W hile the Denver skyline continues to be filled with cranes, owners and managers of multifam- ily properties have found themselves in a virtual arms race to provide the latest and greatest amenities to attract tenants. Gone are the days when a swimming pool and an exercise room would distinguish a property from its competitors – dog washes, espresso bars, indoor/outdoor kitchen facili- ties, rooftop decks and smarthome features have become so common during our latest building boom that these extras have become com- modities that renters have come to expect rather than appreciate. In a sea of new apartments, espe- cially in central Denver, owners are finding it chal- lenging to dif- ferentiate their product. After all, even a renovated vintage building is competing with projects com- pleted just one or two years ago. One local multifamily owner has borrowed a page from the playbooks of the creative com- munities in River North and along Santa Fe Drive to incorporate a truly one-of-a-kind amenity: art. Christina Eisenstein spent the better part of a year renovating the 34-unit building at 1380 Steele St. and the 18-unit property at 1300 Adams St. Eisenstein set out to create handsome interiors with higher-end finishes, along with some whimsical artistic details. While working through renova- tions, she noticed the significant blank canvases at her disposal – the Steele Street property is six stories tall – so she set out to find an artist capable of converting the charcoal gray walls into an Instagram-worthy source of pride for the neighbor- hood and future tenants. Enter artist Pat Milbery, a Denver- based muralist whose distinctive vivid color-blocking style has graced everything from Denver Public School buildings to the Westminster light-rail station to the oversized smiley face statue advertising Vis- ible Mobile at Stanley Marketplace. Eisenstein and Milbery met after she encountered one of his pieces at RiNo’s annual Crush Walls street art festival. Their respective creative energies jelled, and Milbery was given broad latitude to follow his vision at 1380 Steele. The property now features multiple Milbery origi- nals, the largest of which is nearly 60 feet tall. Please see Page 26 INSIDE See how the numbers stack up when compar- ing renting to buying a home in Denver. The cost to rent vs. buy Profiles on the individual and project recipients of this year’s Housing Colorado awards. Affordable housing PAGES 30-38 In today’s market, public-private partnerships offer solutions for making a project feasible. Developer insights PAGE 19 November 2019 PAGE 4 Murals elevate apartments into landmarks Thomas Graeve Senior adviser, Pinnacle Real Estate Advisors Artist: Pat Milbery/So-Gnar Creative Division; Photo: TJ Romero The apartment buildings at 1380 Steele St. features three Pat Milbery murals, the largest of which is nearly 60 feet tall.