See inside downtown Denver's newest apartment conversion (Photos)

Denver’s most recent apartment conversion is now ready for new tenants. 

Denver-based Nichols Partnership has completed construction of the Art Studios, a community of 190 studio apartments and two one-bedroom apartments in the Golden Triangle at 1200 N. Lincoln in Denver’s Golden Triangle neighborhood. 

Art Studios Apartment Tour

The new residential building was the former home of The Art Institute of Colorado before it closed in 2018. In 2019, Denver-based Nichols Partnership purchased the 10-story building, along with an adjacent parking garage, for $15.25 million, according to previous reporting

Melissa Rummel, development director at The Nichols Partnership, told Denver Business Journal that the building was attractive because of its location, not to mention the fact that it had the right floor plate size for residential units — each of the floors has 24 units. Plus, the building’s exterior did not need to be renovated beyond replacing the windows. 

A priority for the development firm was to keep the artistic legacy of the building for future tenants. 

“We knew from the very beginning we were going to thematically renovate the building and preserve the history of it as the Art Institute, so we kept and saved a lot of the items that the Art Institute left inside,” she said, including film and photography equipment.

The development team created artistic amenities for residents, including a maker’s studio complete with a photography studio, 3D printer, sewing machine and easels. In the dog wash room, the sink was the former photo processing sink at the Art Institute, and the team also preserved some of the letters from the Art Institute’s original building signage.  

“We were very creative and resourceful, and tried to save things and reuse them,” Rummel said. 

Rummel said the team was also intentional about selecting the Colorado Photographic Arts Center as the building’s first-floor tenant to help promote the arts. In total, Nichols invested approximately $45 million in the project, according to Rummel.  

The Art Studios has multiple amenities for future residents. In the ground-floor fitness center, displays of the 1960s-era building’s original blueprints are featured on the walls. 

In one of the typical studio units — 270 square feet in size — the bed is located in a loft made possible by ceilings that are 10-and-a-half feet tall. The small kitchen includes a refrigerator, freezer, microwave and dishwasher. The rest of the unit has a living room space, built-in desk, storage space and a bathroom. While some units come with a washing and drying machine, there are other free communal washers and dryers on other floors. 

Rummel said the most affordable units in the building are on the second level and priced at $1,300, while the average rent in the building is $1,550. 

Boutique Apartments is managing the newly completed Art Studios. So far, Art Studios has 20 units leased. 

This is Nichols’ third conversion in Denver; the development firm also converted a former hotel into the Turntable Studios and a former medical facility into apartments at 1899 N. Gaylord St. in West City Park.

JNS was the architect of the Art Studios. Nathan Sprung with Sprung Construction, the general contractor on the project, said that among the many challenges with converting the building were supply chain delays. 

“Our passion at Sprung is historical renovation. While this building is not historical, just the challenge of renovating a building: the unknowns, problem-solving… to me, it’s fun finding a solution and figuring it out,” Sprung said. 

“I would much rather work on a renovation than a new building because it’s more interesting and never dull,” Rummel said. “Not every building should be saved but there’s plenty that should be and it takes intention and dedication to do it.”

Nichols is still in the process of developing a second phase of the Art Studios, which would involve building around 150 units above or in place of the adjacent parking garage. 


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