Neighborhood Spotlight: RiNo

Travel only a few minutes North of Denver’s Central Business District and you’ll find the River North Art District (commonly referred to as RiNo). Once an industrial zone, the area is now a neighborhood at the center of one of the largest construction booms in Denver’s history. In fact, there are 1.7 Million square feet under construction today.

Within the past five years alone the area has emerged as a thriving cultural hotspot. So much so, that Lonely Planet recently named it one of the top 10 neighborhoods in the US. Abandoned warehouses have been refurbished into jazz clubs, co-working spaces, food halls, urban markets and breweries… a lot of breweries.

From the moment you enter RiNo, the first thing you’ll notice (aside from the cranes and construction zones) is the artwork. Every building, alleyway, nook and cranny features the work of a local artist. The Art District embraces its rough around the edges nature, calling itself “The place where art is made.” Within a one-mile radius, it features more than 100 art galleries and is home to a collection of chef-inspired restaurants, furniture makers, craft distillers, winemakers, writers, performance artists and more.

Most of the construction, whether ground-up or tenant finish, has been intentional in retaining the gritty industrial spirit of the area. But, the rapid growth hasn’t come without its challenges. In the past five years, rent has increased 3.2 percent.

As prices rise and RiNo’s last empty lots begin to fill we’re starting to see the expansion spread into both the Elyria Swansea and Globeville neighborhoods. This is heightened in the wake of the National Western Center redevelopment. But, that’s a ‘Neighborhood Spotlight’ for another day.

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