Real estate firm under contract to buy a full city block in RiNo

The block that Edens is under contract to buy in RiNo includes the Joe’s Liquor Store building. (Thomas Gounley photos)

The real estate firm that has spent $75 million in RiNo since 2018 wants to take another huge bite.

Washington D.C.-based Edens is under contract to purchase the full city block between Larimer and Lawrence streets, and 26th and 27th streets, according to sources familiar with the deal.

The company plans to ask the city for a rezoning that would allow for future redevelopment, the sources said. The half of the block along Lawrence Street is currently undeveloped.

Tom Kiler, Edens’ top local executive, didn’t respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Volunteers of America’s Colorado branch owns the majority of the block, and has its main offices there. The nonprofit declined to comment.

The sole parcel that Volunteers of America doesn’t own is home to Joe’s Liquor Store. Standing behind the counter on Tuesday, store owner Ung Choi said the sale of his building to Edens is set to close later this month.

Ung Choi in his liquor store on Tuesday afternoon.

Choi said he turned 67 years old earlier this week, and plans to retire. He said he has owned the business for 33 years, long before the area became hip. Volunteers of America tried to buy Choi’s building at one point, but the two sides couldn’t agree on a price, according to previous Westword reporting.

Edens has eyed Choi’s property for quite some time. The company was listed as an applicant in 2019 when a certificate of demolition eligibility was requested and issued for the building.

Demolition eligibility certificates, which make it easy to demolish a structure within five years, were also issued in recent months for most of the buildings that Volunteers of America owns, city records show.

Nearly the entire block is owned by the Colorado branch of nonprofit Volunteers of America.

An adjacent full city block sold for $15 million in early 2019. That block was undeveloped at the time of sale.

Edens’ holdings in RiNo are highly concentrated. All the real estate the company owns locally is along Larimer and Walnut streets, between the 2500 and 2700 blocks. That includes the Denver Central Market building, as well as other units leased to retailers and restaurants like Patagonia, Burton and Il Posto.

Edens entered the Denver market in 2018, when it paid about $55 million to purchase multiple buildings from developer Ken Wolf. The relationship between the company and Wolf — who still owns multiple businesses that rent from Edens, including Denver Central Market — has since deteriorated, as evidenced by a pair of lawsuits filed in March.

Edens has since purchased nearby real estate from other sellers.

Up to this point, Edens has largely just been a landlord in Denver, although the company has done some mild redevelopment work, mostly fixing up the building that Burton occupies. But some properties it purchased in January are also expected to be targets for redevelopment.

 

The block that Edens is under contract to buy in RiNo…

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