Alamo Drafthouse Cinema to anchor entertainment district in Glendale

A rendering of the Glendale Entertainment District, a nearly 10-acre property that will include restaurants, theaters and retail. (Images courtesy of Central Street Capital)

The latest firm to tackle a long-discussed entertainment district in Glendale plans to anchor it with an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

Denver-based Central Street Capital, the family office established by health care entrepreneur Rob Salazar, is preparing to develop the Glendale Entertainment District on a 10-acre property bordered by Cherry Street and Virginia Avenue.

Isiah Salazar

Salazar and his son Isiah said they will operate the Alamo themselves, having signed a franchisee agreement, and there are other prospective tenants with which Central Street is negotiating leases.

“That one (Alamo) is going to happen for sure,” Isiah Salazar said. “It’s going to be one of our anchors.”

The Salazars are just the latest developers to attempt the project, which Glendale has been talking about for years and which was once going to be called Glendale 180. Previous firms that planned to tackle it include Houston-based Wulfe & Co. and Dallas-based Lincoln Property Co.

A Persian rug shop sued Glendale in 2015 because the city tried to get the land it sits on through eminent domain. The shop’s property is no longer part of the planned district.

Later that year, the city canceled an election that would have authorized $200 million in bonds to help finance the complex, according to The Denver Post.

The Glendale City Council approved development agreements with Central Street for the district in late May. The firm has primarily developed in Denver’s LoHi and Globeville neighborhoods.

“We don’t seek outside investors in our projects,” Rob Salazar said. “When we go into a deal, it’s just us or family or family-related entities, and we’re not your typical sponsor or promoter of a real estate transaction.”

Central Street initially approached LiveNation about anchoring the project with a concert venue, but those talks fell apart and prompted the Alamo Drafthouse deal instead, the Salazars said.

The design plans are still going through the city’s planning commission.

In addition to the theater, the first phase of the project is expected to include a variety of retail and restaurant tenants. It should break ground this fall, with the goal of being open by 2023 or 2024, Salazar said. A second phase of the project could include a hotel, among other things.

The district will be in a specially zoned area, where people will be able to carry alcoholic drinks throughout the district, but they will have to keep them either within the business of origin or the district itself, and alcohol can be served until 4 a.m.

The Salazars said they are willing to construct the buildings with or without a majority of leases executed.

“The main thing is getting the horizontal work done … all the infrastructure improvements,” Rob said.  “Once we achieve what is called a substantial level of construction … once we spend X amount of money on the project, then we have a right to purchase this land.”

The Salazars also said there’s one office building that is vacant on the north edge of the property that they intend to tear down.

Rob added the price for the land once they achieve that right would be just $1.

“It’s a significant incentive for us to proceed with this development because the land is obviously very valuable,” he said.

A metro district was established years ago, Glendale City Manager Linda Cassady said, which gives business owners the ability to work with the city to issue tax-exempt bonds to pay for infrastructure and other public facilities.

“It’ll be our new downtown area,” Cassady said. “The city has really waited for a very long time to make sure that it’s the right type of project. We really want to bring this back to what Glendale used to be, which was very much an entertainment area.”

Central Street has submitted design plans for the construction of the entertainment district that will be presented to the city’s planning commission on Sept. 14.

A rendering of the Glendale Entertainment District, a nearly 10-acre property that will include restaurants,…

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