A Denver-area district where you could walk around with to-go adult beverages takes big step toward reality

An effort to bring a 150,000-square-foot entertainment and dining complex to Glendale — a plan that has been repeatedly sidetracked in recent years — this month took its most significant step forward when city leaders approved a development agreement with a Texas company.

Glendale City Council approved the agreement with Lincoln Property Co. on Feb. 6, a deal that could eventually result in 9 1/2 acres of city-owned land along the banks of Cherry Creek being transferred to the Dallas-based company as the project, dubbed Glendale 180, gets built out.

The development, which calls for a hotel and 25 bars and restaurants where adults could walk around carrying to-go alcoholic beverages, has been beset by multiple delays in recent years.

A financing agreement between Glendale and Lincoln will have to be negotiated, likely sometime this spring, before any shovels hit the ground, but deputy city manager Chuck Line said this is the furthest along the $175 million project has gotten to date.

“Before, we were barely getting out of the driveway, and now we’re definitely driving down the interstate,” he said.

More specific plans, along with the naming of potential tenants to occupy space inside the project at the southeast corner of East Virginia Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, could be unveiled as early as May, Line said. Glendale leaders agreed to team up with Lincoln last summer to see if it could deliver the project in the city of 5,200 surrounded by Denver.

A previous developer backed out of a potential deal more than two years ago. That followed a high-profile battle between Glendale and the owners of a longtime Persian rug store, who claimed the city planned to exercise eminent domain to take possession of their business for the purposes of building out Glendale 180.

The city denied it ever threatened condemnation and, following several legal challenges, said it would continue to pursue a slightly scaled back project without the acreage that encompasses the rug store.

The city is also talking to the owner of the Staybridge Suites hotel on East Virginia Avenue to see if the hotel wants to be a part of Glendale 180. The hotel sued the city in 2015 over how it formed its Downtown Development Authority, which is the primary financial engine behind the development.

A judge dismissed the suit the following year.

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