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Makovsky Acquires Fontius Building!

Hey Downtown fans, this is the news we’ve been waiting for! Here’s the official press release from the Downtown Denver Partnership, just minutes old:

Downtown Denver’s “Fontius Building” Acquired by Evan Makovsky

Less than one month after announcing the acquisition of the majority of Block 162, Evan Makovsky with Shames-Makovsky Realty Company has announced that the historic landmark Steel Building on the corner of 16th and Welton has also been acquired. Commonly known as the “Fontius Building” because of the vacant Fontius Shoe store located on the ground floor, this property has been almost completely vacant since 1988.

“The stars have aligned…again,” said Evan Makovsky. “We are in the early stages of identifying what companies will occupy the building, however, we will proceed with vigor to rehabilitate the exterior. We wish to thank Gary Cook for making this opportunity available to us.”

The building will be refurbished and now has the potential to contribute to a larger development plan currently being slated for Block 162, which was targeted for redevelopment including exterior building improvements and quality of ground level retail uses. Fragmented property ownership of Block 162 had intimidated developers for many years, resulting in a grossly under-utilized parcel of land in the core of Downtown Denver. The redevelopment of the Steel Building has long been the focus of local government, business and civic organizations. The architecture firm klipp will manage the redevelopment of the Steel Building, and an Urban Land Institute (ULI) panel will travel to Denver to study the site and make recommendations on best uses.

“We are please to have consummated a transaction with Evan Makovsky and wish him success in the redevelopment of the property,” said the Gary Cook Family, previous owners of the Steel Building.

On June 19, 2007 Makovsky announced is acquisition of approximately 75,000 contiguous square feet on Block 162, which serves as a gateway between the Colorado Convention Center and the core of Downtown Denver. The Steel Building was not included in the announcement, as conversations with Gary Cook were still underway.

“To say we are ‘thrilled’ is an understatement,” said Tami Door, President & CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. “We are so fortunate to have leaders in our community that see the bigger picture, and how a single building can have a ripple effect in an urban area.”

This is a great victory for Downtown Denver! It was June 8, 2006 when I blogged about the sad state of the Fontius building and how angry I was about it, and here we are just a little more than a year later, and it has finally been acquired by someone willing to give the historic structure a long-overdue renovation and restoration. Thank you to the Revitalizing the Core task force, the Downtown Denver Partnership, the City, and others (such as yourself) who wrote letters in support of making this change in ownership happen.

Now the fun part… figuring out what we’re going to put there!

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