Two years ago Denverite penned a tragic love story about a long-vacant Arby’s that real estate types might have breathed new life into. Instead, the prominently placed property at Colfax Avenue and York Street was repeatedly left at at the altar.
Chase Bank is the knight in shining armor to save the lifeless corner. It bought the property last month for $3.5 million. But… maybe its armor is just regular armor.
See, a one-story drive-thru bank with 22 parking spaces is not necessarily what the city had in mind for what will eventually be a major, bustling locale on Denver’s Colfax bus rapid transit line. Government officials wanted to see apartments on that corner to concentrate people near good transit.
So did Frank Locantore, executive director of the Colfax Avenue Business Improvement District.
“Converting vacant lots, like the former Arby’s lot that will soon be a Chase Bank, is a positive development and we’re happy for the new neighbors at Chase,” Locantore said in a statement. “The missed opportunity, however, is that at the very busy and charismatic corner of York and Colfax where Chase Bank will be, it will not add any new housing or office space to a parcel that is at the intersection of two bus lines.”
Businesses are gonna business. The Colorado market is attractive because it’s growing so fast, said Michelle Meehan, market director for JP Morgan Chase.
“We’re excited about having the face of Chase in the neighborhood, Meehan said. “There’s a demand for our services there … it’s a very hip area going through a lot of development.”
As marketing director, Meehan could not say whether Chase would have considered a mixed-use development like a bank on the bottom with homes on top. Chase’s real estate specialist is out of the office for several days, a spokesperson said.
City zoning rules guide development, but don’t exactly dictate it — look at the Home Depot next to the 41st and Fox RTD station. Eight stories of multiple uses are allowed at the old Arby’s plot, but that doesn’t mean much unless the owner
“Anyone paying attention to the news knows we need more housing,” Locantore said. “The Colfax community could also use a bank in this area. We could have had both. Unfortunately, the plan is only for a bank. It’s a big missed opportunity from that perspective.”
That’s the way the cookie crumbles. That’s the way the dollar folds. That’s the way the Arby’s roast beef sandwich sits under a heat lamp.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the building was leased.