Developer sets sights on La Popular, Denver’s legendary tamale manufacturer

The new project would include 37 stories of apartments, retail and more.

La Popular at 2033 Lawrence St. May 19, 2022.

La Popular at 2033 Lawrence St. May 19, 2022.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
kyle harris

Since 1946, the family-owned restaurant La Popular has been producing what some say are Denver’s best tamales.

Now, an unknown developer is looking at tearing down the restaurant’s building at 21st and Lawrence streets and the adjacent parking lot and replacing them with 500 homes, 350 parking spots and retail.

On Tuesday, the developer submitted concept plans to the city. If Denver’s planning department approves them and the developer decides to move forward, the building would rise 37 stories.

2041 Lawrence St. May 19, 2022.

2041 Lawrence St. May 19, 2022.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

The site is near Sakura Square, which is also undergoing a massive re-development, including the possible demolition and reconstruction of the Tri-State Denver Buddhist Temple. The temple was eligible for landmark status, but the institution’s leadership was ready for change and supported the potential demolition.

The engineer on the 21st and Lawrence project, Melyssa Hartzell of Martin/Martin Consulting Engineers, told Denverite the developer is not ready to announce any projects or be identified. The Soneff Family Trust, LLC owns the land and buildings.

The future of La Popular is unknown, and the restaurant declined to answer Denverite’s questions about the potential redevelopment and what it means for the business.

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