Cherry Creek costume castle finds new fortress

The Wizard's Chest in Cherry Creek will soon move into a bigger stronghold. Photos by Burl Rolett.

The Wizard’s Chest in Cherry Creek will soon move into a bigger stronghold. Photos by Burl Rolett.

A hobby shop has its sights set on a new location that will dwarf its longtime Cherry Creek castle.

The Wizard’s Chest will open a store at 451 Broadway this September with plans to shut down its Fillmore Street shop early next year. Co-owners Kevin Pohle and Brad Brickley said they’ve run out of space for their stock of toys, games and costumes at their Cherry Creek store.

“The old joke we talk about is we’re trying to stuff 10 pounds of sugar into a 5-pound bag,” Pohle said.

The new store will give The Wizard’s Chest plenty of room to spread out. It’s a 10,000-square-foot upgrade, up to 18,000 square feet.

Pohle and Brickley poked around new spaces for a few years but got serious last year with their Fillmore Street lease set to expire in January 2016.

The shop sells costumes, toys and also hosts gaming events.

The shop sells costumes, toys and also hosts gaming events.

They liked the Broadway property because they could easily replicate their signature castle facade at the building.

“I kind of think that neighborhood fits the quirky, off-the-wall vibe that we have,” Pohle said.

The Wizard’s Chest’s current landlord, Arca Properties, also owns its new building. Arca bought 451 Broadway on April 22, according to Denver property records.

Pohle and Brickley bought The Wizard’s Chest business from Arca Properties 16 years ago, they said, but Arca kept the Fillmore Street real estate.

Denver property records show Arca sold the 230 Fillmore St. property earlier this month to an LLC tied to Seattle-based developer Schnitzer West for $2.78 million.

Schnitzer West also bought the row of storefronts next door at 242 and 250 Fillmore St. in January for $4.88 million.

Pohle and Brickley are working out a lease-to-own deal on the 451 Broadway space.

The pair said they are unsure what it will cost to outfit the new store. They said they think they can relocate the large metal Wizard’s Chest sign that hangs above the door over to the Broadway location but will need to build most of their second castle from scratch.

Wizard's Chest will convert the space at 451 Broadway into a castle.

Wizard’s Chest will renovate the 451 Broadway space to match its Cherry Creek castle theme.

“It’s basically a blank space, so we’re going to design and try to make it worthy of a place that we would live,” Pohle said. “I’m sure it’ll take a lot of paint and a lot of wood.”

Design and construction are being handled by architect Doug Eichelberger and Spectrum General Contractors.

The Wizard’s Chest will be leaving Cherry Creek after a 33-year run, during which the shop bounced between locations along Second Avenue before moving to its current space about 15 years ago.

Brickley said the neighborhood has changed during the shop’s time there – he said Cherry Creek has always been a high-dollar shopping district, but it’s become ritzier.

“It’s always been upscale retail, but there were more pockets of modest retail that are starting to fade away because of the value of the property and what the lease rates are,” he said.

And property values aren’t the only thing shooting up.

“You’re starting to get bigger and bigger buildings,” Pohle said. “It would have been inefficient for us to be the little one-story castle with seven-story buildings all around us.”

The Wizard’s Chest will operate two locations from the time its Broadway shop opens until the middle of January 2016. Staying open in Cherry Creek through the holiday season – Halloween, that is – is important to keep customers up-to-date with the company’s plans, Pohle said.

Pohle said the shop does about a third of its sales for the year in the run-up to Oct. 31, and much of that business comes from repeat, annual shoppers.

“If they’re coming here once a year, and all of a sudden we’re gone, that could hurt us,” Pohle said.

The Wizard's Chest in Cherry Creek will soon move into a bigger stronghold. Photos by Burl Rolett.

The Wizard’s Chest in Cherry Creek will soon move into a bigger stronghold. Photos by Burl Rolett.

The stronghold of Denver's magicians, Hobbits, knights and Jedi is leaving Cherry Creek after more than 30 years and will recreate its iconic castle in a bigger space on Broadway.

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