Denver ready to pay $7.2 million for Colfax real estate

It’s some of the only remaining land with “redevelopment potential” near Civic Center.

710 West Colfax Avenue, Aug. 1, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

710 West Colfax Avenue, Aug. 1, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

The hottest new club on Colfax Avenue will be auxiliary offices for Denver courts and jails.

The city government is set to pay $7.2 million for properties at 700 West Colfax Ave., 710 West Colfax Ave. and 1449 Galapago St.

All three of the properties are clustered around the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse, west of Civic Center. One property is owned by a company linked to R&R Engineers and Surveyors. Two others are owned by an LLC linked to Urban West Group.

The properties are currently home to office space and a small parking garage. For its money, the city will get about 24,000 square feet of building space and about 0.6 acres. The land represents one of only two remaining blocks that have “redevelopment potential” near Civic Center, according to city staff.

“It does strategically present an opportunity for us down the road,” said Lisa Lumley, the city’s assistant director of real estate. But there’s no immediate plan to rebuild on the properties.

The city hasn’t said what exactly it will do with the property, but Lumley listed numerous demands on its safety and justice agencies, from new judges and courtrooms to homeless services. Courts representatives didn’t immediately respond to comment.

At the jail, Lumley said, “(t)here are limited areas over there they can use for supervised visits (of family members and incarcerated people).” Denver’s jails currently allow “video visitation” only, rather than in-person visits, according to Denver Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Daria Serna.

700 West Colfax Avenue, Aug. 1, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

700 West Colfax Avenue, Aug. 1, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

At a committee meeting on Tuesday, some council members were surprised that the justice system already needed new space. The downtown jail and the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse both opened in 2010.

“We just built a courthouse recently. We’re already talking about building additional courtroom space,” said Councilman Kevin Flynn. “Has the growth outstripped our planning or did we just not plan for the growth?”

The structures were built with growth in mind, said real-estate director Jeff Steinberg, but the city’s population boom has caused a shortage.