Gart family’s 50-year reign comes to an end at the Sports Castle

The Sports Castle building at 1000 N. Broadway in Denver. (BusinessDen file photos)

The Sports Castle has a new king.

A partnership led by Tom McLagan, executive chairman of Denver-based Hyder Construction, purchased the three-story, 45,000-square-foot building at 1000 N. Broadway from Denver-based Gart Properties this week, the parties announced.

Tom McLagan

The deal also included the 0.36-acre parking lot across 10th Avenue at 972 N. Broadway.

The parties declined to reveal the sale price, but public records show the Sports Castle building sold for $4.5 million, and the parking lot for an additional $2 million. That’s about $100 a square foot for the building, and $128 per square foot for the parking lot.

The new ownership plans to get the building placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and to add a penthouse level that opens onto a rooftop deck. The existing space will be renovated for future office and retail tenants.

The structure was built in the 1920s for the Cullen-Thompson Motor Co., and housed an auto dealership for decades. Gart Bros. purchased the building and opened a sporting goods store there around 1970; it became a Sports Authority when that chain acquired Gart.

The Sports Authority closed in 2016 and the structure has sat largely vacant since, used only occasionally for events or by seasonal retail tenants such as Spirit Halloween.

The three-story building was built in the 1920s and originally housed an auto dealership.

The Garts maintained ownership all the while. The family real estate firm owns other notable assets like the Denver Pavilions mall downtown, but Ken Gart — whose father founded the sporting goods chain — told BusinessDen Thursday that rehabbing the Sports Castle building after Sports Authority left wasn’t a natural fit.

Ken Gart

“We don’t really do true development stuff at all,” Gart said.

McLagan, meanwhile, said he was initially interested in just the parking lot, because he owns the Broadway Market building adjacent to it. But around July 2020, he said, NAI Shames Makovsky broker Hayden Hirschfeld, who represented the Garts with colleagues Evan Makovsky and Dorit Fischer, reached out and asked if he’d consider buying the Sports Castle.

The brokers were also working to sell about an acre north of the Sports Castle building that the Garts owned. The family wanted to sell both assets around the same time.

“They had a lot of developers that wanted to develop apartments, but didn’t necessarily have the adaptive reuse component,” McLagan said.

Austin-based Cypress Real Estate Advisors ultimately purchased the land north of the building last week, paying $11.5 million. Atlanta-based Wood Partners and Phoenix-based Alliance Residential also previously eyed the site.

McLagan said visiting the Sports Castle and thinking about its history prompted him to make the deal.

“The outside everyone knows,” he said of the structure. “The inside has incredible bones.”

McLagan and Hyder previously repurposed an old building at 1023 Santa Fe Drive for the firm’s headquarters, and the former Denver Public Schools administrative building at 414 14th St.

“I really feel that we were lucky to get this Cypress-McLagan partnership,” Ken Gart said, calling the deal “sentimental.”

Construction isn’t expected to start until 2023. McLagan said he doesn’t want work to finish until Cypress completes its apartment complex, because the Sports Castle has a deal to use that structure’s parking spaces.

The Sports Castle building at 1000 N. Broadway in Denver. (BusinessDen file photos)

The Sports Castle has a…

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