaking in Denver.

Phase 2 construction will begin immediately and is scheduled for completion next summer. Work includes major infrastructure improvements on West 10th Avenue, which will become the neighborhood’s central promenade, and a plaza for community gatherings, markets and festivals. Four new mixed-income, mixed-use buildings totaling 93 residential units will be built to LEED-Gold standards, including rooftop solar panels. The residential units will be 1, 2, 3 and 4-bedroom apartments and townhomes. The area will be graced by a dramatic sculpture by local artist Emanuel Martinez.

“We’ll officially start construction on four new buildings and a central plaza while welcoming new arts, education and culinary tenants,” said Ismael Guerrero, executive director, Denver Housing Authority. “Mariposa is becoming the creative urban community we’ve all envisioned.”

The first building on West 10th Avenue and Navajo Street will include a 6,000-sq-ft, ground-floor space for a youth media studio in partnership with, a nonprofit. The group is fundraising for the $2.75-million, state-of-the-art space, which will also include an indoor-outdoor performance venue, digital design studio and space for poetry, music and youth leadership workshops.
DHA’s urban design team, led by OZ Architecture, includes Perspective3 and Urban Ventures. Landscape design is by Wenk Associates Inc. and civil engineering by Jansen Strawn Consulting Engineers. The general contractor is Denueve Construction.

“This sustainable, transit-oriented project is a true example of how public-private partnerships can be leveraged to create jobs and long-term solutions for local communities,” said U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D), at the groundbreaking. “I’m so proud that this $22-million phase of construction is estimated to create 300 jobs, with approximately $47 million in local spending through contracts, materials, equipment and labor.”

“Today, we are in the heart of one of Denver’s many culturally rich neighborhoods, bringing a mixed-use, family-friendly community adjacent to the light rail and the Santa Fe Arts business district,” said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. “This nationally recognized redevelopment project is truly a stunning model of sustainable living in Denver that exemplifies how together we are delivering a world-class city where everyone matters.”

The groundbreaking was followed by a community open house at nearby Tapiz Apartments, the new 100-unit, affordable, LEED-certified apartment community at 11th and Osage, with a state-of-the-art kitchen and café for the Youth Culinary Academy. Nearly 100 young people have graduated from the program, going on to jobs in the culinary industry.

Tapiz is a new community center offering job training, health and wellness programs and social activities for residents. It also houses permanent space for Arts Street, a nonprofit that provides classes and multimedia design instruction to more than 2,000 under-served youth each year. The 100-unit, LEED-Platinum building, which opened to residents in February, was named one of the “100 Recovery Act Projects Changing America” by the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.

The Denver Housing Authority, in partnership with the city of Denver, RTD and the community, continues work on several other sustainable transit-oriented developments. Some of the transit-oriented developments planned or under way on the FasTracks West Corridor light rail line include Federal Decatur Station, Knox Station and 44th Avenue.