The building that once housed the Webber theater and later the adult movie house Kitty’s South is about to start its new life as an artisan distillery along South Broadway.
A Denver native and a former New Yorker say they want to open Archetype Distillery sometime this fall as a place that enhances South Broadway without changing the feel of the area. Their challenge is one shared by developers up and down the popular Denver corridor.
“It’s old Denver for those of us who were born here and grew up here,” said Wade Murphy, a managing partner at SourceRock Partners.
Murphy is working with Michael Chapyak on the two-story distillery at the southwest corner of West Bayaud Avenue and South Broadway. Chapyak, a former New York resident, is hoping to honor the history of the 102-year-old building at 119 S. Broadway while also updating it enough to have “a little bit of a big city influence.”
“Not only Colorado, but Denver itself is becoming heavily populated,” Chapyak said. “We want to give the building a big city feel in what’s going to become a big city. We want to show them how to do it right.”
South Broadway has long been a major transportation corridor in Denver. It started as a path for fruit distribution and later was home to the city’s first trolley line. Today, the avenue is traveled by hundreds of vehicles and is accessible via RTD light rail at the I-25 & Broadway Station.
Overall, the corridor is recognized as one of the largest growth centers in Denver. A large section of the corridor, south of where Archetype is going in, is known as the Denver Design District and managed by D4 Urban LLC.
In 2009, D4 worked with the city to approve a redevelopment plan at the 60-acre site west of South Broadway between Interstate 25 and West Alameda Avenue. The plan calls for gradually increasing the density of the area and making the design district “a model for sustainable, mixed-use, urban development in Denver and the USA.”
The addition of 340 to 350 new apartments at the former Kmart site could help the Denver Design District with its density goal. One-hundred-six new units in the First Avenue Hotel building, just north of the district, could also bring more residents and foot traffic to the corridor that’s shared by the Baker, Speer and Washington Park West neighborhoods.
“Having spent a lot of time in the Baker neighborhood and building relationships down there, it seems people want a little bit of sophistication to come in and kind of help the neighborhood be more established,” Chapyak said. “They don’t want it to turn into RiNo, and we don’t either.”
“We want to make sure everybody who does love Denver the way we love Denver, feels just as at home and comfortable there as we do,” Murphy added.
Here’s more information about Archetype Distillery and the other developments coming to the corridor:
Wade Murphy and Michael Chapyak are renovating the 102-year-old movie theater at 119 S. Broadway to be the future home of Archetype Distillery. The two-story distillery is expected to open as early as October and specialize in clear, grape-based clear spirits like vodka and gin. The distillery’s taproom is expected to fit about 50 people on the first floor with a larger gallery and event space on the second floor.
The First Avenue Hotel makeover:
Zocalo Community Development plans to add 106 affordable apartments to The First Avenue Hotel building, former home of the El Diablo restaurant. The Denver-based developer says the costly structural issues that forced El Diablo to close pale in comparison to the multi-million dollar cost of renovating the building. Denver Urban Renewal Authority and the city’s Office of Economic Development could contribute funds and a loan to the project.
“South Broadway is one of the most wonderfully unique and culturally important neighborhoods in Denver. And one of it’s oldest commercial corridors,” said David Zucker, principal and CEO at Zocalo. “So often development occurs, as has occurred in a lot of emerging neighborhoods in Denver, and when the developers move in the character is often lost.”
“Our commitment is creating a project that’s reinvigorating this corner, and creating a project that contributes to the historic fabric, vitality and affordability of this neighborhood,” Zucker said.
Construction is expected to start on the 92-year-old building this year. The building is expected to open in 2018 and feature a new restaurant or retail space on the first floor.
The Kmart building along South Broadway is expected to be scrapped this year to make way for 340 to 350 new apartments. Price Development Group is proposing that a seven-story apartment building take over about a third of the acreage previously leased by Kmart at 363 S. Broadway.
The former home of the model train store Caboose Hobbies was demolished this month to make way for a new Starbucks along South Broadway, said Elly Valas, owner of the property. Caboose Hobbies left 500 S. Broadway last year after 35 years and reopened in Lakewood under new ownership.
A supplier of high-end kitchen and bath appliances is ordering up a three-story office building where a defunct hamburger joint currently sits at 742 S. Broadway. Roth Living plans to knock down the former home of Griff’s Hamburgers this summer and open its new office and showroom in 2018, said Denise Manu, vice president of marketing for Roth.
755-761 S. Broadway
LAI Design Group is working on an eight-story mixed use building at 755-761 S. Broadway, according to the city of Denver. The Englewood-based firm did not immediately return a call last week about the project.
The property is proposed to contain retail space and 154 residential units, according to the city. The property at 761 S. Broadway has been owned by 755 South Broadway LLC since 1996.
The address where LAI Design Group is proposing the eight-story mixed use building has been updated from an earlier version of this article.
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