Work has begun on a commercial development in Denver’s historic Hangar 2, at what used to be Lowry Air Force Base. Hangar 2, like its twin, Hangar 1, was built in the 1930s. After Lowry Air Force Base closed in 1994, the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum was developed in Hangar 1. Development in Hangar 2 is meant to provide funds to help pay for renovations to Wings Over the Rockies. The two hangars are adjacent to each other. After it is restored and renovated, Hangar 2 will include a self storage facility and several commercial businesses.
Previously, International Risk Group, which initially bought the site, had intended to demolish Hangar 2 and build condos. But local residents complained.
“We kept saying if you’re going to do something, there needs to be a wow factor,” Denver resident Betty Jean Dayoub told The Denver Post in 2007.
Then Hangar 2 was sold to Hangar 2 Partners, which consists of Larimer Associates and Hartman Ely Investments, for $3 million. Hangar 2 Partners decided to renovate Hangar 2’s interior to make a self storage facility. The other buildings attached to Hangar 2 will become retail and office spaces. The self storage facility and a dog kennel will be built first. In the second phase of the project, about two years from now, a restaurant district will be built. The self storage facility will use electricity from solar panels. It is expected to begin operating sometime in March.
Putting a self storage facility in the hangar itself solves a problem for the Hangar 2 developers.
“What’s always been challenging in figuring out what to do with this piece of property is using the hangar,” developer Joe Vostrejs told The Denver Post last week. “It’s historic and can’t be torn down. In solving the hangar problem, we’ve paved the way to do the dining district we’ve envisioned….We’ll knock out this self-storage piece now, which will also provide a lot of value that will help us make the dining district.”
Some of the proceeds from the Hangar 2 development will be used to help pay for the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum’s “Gateway to Flight” entrance complex, which is scheduled to be completed this December. The “Gateway to Flight” complex will include a three story observation tower, a Welcome Theater, observation decks inside and outside the museum, a museum store, an admissions area, and a refreshment area. A Veteran’s Plaza will be built outside, under the museum’s elevated B-52 Stratofortress, which appears in takeoff position above a landscaped runway. Other planned renovations include interior mezzanines at the perimeter of the museum, upgrades to the museum’s weatherization and energy efficiency, renovations to its western addition, and improvements to galleries and to visitor amenities.