From smut to spirits, and now a sale.
The co-owner of Archetype Distillery has unloaded its South Broadway building, a former theater that for decades specialized in adult films, ahead of the business’ move to the high country.
The distillery’s building at 119 S. Broadway sold for $5.84 million last week, according to public records. The structure is about 12,000 square feet, making the deal worth about $485 a square foot.
Seller Wade Murphy, who co-owns Archetype with master distiller Michael Chapyak, put the building on the market for $6 million in the spring.
Murphy said Tuesday that Archetype is leasing the building back for six months, but it will then move production to Rocky Mountain Commercial Park in Gypsum, down the street from the Eagle County Regional Airport.
“We’re building that out as we speak and that should be ready in May, early June,” Murphy said.
Murphy said he also hopes to open a separate tasting room in the mountains, ideally within Vail Village.
Archetype has used the South Broadway building as a production facility and tasting room, as well as an event center. Murphy said a move makes sense for multiple reasons.
“One of the big reasons we’ve wanted to move is we can double our production capacity,” he said.
Although the building has plenty of space not currently used for distilling, Murphy said restrictions put in place by the fire department limit how much Archetype can produce on site. The distillery has produced about 15,000 bottles this year and expects to increase that to 30,000 annually within the next 20 months as it moves to Gypsum.
Additionally, Murphy said, Archetype no longer wants to expend effort operating and growing its event business, which suffered during the pandemic.
“Having events in Denver be killed for so long really was a significant factor for that,” he said.
And lastly, Murphy and Chapyak are just eager to spend more time in the mountains. Murphy said he was born and raised in Denver, but spent half his childhood up in Vail.
“This really felt like coming home for me,” he said.
The South Broadway building, which dates to the 1910s, was originally known as The Webber. The theater later became Kitty’s South, offering up pornographic fare until it closed in 2007. Murphy purchased the property in 2015, paying $2.6 million for it and an undeveloped lot to the north, records show. He said he spent around $4 million renovating the structure.
Murphy sold the vacant 10,000-square-foot lot to the north in June for $1.3 million. Then came last week’s sale of the building, which was purchased by 119 South Broadway LLC. That entity was formed by a Washington D.C. businessman named Yimaj “Steve” Kalifa, according to state records.
Attempts to reach Kalifa and a broker representing him on Tuesday were unsuccessful. But Murphy said the buyers are committed to reusing the existing structure.
“We’re really excited that the new owners love the building, love the history of the building,” he said.
Kalifa is also behind an effort to open a jazz club called LIV Denver at 1448 Market St. The business, which has not opened, applied to the city for a dance cabaret and liquor license for that property earlier this year. In June, a city official approved the licenses with conditions, pending the completion of required inspections.
Eric Escudero, spokesman for Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses, told BusinessDen Tuesday that LIV Denver “has not successfully completed these inspections.”