Denver in early March unveiled an ambitious plan to upgrade its sprawling downtown performing-arts complex. Officials want to transform the 12-acre site from a group of disparate theater venues into a “lively arts-centered neighborhood.” 

The Denver Performing Arts Complex’s (DPAC) 10 performance spaces now house the Colorado Ballet, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Opera Colorado, and stages for Broadway shows and regional plays. The DPAC draws evening crowds during theater season, but the area is underused most days. The so-called Next Stage Now plan would demolish the outdated, 2,600-seat Boettcher Concert Hall and the city’s 1,700-space parking garage and build a 1,200-seat venue for the symphony, several smaller spaces for regional theater groups, space for Denver Public Schools performing-arts students and a 2,600-space parking garage.

At least three privately developed residential towers, up to 40 stories tall and housing up to 1,000 residents, would anchor the complex. The city has not priced the project, which likely would not begin construction for at least four years, officials say. “The Next Stage vision provides a phenomenal opportunity to elevate our arts complex to become a vibrant, public regional center of cultural activity in the heart of downtown,” said Mayor Michael Hancock.