Denver City Council on Monday unanimously approved a $149 million contract to revamp the 16th Street Mall, advancing a plan to give the kitschy tourist destination and busy walking-and-bussing street its first major facelift in nearly 40 years.
The contract with PCL Construction Services will pay for the redesign and construction of the mall, including the removal of the thin pedestrian strip down the street’s center. When the project is finished, possibly by the end of 2024, frequent mall shuttles will run down the middle instead. Crews will widen the sidewalks on either side of the transitway to create more room for people walking and wheeling.
Crumbling, leaky pavement that costs taxpayers $1 million a year to fix will be replaced throughout the corridor. And contractors will replace an underground water line from the 1800s and add over 250 trees to a street with only a handful of its 83 original oaks left.
Renovating the mall has been talked about for several years while officials tried to sew together funding sources. The contract OK’d Monday will use dollars from voter-approved bonds, Denver’s capital improvement budget, and from state and federal grants. A big chunk of the project will be funded by tax-increment financing, money that was already skimmed from tax payments in various pockets of downtown in anticipation of future real estate values.