Aparium Hotel Group has been tapped to manage Populus, the eye-catching hotel under construction at the edge of Denver’s Civic Center Park.
Denver-based Urban Villages, which is developing the hotel, announced the management deal on Wednesday in conjunction with a topping-out ceremony for the project, which broke ground in April 2022.
A project tops out when the last beam is placed atop the structure. The hotel is expected to open in May or June of next year.
Chicago-based Aparium manages about a dozen independent hotels in major cities. The company’s only other one in Denver is the Clayton Members Club & Hotel in Cherry Creek.
Jon Buerge, chief development officer and partner at Urban Villages, said the company was chosen because it treats all its properties differently.
“They really are known for curating something that’s based on the location,” he said.
Additionally, Buerge said Aparium “really leads with food and beverage.” Populus will have two restaurants, one on the ground floor and one on the rooftop, that the companies hope will attract locals in addition to those staying overnight.
Populus is going up on a 0.24-acre triangular parcel at 240 14th St. It’s across the street from Denver’s City and County Building and the Webb Municipal Building.
The 13-story, 265-room hotel is the first Colorado building designed by Chicago-based architecture firm Studio Gang. It will feature a unique facade with openings intended to mimic the eye-like markings found on the trunks of aspen trees.
There’s no hint of the facade yet. It will likely go up this fall into winter, Buerge said.
Urban Villages said Populus will be the first carbon-positive hotel in the country, and the firm purposely chose to break ground on Earth Day last year. The carbon released by the construction and ongoing hotel operations will be offset by various measures, including the planting of some 72,000 trees in Gunnison County in the coming weeks, according to Buerge. The seedlings will replenish a pine forest where many trees have been killed by beetles.
“We can’t effectively address the earth emergency we’re facing unless the real estate industry plays a key role,” Buerge said.
Buerge said Populus is intended for the “eco-conscious urbanite,” and will also likely benefit from its relative proximity to the Colorado Convention Center.
The lot where Populus is being constructed was most recently home to a building used by a day care. But Urban Villages CEO Grant McCargo told those at the Wednesday ceremony that its most distant history also plays into the hotel’s eco-friendly branding.
“This site was the first gas station in Colorado, and we’re building the first hotel in Colorado with zero parking,” he said.