The firm launched last year by two former partners with Denver-based Zeppelin Development has chosen Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood for its first acquisition.
Natural Object — founded by ex-Zeppelin execs Justin Croft and Chris Woldum, along with design studio owner Jon Hartman — bought the building at 2839 W. 44th Ave. on Monday.
The two-story, 7,000-square-foot building dates to 1952, and was sold by The Association for Senior Citizens, which bought it in 1995 for $225,000, records show. Croft said the nonprofit used the building for office space.
“It’s a commercial building with some character that borders an established residential area,” Croft said.
Natural Object plans to renovate the structure, preserving the canted storefront to create retail space on the ground floor and office space above. Total project cost, including the purchase price, is about $2 million, Croft said. Collegiate Peaks Bank provided construction and acquisition financing.
At Zeppelin, Croft and Woldum worked primarily in RiNo, on projects with a sizable retail and restaurant component. Croft said part of the goal of launching Natural Object was to help bring amenities to outlying residential areas.
To that end, he said, Natural Object is in talks with independent retail and food and beverage concepts for the approximately 5,000-square-foot first floor. A portion of the upstairs office space will be used by Natural Object and Wunder Werkz, the design firm that Hartman owns. An additional 1,000 square feet or so will be available for lease.
The acquisition comes nine months after the launch of Natural Object last April. Croft said he and his partners have also been consulting during that period. Clients have included local firms such as McWhinney and Urban Villages as well as California-based Jerico Development in connection with that company’s West Harbor project near the Port of Los Angeles.
Croft said the consulting gave him and his partners “the opportunity to branch out” after doing so much work in RiNo. And it gave them time to scout deals.
“That transition allowed us to be selective with our first development project,” he said.
Croft said Natural Object is interested in both adaptive reuse and ground-up development projects going forward.