The recent completion of a streetscape renovation of Fillmore Plaza in Denver’s Cherry Creek North Business Improvement District allows the plaza to be easily converted from a special events venue into an open street for limited vehicle traffic.
Other key goals of the project were to increase pedestrian “dwell time” and establish the area as a citywide destination for multiple activities. The new Fillmore Plaza also serves as the gateway to Cherry Creek’s popular retail and dining district.
The redesign is the final improvement of “The New North,” the district’s privately funded, 16-block, $18.5-million streetscape project, and its first major renovation project in more than 20 years. The design team collaborated extensively with district leadership, retail owners and area property owners to transform Fillmore Plaza (located between 1st and 2nd Avenues) into a vibrant retail and event space to increase pedestrian, shopping and visitor traffic. The reintroduction of limited vehicle traffic makes the retail and restaurant spaces adjacent to the new plaza more attractive to potential tenants.
“Much thought was given to creating an urban environment that is shady and comfortable by day and intensely romantic and pedestrian-friendly by night,” said Design Workshop Principal Todd Johnson. His Denver-based international landscape architecture, land planning, urban design firm, along with Stantec/CommArts, an international placemaking and environmental design practice, led the redesign of Fillmore Plaza.
Johnson said that a rhythmic canvas of brick paving spans the entire plaza, which features Colorado Buff sandstone seat walls and planters punctuated by graceful benches, vertical “light blades” and a shade structure. The plaza can be closed to vehicle traffic to host events such as the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, Cherry Creek North Food & Wine and the annual Sidewalk Sale. To allow for these events, the northern half of the plaza is curbless, and vehicle traffic lanes are defined by a trench drain, movable planters and retractable bollards.
Permanent anchor points also allow for 12 event tents to be added when needed. Other Fillmore Plaza highlights include:
• Seating: Room for approximately 400 people while in “street mode” on benches under trees, seat walls, steps, movable tables and chairs, provided by the Cherry Creek North BID, and café seating, provided by retail/restaurants.