Development has always been a family business for Brent Farber, who runs Denver-based Elevation Development Group with his two brothers.
But his latest project, a four-story office building in Cherry Creek that breaks ground this week, is even more of a family project than usual.
Elevation is developing the building with Denver-based Edgemark Development, founded by Farber’s uncle Rick Sapkin.
Farber said the partnership grew out of talks in December 2020 when, with the pandemic still going strong, he and his extended family quarantined together in California.
“We were all together in California when things were really bad,” Farber said. “It generated a conversation that the whole family was a part of.”
One thing that came up was the northeast corner of 3rd Avenue and University Boulevard in Cherry Creek, a property that Sapkin has owned for 32 years.
“My two brothers-in-law and father-in-law, we bought it together,” Sapkin said.
The property was home to a couple retail buildings, which were recently demolished, and a parking lot leased to the neighboring Hillstone restaurant. It’s on the western edge of Cherry Creek’s commercial district, which has been booming for years.
Sapkin said he got a call every week for years, asking if he wanted to sell. But he always figured he’d develop it himself, eventually.
And as Sapkin and Farber quarantined together in California in late 2020, they decided the time had come. While downtown Denver was struggling, Cherry Creek was seeing a surge of interest in office leasing. Elevation had experience in the realm, having recently completed the 260 North, a four-story office building just a block away at 260 N. Josephine St.
The resulting project is a four-story building that will have about 50,000 square feet of office space and 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. There will be outdoor terraces on the second and fourth floors.
Sapkin said the office space is fully leased, despite the project’s only publicity being word of mouth.
“We never hired a broker,” he said. “We didn’t have a sign. We didn’t talk to the press.”
Farber added, “There are some tenants that are coming from downtown and some that are already in Cherry Creek.”
The building is being erected on a half-acre site, and will have two levels of underground parking that will have a traditional garage format. Farber said that stands in contrast to most new office buildings in Cherry Creek, which utilize parking lifts and thus allow for valet parking only.
Open Studio Architecture designed the building, and GE Johnson is the general contractor. Both firms also worked on 260 North. SullivanHayes and Tether Advisors have been hired to market the retail space.
While the building will be on the edge of Cherry Creek’s commercial district, sandwiched between the busy one-way corridors of University and Josephine, Farber said many prospective tenants see that as a plus. They can get in and out of the neighborhood easily, avoiding the ample four-way stops in the heart of the district.
“We have easy access and still walkability,” he said, adding that the location also lends itself to great views.
In addition to 260 North, Elevation developed The Hub office building in RiNo and the office-and-residential 16M building downtown. The firm recently submitted development plans for a half-block parking lot in LoDo. Edgemark, meanwhile, has “built shopping centers from Chicago to California,” Sapkin said. The firm also recently sold self-storage facilities it developed in Glendale and Arvada.
As excavation starts this week, 300 University becomes the third office building currently under construction in Cherry Creek. The other two are Broe Real Estate Group’s 200 Clayton and BMC Investments’ 255 Fillmore. BMC and Schnitzer West have also submitted plans for two additional office buildings, although those are still in the planning stages.