General contractor pays $5M for site of planned RiNo office building

Mortenson buys RiNo land to build office for itself

A five-story office building has been proposed for the parking lot at the corner of Walnut and 31st streets. (BusinessDen file)

Construction firm Mortenson has purchased the RiNo parking lot where it plans to build itself an office building.

The Minneapolis-based company, which has had a presence in Colorado for 40 years, paid $4.87 million last week for the 0.43-acre lot at 3043 Walnut St., according to public records. That works out to $260 a square foot.

BusinessDen reported in September that the deal was in the works and that the company had submitted a development proposal.

Mortenson Taber Sweet

Taber Sweet

Taber Sweet, Mortenson’s Denver-based director of real estate development, said Monday that the company plans to build a five-story office building with 59,100 rentable square feet. It will use the majority of space itself.

“We’re going to take between 30,000 and 34,000,” Sweet said.

Mortenson, which has about 400 Denver-based employees, is a major general contractor that also develops projects itself. Its local office is currently at 1621 18th St. in LoDo, which Sweet said is about 25,000 square feet.

Sweet said the company decided that it wanted to own its local office space, either by buying an existing asset or building one.

“For us, it was really about being able to control our future,” he said.

The company zeroed in on LoHi, including Platte Street, and RiNo, Sweet said. Then 3043 Walnut St. became available, marketed by CBRE brokers Tyler Carner, Jeremy Ballenger and Jessica Ostermick.

While much of RiNo’s development activity is centered around RTD’s 38th and Blake station, Sweet said Mortenson wanted to be closer to the area’s retail hub around Denver Central Market. Brighton Boulevard also wasn’t as appealing.

“We wanted to maintain a close proximity to downtown, and we wanted to be on the Walnut/Larimer side of RiNo,” Sweet said.

“It was really the walkability and all of the amenities,” he added.

Mortenson has gone through the concept phase for its proposed building, and could submit its formal site development plan in March, Sweet said.

“We would love to break ground mid-to-late fall of 2022,” he said.

Local projects that Mortenson is currently working on include National Jewish Health’s new Center for Outpatient Health, the redevelopment of the former Emily Griffith Opportunity School at the edge of downtown Denver and Highpoint Logistics Park, a planned 2.2 million-square-foot industrial park near Denver International Airport.

The RiNo property was sold by River Valley Investments LLC, managed by Diane Hornbecker.

Mortenson buys RiNo land to build office for itself

A five-story office building has been proposed for the parking lot at the corner of Walnut and 31st streets. (BusinessDen file)

The construction firm has proposed five stories with 59,100 rentable square feet but expects to keep the majority of the space for its own office.

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