A new kingdom is set to rise next to the Sports Castle.
Austin-based apartment developer Cypress Real Estate Advisors last week purchased three parcels immediately north of the three-story building at 1000 N. Broadway, where the company has proposed a 15-story project.
Cypress paid $11.5 million, according to public records, to buy the 1.02-acre site from Denver-based Gart Properties. That works out to about $259 a square foot.
Multiple apartment developers eyed the site in recent years. Atlanta-based Wood Partners submitted a development proposal to the city in February 2019, and Phoenix-based Alliance Residential did the same in July 2019. But those deals didn’t make it to the finish line.
Cypress, meanwhile, submitted its first proposal in late March 2020. The company didn’t respond to requests for comment Monday.
The proposed structure would replace a parking garage and a small office building. It would have 284 units, according to the site development plan for “Sports Castle Lofts,” which still needs to be approved by city staff.
The site is on the edge of the Golden Triangle neighborhood, where numerous large apartment complexes have been proposed.
In Denver, Cypress has been most active in the Denargo Market section of RiNo. The firm made headlines last year when the City Council rejected its rezoning request for a property there. In April, Cypress paid $26.1 million for a development site in Baker.
Last week’s sale did not include the faux Gothic Sports Castle building itself, which was built in the 1920s for the Cullen-Thompson Motor Co. and housed an auto dealership for decades.
Gart Bros. opened a sporting goods store in the building in 1970. Sports Authority, which merged with Gart in the early 2000s, ultimately closed the store in 2016. The structure has sat largely vacant since, although it is occasionally leased for events or by seasonal retail tenants such as Spirit Halloween.
Gart principal Ken Gart told BusinessDen Monday that discussions are underway regarding a possible deal for the Sports Castle building, although he declined to be more specific.
“We take a lot of pride in that building,” he said.
Annie Levinsky, executive director of preservation-minded nonprofit Historic Denver, said that her organization has had conversations in recent years with the Garts and prospective buyers of the Sports Castle.
“There has always been an understanding that the Sports Castle building is special and worthy of preservation and reuse,” Levinsky said in an email. “I don’t have details at this time, but can add that the building is absolutely eligible for National Register and/or local landmark designation, which also opens opportunities for both the federal and the state preservation tax credit programs that can support a rehabilitation and adaptive reuse project.”
Gart noted that his company also still owns the office building immediately behind the Sports Castle, at 1001 N. Lincoln St., as well as the parking lot across 10th Avenue, at 972 N. Broadway.
The company’s other local real estate holdings include the Denver Pavilions mall downtown, which saw anchor tenant Uniqlo permanently close over the weekend.