Former U.S. Air Force Base Converts to Mixed-Use Sustainable Self-Storage Project in Denver

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The hangar’s solar power system cost approximately $500,000, but with support from the federal government and a rebate from Xcel Energy, the net costs will be much less. Over the course of one to two years, Hangar 2 will recoup the cost of its solar-power system and enjoy the benefit of free, clean energy for the next 30 years.

“The solar-power system is one of the largest and most visible examples of a building-integrated photovoltaic installation in the country,” said Hartman, a partner in HEI. “Hangar 2 stands as Lowry’s solar symbol. In fact, onlookers cheered as the first panels were set in place.” He suggests that anyone considering a solar installation should not ignore the significant marketing benefits in addition to the financial benefits before making a decision.

Building Community

HEI and Larimer Associates have a unique relationship with the Lowry and Denver communities. Since both companies are well-trusted in these areas, they were able to pre-lease five large storage units at market rate for a year to a local business tenant―all before construction even started. H2P also holds periodic community events within the expansive drive-aisle space and recently started the Lowry Farmer’s Market at Hangar 2. These types of relationships and community events integrate the hangar into the neighborhood in a symbiotic way that’s very unusual for a self-storage facility.

H2P has incorporated 12 spaces for the Lowry Dining District in phase 2 of the project, which was designed by Semple Brown Design of Denver. Currently there’s also a yoga studio, and future plans call for the Lowry Dog Spa & Hotel. Negotiations are in progress to lease another 2,500 square feet of retail space to a restaurant.

H2P, which had to get landmark commission and community approval to build its project, is indebted to many local and regional public officials who played a part in its success. Those agencies include the Denver Urban Renewal Authority, who provided essential financing for the project, the Lowry Community Master Association, the Lowry Redevelopment Authority and the City of Denver. FirstBank of Denver was also a key private-sector team member, providing the bulk of the financing to get the job done.

Since the project opening in March, public reaction has been positive. H2P has aggressively marketed the self-storage component with an open house, local media outreach, direct mail, e-mail blasts and personal calls.

Hartman’s biggest piece of advice for those tackling a historic-building conversion? “Start early with the code approvals. It takes an incredible amount of time.” But it’s time well spent, as Hangar 2 has secured its place in the self-storage―and historic―hall of fame.

The Hangar 2 Project Team

  • Developers: Hartman Ely Investments, Larimer Associates
  • Facility management: Extra Space Storage Inc.
  • Architects: Patricia Mueller Calandra, Jim Hartman
  • General contractor: TRC Cos.
  • Doors and hallway systems: Janus International
  • Building systems: The Rabco Corp.
  • Mechanical components: Design Mechanical
  • Electrical contractor: Wrangler Electric
  • Fire sprinkler: Diamond Fire
  • Solar panels: Martifer Solar

Amy Fuhlman manages the marketing communications programs for Janus International, a manufacturer of self-storage doors, hallway systems and building components. For more information, visit www.janusintl.com .

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