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eventeen years ago, Matt Cecere was a younger man, 4240 Architecture was a dif-

ferent firm and Denver’s Riverfront Park was kind of a swamp. Today, Cecere and

4240 are older and wiser, better for the experience, and Riverfront Park is a spar-

kling urban node that preceded so much of what surrounds it today that it’s hard

not to think of it as a catalyst. Now this vibrant urban neighborhood patiently

awaits the many new offices, hotels, restaurants, bars and residences racing to fill

the void just across the Millennium Bridge to Union Station. Good development anticipates

needs; great development raises expectations. Riverfront Park set an important high-water

mark early in what now feels like Denver’s new central core.

“When I first started working at 4240, I remember looking out over a stretch of nothing

between the river and railroad yards,” says Cecere, who is now a principal with the firm.

“Now Riverfront Park is a fantastic urban community right in the heart of everything.” He

suggests that 4240’s process of promoting an intense curiosity in the craft of architecture

is grounded by listening to clients and asking what might be rather than arriving with

a starting point.

4240 resides in office space at Freight in the River North District’s own catalyst, Taxi,

just a bit further downstream from Riverfront Park. Like its groundbreaking work with

East-West Partners, which resulted in the first three buildings along Riverfront Park,

4240 remains vibrant as well. Along with Cecere, two of the firm’s other six principals,

Andy McRae and Lou Bieker, sit in a conference room looking out over a grey stretch

of the South Platte River for a conversation about design in Colorado and how they fit

in. Bieker, who’s been a leader at 4240 since the earliest days from predecessor, Urban

Design Group, admits the firm is something of an enigma in Denver’s architectural

scene. Flying under the radar is a feeling Bieker shrugs off with quiet confidence.

“We like to think of our designs as stylistically agnostic – we don’t have a signa-

ture. Instead we try to look at place and purpose and nurture the design’s organic

growth within the owner’s ambitions,” says Bieker. “We have been privileged to

align ourselves with some visionary clients who have provided us with some re-

ally spectacular sites to start the creative process.”

One such set of sites currently on the boards is the Saint Paul Collection, a

mixed-use project that encompasses two separate buildings straddling St. Paul

Street in the heart of Denver’s most prestigious shopping district, Cherry Creek

North. Being developed as top-of-the-market leased residences, the Saint Paul

Collection ties together 4240’s diverse experience and its core commitment

to creating places that compel an emotional response in users. Building on

its extensive experience in the hospitality sector where impressions – first

through last – are everything, the Saint Paul Collection will strive to offer

more than expected in urban living for the luxury rental market.

The Saint Paul Collection comprises 210 St. Paul and 255 St. Paul, which will

combine to offer a total of 165 units in one-, two- and three-bedroom con-

figurations and a premium amenities package available to both properties.

Sleek, sophisticated and timeless, the buildings each rise from their highly

animated street-level base to a height of eight stories capped by rooftop


Sean O’Keefe

4240, Quietly Confident A Denver design practice reflects on its contribution to place shaping through design