The developer who plans to add two new trendy restaurants to East Colfax Avenue admits the building he bought in the Bluebird District was ugly.
But it, like so much of the corridor, has potential for redevelopment.
“When I was presented the opportunity to buy it, I jumped on it,” said Tom Secrist. “It was an underutilized building.”
Secrist is just one of the developers betting on East Colfax. Other major projects in the pipeline include a seven-story apartment, multiple retail strips and a sanctuary. Many feel the pace of redevelopment on the corridor will only increase in coming years.
Secrist has been betting on Colfax for a while. In 2000, he shelled out $390,000 for the building where Atomic Cowboy started in 2004. The company now has three locations in Denver and announced earlier this year it’s expanding to Colorado Springs.
Looking for similar success, Secrist dropped $317,500 in 2015 for the former home Just In Time Staffing at the northeast corner of Cook Street and East Colfax Avenue. This year, he plans to give the facade a makeover and redo the roof. Two restaurants are expected to open in the space in coming months.
Here’s more information about the restaurants planned for the Bluebird District and the other developments coming to the corridor:
3401 & 3421 E. Colfax Ave.
Jareb Parker is planning to open a bar and restaurant called Middleman at the northeast corner of Cook Street and East Colfax Avenue in the Bluebird District. Parker said the food and drinks will be inspired by his family’s New Mexican heritage and that he’ll likely open late this year or early next. He is expected to share the building with Q House, a restaurant offering modern interpretations and takes on more traditional Chinese dishes. Q House is targeting early- to mid-January for its opening, said Jen Mattioni, owner of the restaurant.
Paradise Retail Strip
Across the street from the building Tom Secrist is making over for Middleman and Q House, developers are working on a retail project at 3380 E. Colfax Ave., according to city records.
Outspoken Denver developer Richard “Buzz” Geller owns the site as well as the adjacent property where Paradise Cleaners is located. It’s unclear just what he’s planning.
“I just spoke to the owner/developer; it is too early to discuss the project,” said Laura Koehler, Denver office manager of CTA, in an email. The Montana-based architectural and engineering firm is working on the project.
“There are many moving parts that will impact the direction of the development at this time,” Koehler said an email Friday.
Colfax and Ivy
Farther east in the Mayfair District, the Kentro Group is planning to create a retail center on the north side of East Colfax Avenue, between Ivy and Jasmine streets. The project will have 5,135 square feet of retail space and is expected to be finished during the first half of 2018, according to the Denver developer’s website.
“We are still talking to tenants, so nothing is set in stone right now, but we’re marketing it and trying to find some great uses for the community. We’re shooting for restaurants,” said Dimitrios “Jimmy” Balafas, co-founder and managing partner of Kentro.
Kentro is behind the Colfax Collection building, home to Tacos Tequila Whiskey, The Three Lions Lair and other popular retailers at the southwest corner of Vine Street and East Colfax Avenue.
Colfax and Williams
Kentro group is also planning “development opportunities that include restaurant and other retail uses” at the northeast corner of Williams Street and East Colfax Avenue in City Park West. The company purchased the 15,625-square-foot site for $1 million in 2015. Kentro also owns the site across the street where the Squire Lounge is located. A Commerce City-based investment company dropped $1.3 million in 2016 for the site just east of where Kentro is planning to add the retail space.
Sanctuary east of Colorado Boulevard
Stephanie Sato is planning to convert the home at 4633 E. Colfax Ave. into a non-denominational, public sanctuary. The site tentatively being called the “Colfax Cultural Center” is planned to open during spring 2018 and will provide a gathering space for roughly 150 people, according to Tim Jacques, an architect at 00 Architecture working on the project.
The site was purchased August 2016 for $400,000.
Affordable housing east of Monaco Parkway
The city of Denver is planning to add affordable housing units to 7900 E. Colfax Ave., said Derek Woodbury, spokesman for the Denver Office of Economic Development.
In April, the city of Denver dropped $650,000 for a 30,500-square-foot site at the southeast corner of East Colfax Avenue and Trenton Street.
“We do not have a specific project secured at this time for 7900 E. Colfax Ave.,” Woodbury said in an email. “We’re working with stakeholders to define the vision for affordable housing on the site and will competitively procure a developer in the coming months.”
Last year, Derrick Walker with Infield Development LLC floated the idea of building 45 affordable units on the site. It’s unclear if Walker is still interested in the project. A call to him was not immediately returned last week.
Carla Madison Recreation Center
The city and county of Denver hopes to have its new rec center at the northeast corner of Josephine Street and East Colfax Avenue open by December, said Cyndi Karvaski, spokeswoman with Denver Parks and Recreation.
On a monthly basis, the center is expected to serve 35,000 people, including many students from the nearby East High School, Karvaski said in an email.
Construction on the 69,000-square-foot Carla Madison Recreation Center began in November 2015. The center is expected to include a rooftop deck; two swimming pools; a gymnasium with a full-size basketball court and cardio-weight room; group exercise rooms; a multi-purpose room; a child watch area; outdoor amenities; community gathering spaces; and diverse programming that promotes healthy and active lifestyles.
Other amenities planned for the site include an outdoor climbing wall, a quarter-acre dog park, table tennis, a slackline area, large picnic tables, onsite bike parking, a 15-bike B-Cycle station, climbing boulders and 130 parking spaces.
Carla Madison, whom the center is named after, served as the City Council representative of District 8 from 2007 until her death in 2011. She was 54.
The Savageau Building
Not far from where the new rec center is being built, St. Charles Town Co. is renovating the former home of the Abend Gallery at 2260 E. Colfax Ave. The gallery moved to the 1400 block of Wazee Street in June after selling its spot on Colfax for $1.2 million in May.
St. Charles Town Co. added the $16 million Lowenstein Theater project in 2006, where Tattered Cover Book Store and Twist & Shout Records are housed. The Denver company plans to have its new property on Colfax hold several small boutique stores and retail spaces, said Charles H. Woolley II, founding principal and president of the company.
The 10,656-square-foot building was built in 1930 to house a Walgreens drugstore. That was a pretty big deal for the corridor at the time, according to Front Range Research Associates.
Consolidated Investment Group still plans to knock down the former home of the beloved Smiley’s Laundromat at the southwest corner of Downing Street and East Colfax Avenue, said Tim Bertoch, vice president of real estate at the firm.
Bertoch said Consolidated wants to replace the 28-unit, mixed-use building with a seven-story, roughly 180-unit project that’s tentatively being called Route 40 — an homage to the corridor’s past.
Work on the project is expected to start during the first half of 2018 after all the leases of the tenants living on the site have expired. Consolidated is hoping to carve out commercial space on the first and second floors of its new project. One of the ideas being floated for the space is a food hall, Bertock said.
Bourbon Grill hopes to start selling its fried chicken again around the middle of the month. Tom and Lien Vo are investing upward of $100,000 at the northeast corner of Pearl Street and East Colfax Avenue, he said.
The couple closed their walk-up only location near Franklin Street along the corridor for a larger space with room for customers to sit. A grand opening party for the new location is set for Aug. 15.
Former Cheeky Monk space
Metro Urgent Care is expected open sometime in September across the street from where Bourbon Grill is going in. The health care company is taking over the former space of Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe. Next door, a Dallas-based veterinarian company hopes to open later this year in Lost Highway Brewing Co.’s former space.
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