Kyle and Mickey Zeppelin Interview

Hi guys this is Nicole Rufener and Antoinette with Liv | Sotheby’s and Denver Vibe. We are very honored to have some special guests here today, Mickey and Kyle Zeppelin who have such a huge impact in our community and we’re specifically talking about RiNo this month on Denver Vibe. So, they’re the perfect ones to interview to get an idea of the personality and how this personality developed in the neighborhood.

NICOLE: So, how would you guys describe the personality of Denver as you grew up and how it’s changed and what it’s becoming now.

KYLE: Just having grown up around it and getting kind of a first-hand view of Mickey’s pioneering entrepreneurial spirit. You know it’s come, obviously a long way as far as the growth. The great thing about cities, is that they’re always changing and it’s also, the biggest challenge. You know in an area like this, the biggest challenge is to create a lot of activity and have activation and programming. So, we’re constantly doing that. It doesn’t just happen in one move. You launch a project and all of a sudden it’s a great place to be. It’s the product of different layers, multiple generations of development and activity. Certainly, housing for more middle working class, people is a work in progress, and something, this neighborhood can be a part of providing.

NICOLE: Do you wanna talk more about the projects you guys have worked on in the city? And then also, you just mentioned for more affordable housing. I know that’s something you guys are focused on and working on right now too.

MICKEY: My background is really kind of looking at kind of opportunities that have been overlooked and the elements that are there. So, I got involved in Lower Downtown after I quit practicing law. Essentially, it was right after the urban renewal, so pretty much it was kind of a blank area. I look at lower Downtown and you couldn’t find a sandwich any more in that area when I started. Ultimately, we’d worked with the city, with the neighborhood and came out with the plan and we got the ballpark and ultimately, we worked with the preservationist to kind of keep a lot of the buildings and have a plan for that. And, uh, we have also some an art element. We always had art things going on, so that neighborhood really prospered and became a little overbearing in terms of what’s happening in Lower Downtown.

ANTOINETTE: How would you define the personality of RiNo now? Now, that is developing.

KYLE: Yeah, I think it’s got this kind of urban edge to it and then, kind of like a complement for downtown. Definitely a newer generation of people, a newer generation of companies, so it’s got this little bit younger spirit and more of a sense of design in our culture. That’s a compliment for the rest of the city and it’s lots of room to grow and kinda test out some newer ideas: more socially responsible, more environmental responsible. So, it is still playing out as far as whether they can fully realize its potential, but I think a lot of those pieces are in place, to have it be a new neighborhood for a city that’s getting a lot of growth. That’s very signature.

ANTIONETTE: Who wants to live here? Who wants to work here? What’s that dynamic like to you guys?

KYLE: Ideally, you know, it’s a lot of the people, that kind of the next frontier looks like a lot of the families that maybe are, can’t it’s all the housing pressure that there’s high functioning or family housing, might be town-home scale versus all single-family but some really good models for that. I think probably we’re really looking at Europe as kind of the model for these former, used up industrial neighborhoods that have been re-thought around urban and family housing. How they have much higher standards for design living spaces that opened up to green landscape. A lot of them on wood elements, not necessarily people living in warehouses, but there’s probably some opportunities for some you know, different kind of living spaces to compliment some of these more commercial functions.

NICOLE: Thank you guys so much for your time. We know you are very busy. We just admire your model of principles and what you guys have built and done for the city. So thank you.