Backyard on Blake developer buys former Curtis Park fire station

Mainspring buys former Denver fire station in Curtis Park

The former fire station at 3201 Curtis St. in Denver sold for $3.7 million to development firm Mainspring. (Matthew Geiger photo)

A former firehouse in Curtis Park has a new owner — just its third since the structure was built nearly a century ago.

Denver-based development firm Mainspring paid $3.7 million earlier this week for the two-story structure at 3201 Curtis St., which dates to 1928. The deal works out to about $315 a square foot for the 11,600-square-foot-building.

The building was sold by Women’s Bean Project, a nonprofit that provides job training for women. Women’s Bean paid $185,000 for the building in 1995, records show. Prior to that, the structure had been owned and used by the city as a fire station.

Women’s Bean is shifting operations to a former car dealership property along Alameda in Athmar Park.

Mainspring CEO Andy Schlauch told BusinessDen the firm has been under contract to purchase the former firehouse for a little over a year. The building is a contributing structure in an historic district.

“Not that we would, but we really can’t change the exterior,” Schlauch said.

Schlauch said Mainspring is considering a couple options for the property. He said the firm is interested in having a restaurant on the first floor, but that depends on whether the company can find the right operator.

“We also think the building could be a really cool residential asset, with some smaller apartments,” he said.

If the building does land a restaurant, the second floor would likely be either office or residential, Schlauch said.

Mainspring was founded by Fiona Arnold, who serves as president. Schlauch was chief financial officer before being elevated to CEO as of Jan. 1.

Mainspring’s previous development includes Backyard on Blake, an office-and-retail complex in RiNo. Last year, the firm purchased a small office building in Uptown planning to renovate it; Schlauch said physical work could potentially begin next month and will take about eight months.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Mainspring proposed constructing a hostel in the 3000 block of Welton Street, but Schlauch said the company will likely find an alternative project for that site.

The sale to Mainspring is the third part of a three-way deal.

Women’s Bean Project hired NAI Shames Makovsky brokers Dorit Fischer and Hayden Hirschfeld in 2019 to start marketing the Curtis Park firehouse, and help them find a new home. The nonprofit narrowed in on the 20,000-square-foot former dealership building at 1300 W. Alameda Ave., but the property included 1.32 acres of adjacent land that Women’s Bean didn’t need, according to the brokerage.

Enter the Denver Housing Authority, another client of Fischer and Hirschfeld, which was looking for property to develop. In March 2020, DHA purchased the entire Alameda Avenue property for $4 million. In November 2021, DHA then sold the dealership building and some parking to Women’s Bean for $2.5 million, keeping the adjacent land for itself.

Then, last week, Women’s Bean sold the firehouse, capping off the transactions.

Mainspring buys former Denver fire station in Curtis Park

The former fire station at 3201 Curtis St. in Denver sold for $3.7 million to development firm Mainspring. (Matthew Geiger photo)

Mainspring is just the third owner since it was built in 1928. The seller, nonprofit Women’s Bean Project, is moving to 1300 W. Alameda Ave.

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