I dressed carefully for this trip. I didn’t know where I would end up, and I wanted to look presentable if I walked into someplace nice. As it turned out, I was outside, traipsing down the sidewalk, almost the entire time. My goal was to walk the circumference of the Golden Triangle, which is a fairly small area south of downtown Denver. Why? Because it’s interesting to get one’s preconceptions out of the way early on.
But first I had to get there.
It was noon on a Saturday when I arrived in downtown Denver, and lunch was my first priority. I stopped at Ling and Louie’s, an Asian-influenced bar and grill on the Sixteenth Street Mall. I ordered the meatloaf sliders, which melted in my mouth, and was tempted to drink the dipping sauce, which tasted like brown gravy with hot and sour spices thrown in. But I resisted.
I took the mall shuttle and turned left up Colfax to Lincoln. The Capitol was right there, golden, but the triangle was still a few blocks away. At 14th and Lincoln I passed the Colorado State Judicial Building and the Colorado History Museum, both soon to be moved.**
When I reached 12th and Lincoln, the first corner of the Golden Triangle, I was facing south. It was a warm day, but the winter winds made me glad of my windbreaker. Parking lots squatted to my right, left over from the 1970s redevelopment of Denver, and St. Mark’s Church filled the corner across the intersection to my left. I headed over there because the building looked cool, checked it out, and disappeared into the shadow of the much larger Chancery office building on the same block.
Both places piqued my curiosity. What’s inside? Could I wander the halls of the office building freely?
In this way I began tracing the perimeter of the Golden Triangle with my feet.
The Beauvallon loomed up on my right at 10th Avenue and Lincoln. There’s no other way to say it: it’s a beige monstrosity with two wedding cake towers on the northern and southern ends of the block. But it is noticeable: I could see it from just about every vantage point in the Golden Triangle that day.
There were shops on the street level, but only the salon was open on Saturday afternoon. Restaurant Nine75 is also at the Beauvallon, right across from the Spicy Pickle Sub Shop, but Nine75 doesn’t do lunch on weekends. (When is this retail strip at street level busy? Must be geared toward the working crowd.) I walked through Avaino Coffee’s fancy wrought-iron entryway because I was desperate for a bathroom*** and ordered a hot chocolate I didn’t want. I saw a Westword I did want: “House of Cards: Craig Nassi Transformed the Golden Triangle, but Some Buyers Got a Raw Deal.”
Craig Nassi built the Beauvallon, the Prado, and the Belvedere, all in the Golden Triangle. Finding that article was fate, right? This theme was meant to be.
*I’ve been going back and forth about the northern boundary of the Golden Triangle. Many people would put the northern boundary of the Golden Triangle at Colfax (15th Avenue), not three blocks south at 12th Avenue, as Denver Infill does. I’m sympathetic to including the Capitol in either downtown Denver or the Capitol Hill neighborhood, but I’ve decided that the art galleries and museums south of Colfax and the Capitol should be included in the Golden Triangle.
**Denver Infill has information on these developments. Go to Central Denver Districts and click on the Civic Center subarea of downtown. The yellow rectangles show upcoming developments. I would link to the map, but he has so many maps that he prefers bloggers download the images to their own server instead of using his bandwidth. I didn’t want to mess with that, so I’m directing you to the main site.
*** Locating bathrooms is the traveler’s most crucial task.