Market Street buildings bought with plans of renovation

Market Street buildings bought with plans of renovation By Elizabeth Hernandez  September 2015

 

Five historic buildings in Denver are under new ownership with aspirations of putting a new shine on one of downtown’s busiest corners.

The Market Center — 121,000 square feet of office and retail space across from the shuttered Market Street RTD station — has sold for $29 million to Seattle-based Urban Renaissance Group, with and Stars Investments and City Street Investors.

The deal for landmark buildings that span most of Market Street between 16th and 17th streets is the first foray into Denver for Urban Renaissance and Stars Investments, so they tapped the brains behind Larimer Square and Union Station to craft another downtown draw.

“We know we want it to be beautiful,” said , City Street Investors co-founder, who is part of the ownership entity. “We want people to walk down that street and be like ‘wow.’ ”

McHenry and her partners at Larimer Associates are credited with curating the tenant mix at the historic Union Station a few blocks away and ride herd on tony Larimer Square.

The building includes about 36,000 square feet of retail, about 5,000 of which is vacant. McHenry said her team is most excited to begin revamping the space left empty when Croc’s Mexican Bar and Grill closed last year.

“That whole restaurant space is dying to be something exciting,” she said. “That is really the best space in the whole building. It’s got the exterior presence plus all the charm.”

The building is the longtime home of joints like Two-Fisted Mario’s Pizza and the former Celebrity Tattoo & Piercing.

McHenry said City Street has a long-standing relationship with some of the building’s current retail tenants and that some — although she could not confirm all — will stick around.

“We’ll meet with tenants and find out what our long-term vision is,” she said. “The retail on this street has not been as high quality as we will be making it. We want a higher-end presentation, and the retailers are looking for renovation.”

“We’re nothing if not methodical,” McHenry said. “We will be interviewing architects who have a good handle on making historic buildings relevant for our times. I think it worked out really well at Union Station.”

This side of Lower Downtown is rapidly changing.

The old Office Depot at the corner of 16th and Market has been replaced by 16M, a mixed-use building that includes four floors of luxury apartments, five floors of office space and street-level retail that soon will include the first U.S. location of the chic STK Rebel steakhouse.

Across Market, talks around redeveloping Market Street station are underway, but remain under wraps.

Denver-based developers East West Partners and Continuum — forces behind Union Station redevelopment — said they have big plans for a full city block, which is public parking for the time being.

McHenry said whatever emerges will complement the Market Center project.

“Everything we hear about what they’re exploring is a fabulous project that we will be delighted to be across the street from,” McHenry said. “We think it’s huge for furthering the presence for this block.”

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