Two local real estate developers were part of an unsuccessful bid to buy the Denver Broncos.
Andy Klein, founder of Glendale-based Westside Investment Partners, and Rob Salazar, a former health care executive who now develops through his Denver-based family office Central Street Capital, confirmed separately to BusinessDen this week that they were part of the bid led by private equity billionaire Josh Harris.
The Broncos ultimately elected to sell the team to an ownership group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton. The deal still has to be approved by the NFL’s Finance Committee and the league’s other team owners, but is expected to close before the Broncos play their first regular-season game in September.
Klein and Salazar are the only local businessmen known to have been part of a bid.
Harris, who led the prospective ownership group, co-founded investment firm Apollo Global Management and is the principal owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and NHL’s New Jersey Devils.
Klein confirmed he was part of Harris’ bid but otherwise declined to comment. His firm is best known for master-planning the development of large tracts of land. Westside purchased the former Loretto Heights campus in southeast Denver in 2018 and the onetime Park Hill Golf Club property the following year. The firm also owns a significant amount of land near Denver International Airport, some of which is slated to be sold to New York-based PepsiCo.
Salazar said Klein, a friend, introduced him to the Harris group and that he was “excited and honored” to be able to join it as a limited partner investor.
Salazar said he signed non-disclosure agreements as part of the bidding process, which limits his ability to speak about the process, including about what qualifications investors were expected to have.
He said he wanted to join the bid because he saw a stake in the team as a “safe investment” with the potential to increase in value, one that would give him entry into the NFL’s orbit and potentially allow for future investments. Harris, he said, had a “solid track record.”
Salazar said he grew up about a mile and a half from the Broncos stadium, and has been a lifelong fan of the team.
Salazar’s past development work includes the Prospect on Central apartment building in LoHi and the Fox Street Shops retail center in Globeville. Central Street is currently in the process of planning an Alamo Drafthouse-anchored entertainment district in Glendale.
Other members of the Harris group include former Broncos running back and Denver-area resident Terrell Davis, according to 9News.
The Broncos are currently owned by a trust established in connection with the 2019 death of former majority owner Pat Bowlen. The Bowlen family announced in February that they were putting the team up for sale.
In addition to Rob Walton, the Walton group preparing to buy the team includes Greg Penner, Carrie Walton-Penner, Mellody Hobson and — as announced Monday morning — Condoleezza Rice.
The future of the Broncos could involve development. Prior to the team being put up for sale, the Denver City Council approved a master plan for developing the parking lots to the south of Empower Field at Mile High. The impending sale has also prompted speculation regarding whether the Waltons will push for a new stadium once they take control of the team.