Honoring History Through Real Estate Development with Ferd Belz

Dot Dot Dot: The NINE dot ARTS Podcast
Episode 58

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“You can’t recreate history, but you can honor it,” says Ferd Belz, President of the 120-year old real estate development firm Fulenwider, whose influence can be seen and felt throughout much of the Denver metropolitan area and beyond. As a longtime real estate leader, Ferd shares his philosophy that the best projects are those that honor the history of a site and fit into the current-day context instead of trying to dominate over it. He emphasizes how art, architecture, and design can be used to reference the character of a place rather than overtly recreate it. Ferd and host Martha McGee discuss several notable projects and their influence on Denver’s civic fabric, from the transit-oriented development happening at Pena Station near the Denver International Airport to iconic redevelopments like Gates Tire and Rubber Factory and Denver’s Historic Union Station.

Discussed in the Episode: 
Ferdinand the Bull
United Airlines Buys More than 100 Acres Near Denver International Airport for $33M
Green Valley Ranch – Oakwood Homes
Patrick Hamill, CEO at Oakwood Homes
Pena Station and other projects by Fulenwider
Union Station
The Crawford Hotel
16th Street Mall
The Legacy of Dana Crawford
Larimer Square
D&F Tower
Tabor Center
Pepsi Center (Ball Arena)
Denver Urban Renewal Authority
Denver Center for Performing Arts
Blue Bear by Lawrence Argent
Colorado Convention Center
Denver Public Art Policy
Broadway Station – site of the former Gates Tire Factory
River North Arts District (RiNo)
Central Platte Valley
Downtown Denver Partnership
Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor at Millennium Park 
Michelangelo’s David
McGregor Square
Coors Field – Home of the Colorado Rockies
Mustang by Luis Jiménez at Denver International Airport
Ferd Belz on LinkedIn

About Ferd Belz:
Ferd Belz is the President of L.C. Fulenwider, Inc., the corporate entity for the Fulenwider family holdings. These holdings include 7,500 acres of land near Denver International Airport (DIA), as well as multiple other real estate assets in the Denver region. Ferd is currently leading the development effort for Pena Station NEXT, a 382-acre transit-oriented development (TOD) surrounding the first rail stop on the commuter line from DIA to downtown Denver. This TOD is a public-private partnership between L.C. Fulenwider, Inc., DEN Real Estate, and the North American headquarters for Panasonic Smart Mobility Office (formerly Panasonic CityNOW).

Prior to joining Fulenwider, Ferd was the President of Cherokee Denver, LLC, the entity that owned the 50-acre redevelopment of the former Gates Tire & Rubber Factory in Denver. As President, he managed all aspects of the development, entitlements, public financing, and environmental remediation for this transit-oriented, mixed-use project. The project was entitled for more than 7 million square feet of mixed commercial and residential uses and approved for more than $126 million of public financing.

During his long real estate career, Ferd has developed more than $1 billion of hotel and resort real estate nationally and internationally, as well as numerous commercial, residential, retail, and senior housing projects. The projects include several Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels, the Pepsi Center in Denver, and the Tabor Center in Denver. He is currently a partner in the redevelopment of the historic Denver Union Station into a mixed-use, retail, hotel, and transit center project.

Ferd holds cum laude degrees in both architecture and engineering from the University of Kansas, and he began his career as a licensed architect. He is past Chair of the Downtown Denver Partnership and past Chair of the Board of the Auraria Foundation. Currently, he serves as board member and treasurer on the Board of the Civic Center Conservancy, as board member and secretary on the Metro State University Foundation, and as board member for ULI Colorado.

About Dot Dot Dot: The NINE dot ARTS Podcast
Dot Dot Dot is the continuing conversation around art and placemaking in the built environment. Hosted by NINE dot ARTS CEO Martha McGee, episodes explore art, culture, community, and more with a range of reputable business leaders. Tune in biweekly to learn how an original art experience can boost your business and make a social impact. Episodes are available wherever you get your podcasts!