Riverfront Park is an urban infill planned community that currently includes 1,859 rental and for-sale housing units in 14 buildings, 49,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a museum, and three parks on a 23-acre site adjacent to downtown Denver. Initiated by the city of Denver on former railroad land, the project involved a firm that assembled and rezoned the land and a second partnership of firms that undertook much of the development and construction. The project is arranged in a linear fashion between railroad tracks on one side and a 19-acre park developed by the city on the other, and is connected to the downtown by an iconic pedestrian bridge that spans the railroad tracks.
Denver was founded at the confluence of two quiet waterways, the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, where gold was first discovered in the Denver region. Over the city’s history, the waterfront has transitioned from an outpost to a boomtown to rail yards to a shantytown to a flood zone to a light-industrial park and now, finally, into a bustling downtown residential neighborhood. Just prior to redevelopment, the site was owned for many years by the Burlington Northern Railroad and included a huge rail yard and many tracks, as well as some old industrial warehouses that had to be demolished. The Riverfront Park community and the adjacent Commons Park are located at the historic heart of Denver, at the confluence of these two rivers. The site, including the park, is bordered on the northwest by the South Platte River, on the southwest by Cherry Creek, on the southeast by the railroad lines and the Union Station project and downtown Denver (with two pedestrian bridges that span the tracks), and on the northeast by 20th Street, a major arterial. The site offers immediate access to Interstate 25 via two nearby freeway interchanges. The site also benefits from a recently added pedestrian bridge across I-25 that connects Riverfront Park with neighborhoods to the north.