Tiny Living Gains Popularity in Denver

The Economist is the latest option for Denver residents who opt for a minimalist, urban lifestyle

From wildly popular shows on HGTV to festivals across the country, tiny homes and the micro-apartment lifestyle is attracting interest from all sectors. Some affordable housing advocates claim it’s the answer to skyrocketing housing costs. Some generational experts believe Millennials have kick-started a movement toward less material items and smaller living. Conservationists argue it’s a way of living to reduce environmental impacts.

In Denver, the first high-profile micro-apartment project was Turntable Studios next to Mile High Stadium in 2015. The development team turned a 13-story dilapidated hotel into a 179-unit studio apartment building and notable landmark in the city.

The latest redevelopment project to join the growing tiny house movement is Economist, a new 97-unit residential building nestled in the heart of the 17th Street business district in Uptown. 

“The Economist is meant to be a community within the community, with smartly designed efficient living spaces that combine an array of unique amenity facilities. Inspired by the trend of minimalism – the desire to live with fewer material possessions – Economist’s design maximizes connectivity without sacrificing privacy for an exceptionally high standard of living,” says Nate Jenkins from OZ Architecture, principal architect for Economist.   


Each apartment is 300 to 400 square feet with 12-foot-high ceilings and contains a stackable washer and dryer. In addition to the full kitchen and built-in design elements to amplify efficiency in each unit, the five-story building features expansive common area spaces in the lobby and on the rooftop patio for residents to mix and mingle.

Within those common area living spaces for Economist, the development team took a unique approach and worked with Brad Miller on art installation to find local Denver artists who will display their works on the walls every two months. The common area walls in the lobby areas will be constantly changing and local artists will have a free gallery space to showcase their talent.

“We understand how hard it is for Denver artists to make a commercial living, so we thought the rotating art would be a perfect blend of supporting the fine arts community, while inspiring our residents with new paintings in the lobby areas,” says Chris Firman, one of the principal developers of Economist

In addition to the rotating art, the developers worked with local street mural artist, Thomas “Detour” Evans, to create and install a colorful mural on two exterior facades of the buildings.  The mural brightens up the interior walkway and courtyard between the two buildings and contributes to the growing street art scene in Denver.

From the integration of art infused into the building’s design to efficiently designed micro-apartments that maximize space, the Economist is the latest option for Denver residents who opt for a minimalist, urban lifestyle. 

Jodi Kopke is a principal at Renew Communications, with over 20 years of experience in the fields of marketing, internal and external communications and government affairs. She has worked at the executive management team level in a regional healthcare clinic system in Los Angeles and a national law firm based in Denver. She holds a sustainability certificate from UCLA, an MBA from Leeds School of Business at CU-Boulder and her B.A. from Bates College in Maine.

Categories: Real Estate