The land deal that was allegedly going to bring an 81-story skyscraper to downtown Denver fell apart a year an half ago and now the choice patch of land previously tabbed for that project has sold to another developer.
Boston-area company Harbinger Development ponied up $17.5 million for the parking lot at the southeast corner of 17th and California streets, according to Buzz Geller, managing partner of of Paradise Investment Properties, the company that has controlled the centrally located parcel since 2002.
At $700 for each of the lot’s 25,000 or so square feet, the sale represents a new record price for undeveloped land in the city, said Geller, who has worked in real estate in the city for better than 30 years. Researchers in the Denver office of international real estate services firm CBRE on Tuesday confirmed that claim.
“(This sale) shows that the city is still on the move,” Geller said.”And there is less land than ever to build on in the downtown area.”
Officials with Harbinger did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday. The development firm had the property under contract for around 100 days before closing the deal, Geller said.
Another East Coast developer, New York City-based Greenwich Realty Capital, made two years worth of monthly payments to keep the lot under contract before failing to close on the purchase early last year, according to Geller. He declared that arrangement dead in February 2018.
Greenwich and its boisterous managing partner Michael Ursini made waves in Denver in September 2017 when conceptual plans for 1,000-foot-tall tower the company aimed to build on the property leaked online. If built, the condo/hotel/retail tower dubbed Six Fifty 17 would have been by far the tallest building in Denver. Those plans never got off the ground.
Geller said a video on his website, prepared by Denver’s Davis Partnership Architects, provides “a lot more realistic” interpretation of what can go on the roughly half-acre lot compared to what Greenwich was proposing.
Geller’s company owns a number of other parking lots in Denver’s core neighborhoods Including a large site — more than 1.25 acres — along 19th Street between Lawrence and Arapahoe streets that is now under contract with a Colorado-based developer. Kairoi Residential’s plans for a high-rise apartment building on another Paradise-owned lot, part of the “Bell Park” property at Speer Boulevard and Larimer Street, will be discussed at a Lower Downtown Design Review Board hearing Sept. 5, Geller said.