Long vacant former Arby’s wishes to meet buyer on East Colfax

“They got multiple offers — multiple offers. Obviously, it’s a very attractive corner.” But sometimes that is not enough.
4 min. read
A former Arbys on E. Colfax Avenue. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) colfax; commercial real estate; arbys; kevinjbeaty; denver; denverite; colorado;

A former Arby's on E. Colfax Avenue, 2310 E. Colfax Ave. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

This is a story of buyer meets property.

The buyer, CVS Pharmacy of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, sprung up on the East Coast believing health is everything. The property, 2310 E. Colfax Ave. in Congress Park, is a vacant, former fast food restaurant.

This is a story of buyer meets property, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story.

The story of 2310 E. Colfax Ave. is not atypical for properties along East Colfax Avenue: longtime owner, shallow lot and multi-million dollar land.

Louis Lee and Tony Giordano -- the kings of Colfax, as their brochure from Dunton Commercial Real Estate Co. reads -- were playing matchmaker for the former Arby's at the southeast corner of York Street and East Colfax Avenue.

"I lived in the bowels of that deal for three years," said Giordano, "I was the leasing agent for the owners for three years after Arby's went out."

Arby's closed up shop about four years ago, he said. The owner, S & G Realty Co., originally wanted to find another restaurant to lease the space.

"I brought the owners seven (letters of intent)," Giordano said. "In fact, Louis brought me the first LOI from a local guy with multiple units — very well known, very capable restauranteur."

But the deals all fell apart during the negotiation process.

"Three years later, they figured they couldn't get it leased, let's try to sell it," Giordano said. "Four years ago, the property was appraised for $1.7 million just on land value. And it's a 25,000 square foot lot — just slightly above half an acre."

NAI Shames Makovsky put it on the market for $3 million.

"They got multiple offers — multiple offers. Obviously, it's a very attractive corner," Giordano said. "But the lot is so small that's it's not on its own developable."

Trying to remedy the situation, the real estate team looked at whether it was possible to put together a bundle of properties — the Subway and MetroPCS to the east, two homes to the southeast on Josephine Street and three homes to the south on York Street.

"Then they had a tiger by the tail," Giordano said. "The houses on York are in the Wyman Historic District, and they couldn't get a demo permit for them. The houses on York were so expensive that it started to make the pricing outrageous."

"Then the final death blow was the city weighed in and said, 'Hey, we want to see apartments on this corner,'" he said. "Now the project had to take on vertical."

A developer, in theory, could plop an eight-story building on 2310 E. Colfax Ave., taller than most of the other lots around, which allow for up to five stories.

"Even if you were successful in acquiring all these surrounding properties," Giordano said. "The challenge is where do you park — how do you park — an eight-story building."

A former Arby's on E. Colfax Avenue. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Obviously, an eight-story building never came. But CVS did.

"CVS had it under contract — the pharmacy," Giordano said.

"They dropped out of the bidding once, and this was over a year ago, with the comments, 'I'm sorry, we just can't get it figured it out,'" Giordano said. "Then more recently, about four months ago, they came back to the table, and put it back under contract."

"Since then, they've now abandoned it a second time," he said, "so it's now back on the market and available for sale for $3.5 million."

"That's book, chapter and verse on the corner of Colfax and York."

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at [email protected] or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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