How a local banking hero hits a home run with a new flagship prototype branch at McGregor Square in the heart of Colorado’s historic city
Bank of Colorado is a family-owned, community-focused bank with nearly $7 billion in assets across more than 50 locations (and counting), serving customers throughout the Eastern Plains, the Front Range, the Western Slope, and the Four Corners Region. Founded in 1900, the statewide banking leader is one of the oldest financial institutions in Colorado. Known for their customer relationships and community connections, the bank prides themselves on their genuine approach to banking which makes every customer feel like family.
Another beloved local institution, Coors Field first opened its gates in 1995 with a big belief in downtown Denver. Home to the Colorado Rockies, the ballpark in the heart of Lower Downtown is surrounded by McGregor Square, the next chapter in downtown’s transformation. A new home for vibrant living, this high-profile complex features urban retail and restaurants, multi-family residences, a boutique hotel, and office spaces, all nestled in the heart of Colorado’s historic city.
Not only are relationships at the heart of how Bank of Colorado serves communities, they are also what laid the foundation for McGregor Square, a top-tier mixed use development adjacent to Coors Field. A friendship forged over 40 years ago in a cattle feedlot between Dick Monfort, Owner of the Colorado Rockies, and Chris Dinsdale, Co-Chairman of Bank of Colorado, grew into a longstanding business relationship. Bank of Colorado is now the Official Bank of the Colorado Rockies, and the bank providing primary financing for this new gathering spot.
With a banking location spanning two floors, Bank of Colorado’s flagship prototype branch in McGregor Square is designed to create an innovative and engaging customer experience for the clientele that live, work and play in Downtown Denver. With retail and restaurant customers, gameday fans, residents, and hotel guests, the complex serves as a local magnet bringing together people in Denver’s most dynamic new neighborhood.
The Power of Place
With the contract cemented, Bank of Colorado was set to begin the design-build process and partnered with brand experience company Adrenaline for our deep expertise in building financial brands and branches. For the space, we completed retail experience design, construction and fit-out, digital signage installation and a new branded kit-of-parts that could be rolled out in additional locations to update and refresh those branches, bringing a little of the Bank of Colorado McGregor Square flair to other cities Colorado.
With this two-level site, we wanted to be sure our design took full advantage of the location right on the sidewalk and the expansive windows that project out to really present a “wow moment” that would draw people in. Level One would serve as an opportunity to drive awareness. Level Two would be a space for deeper relationship-building.
On each level, the space plan needed to communicate the kinds of experiences taking place there – both in the design, aesthetic and in the communication itself. Given the volume and vibrancy of people in Lower Downtown, Bank of Colorado wanted to create a big, bold welcome in the form of a large-scale digital experience. The goal on Level One is to entice, inform and educate new audience members about Bank of Colorado. The goal on Level Two is to drive a different and deeper experience in a more private setting where clients can get personalized solutions and service.
Building brand awareness and brand equity, this high-profile complex delivers one-of-a-kind branch experiences for potential customers and existing clients, alike. For Bank of Colorado, this flagship branch would be seen as a prototype – a point of inspiration for other regional presidents to consider as a new way to deliver their business to more people in their home markets.
Making a Magnet
In December of 2019, Bank of Colorado engaged Adrenaline to complete an opportunity assessment. They were impressed with the work we completed, so they asked us to continue on the next phases of the project. Initially planned for a smaller footprint, once schematics were developed, Bank of Colorado determined that they could benefit from more space and expanded their lease space to gain approximately 1,000 additional square feet on Level Two. During construction, the entire complex was being built, so Adrenaline exercised a lot of influence on site schematics and coordinating construction.
With the Level Two expansion secured, Bank of Colorado could focus on bringing in rich programming and additional people on that level. With an initial request for seven staff offices in the space, the original footprint would have difficulty accommodating staff without them being cramped into tight workspaces. Now, with the expanded space, Level Two is home to eight offices with possible growth for a ninth, as needed, which allows Bank of Colorado flexibility to accommodate additional team members and visiting staff as the branch grows.
In terms of design on Level Two, a digital wall is visible as people get off the elevator, leading into the reception area where a small seating area and entry focal wall with static signage welcome clients into the space. A back of house kitchenette that does double-duty as a client facing feature is an innovative way to incorporate hospitality and serve support staff at the same time. A large, impressive conference room is the shining star of the space, featuring a refined, custom light fixture that serves as a beacon to bring people together and spotlighting the positive work taking place there.
A Gathering Spot
On Level One, the expansion upstairs didn’t impact the footprint below or planning for the function of the retail portion of the branch. How Bank of Colorado delivers their banking services is not manifestly different at McGregor Square than their retail banking approach at other branches; it’s just more elevated and refined. The teller pod is an advance, providing a more modern and relationship-focused vehicle, shifting the way staff interacts with customers. Custom designed to accommodate the way this team works, the pod with an adjustable height desk is another element that can be brought to other branches after piloting it here first.
For more self-service transactions, the exterior ATM is located up the complex steps to the outside entrance to the field to activate more automated transactions on game day but still provides a prominent brand presence for passersby. For self-directed banking, an interior ITM (ATM Live℠) lives inside the entry to the main lobby of the branch where people can interact with a teller via video. Both the ATM and ITM (ATM Live℠) bring brand presence to the general area, but what really draws people inside – where the relationship possibilities can blossom – is the showpiece just beyond the glass.
The marquis feature of Level One is the stunning curved digital wall highly visible from the outside. This feature makes the most of the opportunity to project out the windows with something that’s very large scale, making a maximum impact. As the design team started to undertake the interior development, the digital screen became the natural centerpiece of the space, driving the rest of the design around it. The recommendation to curve the wall came as the team sought to push even more presence and projection, not only into the lobby area but also out the windows, especially at night.
The floorplan features an elevator connecting the two spaces from a plaza below into a circular terrace, driving a lot of foot traffic into the beautiful atrium area where people can begin to experience the branch. From a branding standpoint, the design was intentionally minimal with few additional graphics or signage in the space. The team decided to let the digital wall and finishes within the space speak to the brand from a more immersive standpoint and use the digital screen to provide the maximum amount of communication for this location.
On the interior, the design team worked from established Bank of Colorado brand standards, updating, elevating and translating the look and feel into experiential and environmental elements. The design introduced fresh brand textures, working off of the existing palette, but tweaking them and finding that fine line between that Colorado rustic feel and a very high level of polish. There is a lot of wood throughout the space, but instead of feeling overly rustic, it reads as refined with gold tone accents that elevate it even further. The end result is a sophisticated hominess, riding a line between high-end and luxe, without feeling elitist.
It’s important to note that brand elements in Level One and Level Two are intended to work together visually as an extended family of design that can still be consistently recognizable as Bank of Colorado to build brand equity, but without a sameness that can feel less customized to each space’s function. The communication strategy Adrenaline developed for the two levels creates guidance for consistency but is executed to accommodate the operational and location specifics. The subsequent kit of parts establishes a brand standard that could be used enterprise-wide but with just enough flexibility for regional presidents to roll it out in their branches.
Destination for the Future
Opening in July of 2021, the branch is already a local gathering spot, a place to connect with the local arts and downtown community by featuring Colorado artwork and sponsorship of events. Bank of Colorado also successfully uses the branch to highlight the relationship between the bank and the Rockies, which they’re doing through their private banking offer for residents of McGregor Square. Inside the space, dynamic elements on the screen reaffirm a sense of energy and excitement, leveraging the physical space as a platform for both in-person consultations and a connection point for key centers of influence in Denver.