The River North district, otherwise known as Rino, has an appealing aging and urban aesthetic that has recently driven an influx of new, young businesses, creatives, artists and developments. As these new and trendy places pop up, the artists, shops, galleries and businesses that were there before had their rents raised and are displaced to areas where the rent is cheaper. Often times, places that collectives and creatives get displaced to are the reason the area becomes desirable again. Artists and creatives take initiative to better their environment through art and design, constructing murals, beautiful store fronts and exciting community spaces. Walking through Rino these days is different than it was just under ten years ago. The buildings were more decayed, and tagging littered the buildings and streets. Now, every building has a vibrant new mural, highlighting the aging grit of the industrial buildings. The district has been named the River North Art District, so it’s evident that the district's current goal is to attract and retain their creative inhabitants, including designers, media artists, architects, illustrators, photographers, furniture makers, art galleries, painters, sculptors and many studio spaces. However, what makes Rino great and unique is its decay and age, so will developments in the future seek to retain this “grittiness,” or will it abolish and make them more modern like the rest of Denver?
More developments and business growth means more people and expansion, a revitalization of the old. Rino’s next step: to become a “multi-use neighborhood.” Soon, where an abandoned warehouse sits currently will be a dormitory style living apartment, new office buildings and coffee shops. The current state of grit will shift and so will its aging urban charm, its rising land values push the artists and creatives that are currently thriving. Bill Moore, founder and president of Sprocket Design-Build, says that "The risk, not even the risk, the foregone conclusion is how are the artists going to coexist with rising land values. If they leave, we lose the thing people really value. I have no answer for that. It's a question that's come up repeatedly."
A study by Artspace, the nation’s leading developer of arts facilities, concluded that Rino was in critical need of finding live/work housing for artists and creatives. Now there is an initiative with Denver-based Westfield Company to create an 80 to 100 unit project that “will be a vibrant mixed-use development, with Artspace as one of many “synergistic” elements. “We just feel that the neighborhood in general is one that fosters creativity and there’s a lot of artists that live there,” Hayes said. “We want to support the concept of let’s keep our artists in RiNo.” says Westfield partner, Anne Hayes. The developments will be The broader vision for RiNo "is about maintaining and amplifying the creative energy that already exists."
Let’s just hope Rino stays arty.