Tony Giordano, a colorful old-school Denver commercial real estate broker who considered himself a “King of Colfax,” has died.
Giordano died this past weekend, according to Antonoff & Co. Brokerage Inc., where he worked in recent years. He had recently turned 80, according to Joe Serieno, a longtime friend and office broker at Avison Young.
Giordano became a licensed broker in 1974, and primarily did retail, industrial and land deals, both sales and leases, according to his bio on Antonoff’s website. Prior to Antonoff, the University of Chicago graduate worked for years at Dunton Commercial, which ceased its brokerage operations in 2018 following an ownership change.
Although he did deals elsewhere, Giordano specialized in the Colfax Avenue corridor. In recent years, he represented the seller in deals involving a church near East High School, a former Advance Auto Parts store and a lot purchased by Les Schwab Tire Centers. He tried to find a new tenant for the former Arby’s at 2310 E. Colfax Ave., later sold to Chase Bank by different brokers.
“I lived in the bowels of that deal for three years,” Giordano told Denverite in 2017 regarding the fast food property. “I was the leasing agent for the owners for three years after Arby’s went out.”
In 2013, Giordano was interviewed by city-hired consultants evaluating the potential economic impact of new transit options along Colfax. According to a subsequent report available online, he said one barrier to growth on the street was a relative lack of lots deep enough for redevelopment and, regarding transit, that “any choice that does not reduce car traffic is good.”
Giordano did numerous deals with Louis Lee, a colleague who also made the transition from Dunton to Antonoff.
“Tony liked to say we were the Kings of Colfax … He knew a lot of the people by first name,” Lee told BusinessDen Thursday. “That was his marketing territory.”
Lee said Giordano was still working deals on a limited basis up until his death. Giordano had been on liquid oxygen in recent years, he said.
Giordano grew up on the south side of Chicago and never had children. He was married at least twice, but not at the time of his death, Lee said.
Giordano was an “old-school kind of guy” who excelled at following up, Lee said. He wrote himself a schedule to make sure he regularly reached out to those he’d worked for in the past.
“He didn’t believe in leaving long messages or text messages,” Lee said. “He’d rather see you in person or talk on the phone.”
Lee said that, in meetings, clients would sometimes ask Giordano for the phone number of someone he knew, and Giordano would rattle it off without checking. Lee said he was amazed, because he knew the Blackberry Giordano used at the time had few numbers saved in it.
“And he said, ‘Well, I used to be a bookie in Chicago,’” Lee said.
Betting, particularly on “the ponies,” was a longtime passion of Giordano’s, according to Serieno, who shared office space with Giordano about 25 years ago when the two men had their own firms.
Serieno jokingly referenced that, and Giordano’s health struggles with COPD, during a recent visit with him around the time of his 80th birthday, saying everyone had bet the under on Giordano’s life expectancy.
“I said, ‘No one thought you’d be on the over at 80, so you wiped out the house’ … He had a Chicago sense of humor, which I liked,” said Serieno.
In a statement issued this week, Antonoff & Co. Brokerage described Giordano as a “true Renaissance man” who in addition to betting also loved the finer things in life.
“An accomplished pianist, Tony’s favorite genre was jazz, stemming from his South Chicago roots,” the firm said. “Always a dapper dresser, he loved to dance, shop, dine, and read – everything from history, novels, and lifestyle magazine Esquire.”
Lee said it wasn’t unusual for Giordano to spend $2,000 or $3,000 on a suit, and he always had a hat.
“Tony would spare no expense on his clothing … He had that kind of image and flair,” Lee said.
Cinnamon Trimmer, now a commercial loan officer, said she met Giordano when he worked at Dunton. A sales representative at the time, she did a presentation for 10 or so brokers there.
“He came over after the event and said, ‘Darling, that was just magnificent,’” Trimmer recalled. “And I instantly fell in love.”
Trimmer said she Giordano was a “true gentleman” who she liked to call “Denver’s Sinatra.”
“Very talented, Italian,” Trimmer said. “Frank was from Jersey, Tony was from Chicago — those two are kind of similar.”
Trimmer said Giordano seemed to struggle during the pandemic because he was such a people person.
“He was one of those old souls, and you never thought he would stop,” she said.