Dressed in blue jeans, a crisp button-up, and sweater, Ryan King looks right at home sitting in what he calls, “the living room of LoDo.” We could hardly disagree as we sat with him in the comfortable armchairs at Union Station. As the new Executive Director of the LoDo Discrict, his excitement about the position is palpable and his infatuation with the neighborhood is contagious.
About Ryan King
Ryan has lived in Colorado for the majority of the past ten years. After graduating from Purdue University with a degree in Organizational Leadership and Supervision, Ryan moved to Vail, “to do the ski bum thing.” After one season on the slopes, he moved to Denver to work in financial services. Later, during the economic downslide in 2008, Ryan returned to Vail to manage the ski and rental shops at The Ritz-Carlton for two years. In 2013, after a short stint back home in Indiana, Ryan moved back to Denver because, as he explained to us, “the mountains were calling me and I had to come back.” Before becoming the Executive Director of the LoDo District, Ryan worked as an associate publisher for Outfront Magazine.
SSM: What are the biggest differences you have seen in LoDo from when you first moved to Denver in 2006 and now?
RK: “A lot of people don’t know about the organization and what its doing. One of the things that we are trying to change in the upcoming year is more marketing and PR and focus on businesses in LoDo. I didn’t know about what was happening in downtown (in 2006). I didn’t know that when you look at downtown Denver as a whole, some of the best restaurants and places to go are in LoDo. A lot of people end up staying on 16th street but LoDo really has that neighborhood feel. For me, the difference is actually being able to experience (the LoDo District), and getting to see what this place is all about.”
The Future of LoDo
Ryan explained to us that LoDo is constantly changing. From an area that was once avoided, to one of Denver’s most desirable zip codes, and now as Denver’s hub for transportation, there is a lot going on in Lower Downtown. The LoDo
District is working to proactively market the businesses and restaurants in the neighborhood while also preparing for the new rail systems opening in 2016.
Ryan told us that one of his favorite parts of his job is meeting all of the individuals that make up the fabric of Lower Downtown. From large businesses such as DaVita to small locally owned coffee shops, Ryan loves the combination of businesses and the community they create. We are looking forward to seeing Ryan’s enthusiasm for the LoDo neighborhood continue to shape and improve the district in the future.