134 undeveloped acres by DIA sell for $18M at bankruptcy auction

Land near Denver airport sold

Denver International Airport staff mow grass near the runways. The land that sold in a bankruptcy auction in December is near the airport. (Courtesy of Denver International Airport)

A large undeveloped site by Denver International Airport has been sold out of bankruptcy.

SAV Land Holdings West LLC purchased approximately 134 acres at the southeast corner of East 64th Avenue and Piccadilly Road in Aurora in late December for $18.1 million, according to public records.

The entire site is zoned for industrial and residential use, and lies within a federally-designated Opportunity Zone, according to documents filed in the associated bankruptcy case.

The purchasing entity lists an address that corresponds to that of Minneapolis-based Sherman Associates, which did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.

Sherman Associates has developed numerous apartment complexes and some hotel and other commercial projects, according to its website. It has completed at least two local projects: the 50-unit “Phoenix on the Fax” apartment building at 7171 E. Colfax Ave. in Denver, and the 255-unit Ascent Apartments in Westminster.

The property out by the airport was sold by Hilltop at DIA LLC, an entity affiliated with Sebastian Partners, a Denver-based real estate firm led by Michael Graham.

Hilltop at DIA paid $2.1 million in February 2018 for the site, also known as 22050 E. 64th Ave., records show. Sebastian Partners’ website indicated the company expected to buy an additional 150 acres to the south in 2019.

In the summer of 2019, Graham told the Denver Business Journal he planned to build a master-planned community called Avelon at the site, with more than 1,000 single-family home lots and additional land set aside for apartments, hotels and retail space. It would all be anchored by an 8,000-seat amphitheater, Graham said at the time.

The purchase of the adjacent 150 acres didn’t come to fruition, however. The land was instead scooped up in June 2020 by Glendale-based Westside Investment Partners for $3 million, records show.

And in June 2021, Hilltop at DIA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, reporting both assets and liabilities in the $10 million to $50 million range. Law firm Perkins Coie was the largest creditor, listed as being owed $972,000 in attorney fees.

Reached by phone briefly on Friday, Graham said he did not have time to talk.

Hilco Real Estate, which marketed the property during the bankruptcy process, said in a statement that the starting bid in the November virtual auction was $16.1 million. Seven offers were made during the course of the auction, according to the company.

The sale to Sherman Associates closed 37 days after the auction ended. If the deal to Sherman were to have fallen through, the chosen “back-up bidder” was PCCP Acquisition Holdings LLC, court records show.

Land near Denver airport sold

Land near Denver airport sold

Denver International Airport staff mow grass near the runways. The land that sold in a bankruptcy auction in December is near the airport. (Courtesy of Denver International Airport)

The seller, who bought the site for $2.1 million in 2018 and spoke of building a 1,000-home, amphitheater-anchored community, ended up filing for Chapter 11.

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