The owner of a 56-year-old Cherry Creek office building has applied for a certificate that would make it easy to demolish the structure, although there are no immediate plans to do so.
Jerry Wrench, who along with his investors owns the building at 2702 E. 3rd Ave., cited property taxes as the reason he applied to the city for a demolition eligibility certificate earlier this month.
“Every couple years, our taxes continue to go up and up,” he told BusinessDen.
Wrench, who has owned the building for 47 years, said he protests his tax bill every two-year cycle, with mixed success. It has gotten to the point where his tax bill — $152,173 this year, records show — is now solely based on the value of the land zoned for up to five stories, with only a token dollar figure given to the building itself — a three-story retail and office structure that also has a garden level.
“They want you to tear it down,” Wrench said of the current valuation process. “Of course — that increases their tax base.”
The demolition eligibility certificate that Wrench is seeking would allow the building to be easily demolished for five years after issuance. Property owners often apply for certificates when they plan to redevelop a property, or think a buyer might want to do so.
Wrench said he’s not currently planning to redevelop or sell, but he needs to keep those options open.
“If the taxes keep going up, you’ve got to have the option of tearing it down and building a new building,” he said.
Those walking by in the coming weeks will see notices of Wrench’s application posted on the building. That’s because Denver city staff, citing the building’s history, have set aside time in case anyone wants to push to have the structure designated a city landmark. (One such push is currently playing out elsewhere in Cherry Creek.)
According to a city report, Wrench’s building was designed by Charles Sink, a notable local architect who also designed the One Cheesman Place condo building at 1201 N. Williams and McNichols Sports Arena, which prior to its 1999 demolition was home to the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets.
Wrench said he doesn’t think the Cherry Creek building qualifies as historic, in part because “we’ve changed a lot of the exterior” compared to the original look.
Wrench said the building rarely has any vacancy, and some tenants have been there for three decades. “We’re getting a good fair-market rent right now,” he said, but it doesn’t compare to the rents that newer buildings in the neighborhood can charge.
“If this was a lower tax base, I’d keep this building forever,” he said.
Just south of Wrench’s building, Denver-based Broe Real Estate Group is constructing two office buildings, with the first phase expected to be completed early next year.