The Lower Downtown Historic District (LoDo) was formed by an act of City Council in March 1988, with the intention of encouraging the preservation and vitality of an area that is significant because of its architectural, historical, and economic value.  The historic status granted protection to the community’s historic resources and to 127 contributing historic structures that remained, as approximately 20% of Lower Downtown’s buildings were demolished in the 1960’s and 70’s. By enactment of a zoning ordinance, building height limitations were set and encouragement of mixed-use development was implemented as well as placement of strict design guidelines for rehabilitation and new construction. LoDo is now home to the largest collection of early 20th century warehouses in the United States.

The Lower Downtown Historic District: Where the Past Comes Alive

In 1858, General William Larimer built his cabin and named his small settlement Denver City, after the governor of the Kansas Territory. Within 20 years, his settlement had grown and the population in 1880 had grown to 35,629. In 1870, after the determined local citizenry had raised enough cash to finance the building of a spur of the Transcontinental Railroad from Denver to Cheyenne, Denver started in a boom cycle that would continue up to the Silver Crash in 1893. Thousands of workers of all backgrounds came to Colorado in the late 19th century to work on the railroads and support the laborers, and due to its proximity to the railroad, LoDo became an ideal landing spot. There was even a bustling Chinatown in LoDo; in 1880, however, a fight broke out in a Chinatown pool hall, starting an all-out race riot where thousands of white Denverites burned and looted Chinatown. A man named Young Look was beaten to death and hung from a lamp post. Only two years later, the Chinese exclusion act would be passed by congress. These stories, even the most unsettling, are part of our neighborhood’s history, though many of them are seldom told. If these walls could talk, they would tell unimaginable tales of the cast of characters who have shaped this neighborhood into the interactive artifact it has become.  Today, over 23 square blocks of the original Denver is now know as Lower Downtown (LoDo) Denver.

LoDo District Today: Preserving and Enhancing Our Community

Today, though we continue to focus on the Lower Downtown Historic District, which forms the heart of the neighborhood, our sphere of influence and partnership network extends beyond the hard zoning boundaries into the adjacent areas of Auraria, the Central Platte Valley, Riverfront Park, Prospect, River North, Ballpark, and more. We like to say “LoDo is a state of mind”.

Those who contributed to its rebirth saw, in its old buildings, an opportunity to keep Denver’s past as a vital and positive force in its present and future. LoDo District, Inc. is proud to serve as a guardian of that past, and a guiding force of LoDo’s future.

The Future of LoDo: Preservation in an Age of Rapid Growth

Downtown Denver has experienced unprecedented growth in recent decades. Like the eye of a storm, LoDo lays low and watches as towering, fancy skyscrapers loom overhead. We’ve seen the Central Platte Valley spring up to the west, the Ballpark and RiNo continue their growth to the north, and the redevelopment of Auraria and soon, the River Mile, to our south. LoDo needs advocates, now more than ever, to ensure this piece of American history remains intact for future generations to behold. LoDo is the perfect opportunity for innovative approaches to preservation, and we’re excited to lead that charge. We hope you’ll join us!

About LoDo District, Inc.

LoDo District, Inc. is a membership organization that supports Lower Downtown (LoDo) Denver’s, unique historical, retail and residential neighborhood, through marketing, education and advocacy.

The LoDo District, Inc. was formed in 1989 when a loosely organized group of Lower Downtown property owners joined with a marketing entity named the District Collaborative to form what is now known as the LoDo District. This joint effort produced a diverse group of men and women whose community and philanthropic interests were focused on the needs of the neighborhood.

Today, the LoDo District, Inc. is a 501(c) 3, membership organization that supports Lower Downtown (LoDo) Denver’s unique historical, cultural, and retail neighborhood through marketing, education, and advocacy. We are unique among organizations in LoDo in that we represent both the residential and business communities.

The goals of the LoDo District, Inc. are to:

• Influence public policies on present and future issues in this mixed-use neighborhood.
• Preserve the integrity of its historic designation.
• Promote neighborhood businesses to residents, visitors and tourists.
• Build collaborative initiatives between LoDo members.
• Present issue-related forums/lectures to benefit the membership and the community at large.

This mission statement reflects the LoDo District’s commitment to striking a balance between growth and preservation.

Board of Directors


  • Co-Chair:  Fabby Hillyard, David J. Cole and Associates
  • Co-Chair:  Bar Chadwick, City & County of Denver
  • Vice-Chair:  Jarrod Perrott, 5280 Custom Framing
  • Secretary:  Jon Buerge, Urban Villages
  • Treasurer:  Marty Steinberg, Hand & Stone Massage & Facial Spa

The Board of Directors meet every third Wednesday of each month at 4:00 p.m. at The Alliance Center, 1536 Wynkoop Street.

Board Meetings are open to the public, but we request notification of intended attendance so that we can accommodate extra people in our meeting room.


  • Ryan Aids, The Greenway Foundation
  • Rachel Anders, Downtown’s Healthcare
  • Bri Baffer, Asana Partners
  • Michael DeGano, Sage Restaurant Group
  • Lilly Djaniants, City and County of Denver
  • Jordan Evans, eTuk Ride
  • Richard Farley, Urban Design LLC
  • Michael Flowers, Historic Denver
  • Alan Frosh, The Tattered Cover
  • Steve Galpern, MSU Denver
  • Jim Graebner, Lomarado Group
  • Laurie Helmick, Luxe Salon
  • Jim Kellogg, Colorado Rockies Baseball Club
  • Jim Kirchheimer, Downtown Denver Partnership
  • Sean Mackin, Conduent
  • Jerry Orten, Lower Downtown Neighborhood Association (LoDoNA)
  • Tyler Smith, Xcel Energy
  • Jim Theye, Kentwood City Properties
  • Ellen Wilensky, Grand American, Inc.


John Wetenkamp | Director of Operations 

John Wetenkamp is a connector of people, places, and experiences. His professional background is in education and public service, having spent his early career working for nonprofits in Denver Public Schools and more recently running volunteer engagement for the University of Colorado at Boulder. Originally from Newbury, Massachusetts, John enjoys a slower pace of interaction and appreciates learning stories in order to connect the modern with the past. He is always seeking common ground with those he encounters, and believes that all of our stories are connected if you listen well enough. When he’s not in LoDo, you can find John giving city tours around Denver, enjoying Colorado’s many trail systems, or on the sidelines of a high school soccer or basketball game.

LoDo District, Inc. Committees


The Events & Marketing Committee exists to create a strong neighborhood presence and brand for LoDo District, Inc. Among their projects are to design and execute programs and fundraising events as well as create revenue for LoDo District, Inc.’s annual operating budget.

1st Wednesday of each month at 4:30pm
Location: Rotating
Co-Chairs: Laurie Helmick & Veronica Bowie


LoDo Cares is a community volunteer organization that sponsors and coordinates philanthropic activities in LoDo. The committee’s goal is to make LoDo and our neighboring communities the best place to live, work and play. It is a collaborative effort between LoDo District Inc. and LoDoNA.

2nd Monday of each month at 4:00 p.m.
Location: Rotating 
Chairs: Jarrod Perrott & Kathy Gentry


The Urban Design Committee exists to provide a forum for people in the various design, development, historic preservation, construction, and real estate fields to communicate with one another.  This important committee also advocates for responsible pedestrian, parking, traffic, and transit solutions to help maintain the health and vibrancy of the LoDo neighborhood and assists the organization with its interactions with community groups, government and regulatory agencies as the informed voice of the LoDo mixed-use neighborhood. This committee oversees two task forces: Safety Task Force and Development Project Review Task Force.

4th Wednesday of each month at 4:00 p.m.
Location: Rotating
Co-Chairs: Ellen Wilensky & Dick Farley