Highland’s barren Platte Street Plaza is about to get some new vibes and Wi-Fi

Plus shade (eventually)!

Most of Platte Street Plaza is closed off for construction. A walking and biking path remain open. (David Sachs/Denverite)

Most of Platte Street Plaza is closed off for construction. A walking and biking path remain open. (David Sachs/Denverite)

staff photos

A pretty bustling Platte Street ceases to bustle at the base of Highland Bridge over I-25, where two electrical boxes are the area’s main feature. There’s no “there” there.

Unico Properties will spend about $1.7 million to spruce up the area and lure lingerers to, you know, chill and what not. Benches, plants, trees, flowers, overhead lighting and, of course, the internet will be publicly available in the district of bars, restaurants, shops and office buildings.

“The plaza was nondescript. There was nothing there that was a cue to people that this was a place to work outside of the office or meet up and have lunch with somebody,” said Unico Vice President and Regional Director Austin Kane. “And we thought that there was an opportunity for us to improve what was public right-of-way and create a sense of place.”

A rendering of a more lively Platte Street Plaza. Wi-Fi not pictured. (Unico Properties)

A rendering of a more lively Platte Street Plaza. Wi-Fi not pictured. (Unico Properties)

The company owns the historic Zang and Circa buildings on either side of the property, so the move is an investment in their investments but also an investment in public placemaking. Several city departments had to approve the public-private partnership — the city owns the property — but taxpayers will foot no part of the bill moving forward, according to Kane.

Locals and visitors will have to wait to experience shade until the trees actually grow tall enough to provide it. The company will plant saplings.

Construction begins this month and will end in the fall or early winter. In the meantime, people walking and biking will have a clear path to and from the bridge.

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