Denis Luzuriaga

Written by: Nich Kinsman & Julia Galunova



We were lucky to meet an incredibly talented and creative artist, illustrator, photographer and entrepreneur Denis Luzuriaga. His visions are spectacularly modern and he has an optimistic attitude about the future of Holyoke and is sure that his contributions to its reformation from an abandoned town to a cultural art center will be successful.

The Cubit

Denis Luzuriaga and his brother Marco bought an old building on the Holyoke Canal Walk, which was once a wire-making factory. They are reverting the 3rd and 4th floors into apartments and have various plans about utilizing the basement as a leisure space for the building’s future residents and the Holyoke public. This will benefit the city tremendously because Luzuriagas are saving it from ruin by repairing it and transforming it into a piece of art.

Denis’ passion for art and skills in using imagination to make creative plans come to live will drive him towards success. He has an advertising background, which provides him with the necessary marketing experience and skills. Some of his basic creative ideas for the building’s revival have already been implemented and received fascinating feedback from the citizens of Holyoke who witnessed it. He had a video projector installed on one of the floors and designed to project a black and white video of the word “Cubit” scrolling along the four windows of the building. It is fascinating how something so simple turned out to be very impressive. This building, now called The Cubit, is not only being used for apartments but will also become part of the local community college in the area, which is implementing another great project – the Canal Market – an indoor market offering local fine foods, fruits, pastries, coffee and wine. By rebuilding this structure and investing corporate efforts in it they are giving work to local businesses and potential jobs for the citizens of Holyoke.


Denis believes that Holyoke is a rising platform for artists, the youth and the community, who can turn it into a modern culture center with entertainment sites and creative projects of the future. He had experience living in cities on the rise. When he moved to New York in 1990, he rented an apartment in Lower East Side; back then it was a troubled area and people asked him “why do you live there?” For Denis, that was a sign that there is some unexplored value in the area. He was sure that a tremendous change will come to that place, and so it did and now Lower East side is flourishing with fancy boutiques, galleries and unaffordable property prices. The same happened when he lived in Jersey City, which was once nothing but a boring bedroom community district with no entertainment sites, cafes, restaurants or bars. He predicted a great future for the city, and now, 10 years later, his expectations came true and it has become a great modern town, now referred to as the “Gold Coast”, with a fun party scene, restaurants, bars and blocks of urban high-rise buildings with beautiful architecture. Denis is sure that the same will happen in Holyoke.

Partners are young and progressive and have great ideas. The buildings of Holyoke have been torn down, and various enlightened people like Denis and Marco Luzuriaga see the opportunity to make it develop right now.

“Holyoke seems to be poised for big changes… and I think it is already happening”

Holyoke is ready for change, and as Denis said – “now is the time”. He is comfortable with this kind of risk because he feels that he has control over it due to his previous experiences. An entrepreneur like him has to have confidence, and indeed, he does.


Written by: Joshua Murphy and Alex Cuadros

Denis Luzuriaga is a local artist and investor in Holyoke, MA who believes in the city’s potential to return as a hub of artistic ingenuity and diversity. Denis attended the Ontario College of Art and Design, Canada’s largest and best-known art school, where he focused on photography and traditional painting. Denis first moved to Holyoke in 2008 after gaining a deep appreciation for the city’s beautiful history, culture, and increasing potential as a center for the arts in western Massachusetts. He is heavily involved in the community and often teaches subjects such as graphic design and abstract painting to both children and adults.

Denis previously taught an art class at Gateway City Arts, another popular location on Race Street for artists and entertainers. Aside from that, Denis also taught an art class for children at Long Meadow middle school and dove straight into teaching them abstract art even though that is not the norm for children of that age. He found that they had made beautiful paintings and that project was a very rewarding experience for him. Aside from his artistic endeavors, Denis is also a young investor in downtown Holyoke. Denis, along with his brother, is currently renovating the Cubit building on Race Street in downtown Holyoke in order to provide a place of learning and living for the people that will surely flock to this area. Once renovated, the Cubit building will have the first and second floor utilized by Holyoke Community College for their culinary and hospitality programs.

The third and fourth floors are going to be turned into market rate apartments for residents of the area. The renovations are no easy task, however. They require constant supervision as well as the financial backing to support such a large project. Luckily, Mass Development acts as a guarantor to the loans that Denis and his brother are taking out because they understand the positive impact that this project can have on the lives of those who will live in downtown Holyoke. Denis envisions the future of Race Street as a vibrant community of artists, business owners, and families – all of whom will be able to contribute to the culture and economy of Holyoke. Currently, there is still a need for more local restaurants, coffee shops, and retail businesses along Race Street. If more business owners and artists were to move to and invest in the area, the revitalization process would take place much faster.

When asked about his personal goal for the city of Holyoke Denis responded, “I would be happy to bring fifteen to twenty thousand more people to Holyoke in the next ten years.” It is clear that the path toward the revitalization of Holyoke will be an arduous one, however, it is people like Denis that will empower the city of Holyoke to reach its full potential. Denis’ passion and dedication to the city and the arts will undoubtedly capture the attention of those who visit and bring about the powerful type of change that is necessary to drive the growth and success of his community.