When Joe Conrad, Dianna Fritzler and John Skrabec opened the first Cactus office in the recently designated Lower Downtown Historic District, the first pitch at Coors Field wouldn’t be thrown for another 5 years. Over the past 20 years, the agency has been a fixture in LoDo as it transformed from abandoned railyards into one of Denver hottest neighborhoods. In 2011, Cactus is embarking on a new chapter with the purchase and renovation of its offices in the historic Frazzini & Bros Block building at the corner of 15th and Little Raven.
"Lodo and the Platte River Valley have been home to Cactus for the past 20 years,” says Joe Conrad, Cactus founder, CEO and strategic director. “Our agency has grown and flourished much like the neighborhood has over the past two decades. It's been wonderful to watch the area develop into a vibrant, urban entryway to the city while maintaining its rich history. When we moved Cactus to this building we knew we had found a great home for the agency. And now, putting down some roots and renovating this great building will allow us to contribute to the development of the neighborhood while also creating a highly effective and customized work space for our teams."
Cactus tapped the architecture firm tres birds workshop to design and oversee the renovation. Tres birds is well known for a number of innovative projects including the Burton Flagship retail stores in Chicago, LA and Osaka, as well as the Crispin Porter + Bogusky offices near Boulder.
Artist rendering of the new Cactus offices
“The new space is going to rock,” notes Norm Shearer, creative director and partner at Cactus. “Our goal was to evolve the offices to maximize functional space without loosing the spirit of Cactus. When we embark on branding efforts for our clients, we strive to find and share their simple truths. Tres Birds has the same approach but with materials, light and space.”
Frazzini Bros in 1909
Originally built as three separate buildings between 1902 and 1920, the Prospero Frazzini Block housed an Italian-American bank and the Frazzini & Bros Grocery Store. Over the years the building has been home to a number of different companies, including the animation studio where the first episode of South Park was produced. Cactus moved into the in 2004, and today, it is one of the few original structures left in the area.
During renovation, Cactus will be operating from the Oz Architecture building at 3012 Huron St. in LoDo, dubbed “Camp Cactus. ”
Pic via Matt Chiabotti