As I plot my "foray" into the real estate development territory during these exploratory times, I figure I should share some cool inspirational projects/ideas as I come across them with you all. IDEALLY, I would love to get involved with rehabbing old buildings, finding a better use for them and turing that use and vision into a reality.. Reappointed, if you will. Sounds lofty, right? Well, regardless of if that ends up happening or not, surveying and scouting are definitely part of the whole process and thus an important aspect to learn. Gotsta find that diamond in the rough, ya know what I mean?
A few weekends ago, I went to this place in Denver that definitely falls into that "Diamond In The Rough" bin. It's just opening (and yes that is in gerund form as it is opening in a "phases" sense). It's called "The Source" and I'm convinced it's going to be the source of the next up and coming thing in the Denver area, at least. It's located in a developing area of Denver known as RiNo (short for River North) and is modeled after the Chelsea Market in Manhattan and the Ferry Building Farmer's Market in San Francisco but on a smaller scale. It even has hints of the Pike Place Market in Seattle.
The Source, in Denver, was birthed in former 19th century foundry building with exposed pipes, brick, to maintain that industrial feel juxtaposed against the high-end nature of the vendors. Incorporating the history of a building and not just tearing it down and starting over, but also taking care to bring the building up to the present in terms of its construction and use, is something I give mad props for. Not the easiest route by any means and not necessarily the most cost-effective either. I am a firm believer that if you put the time into rehabbing an old building and maintaining its character, you will reap the rewards when it's finished and give the building what's needed for visitors to establish an emotional connection to a place. The idea of giving life to a property that was disregarded or overlooked is what provides that unique one-of-a-kind feeling in real estate. and why the prospect of real estate development seems so appealing to me.
Anyway, The Source, is a true haven for foodies and is meant to be a sort of one-stop-shop for upscale gourmet goods. Currently two restaurants, Comida and Acorn, created by renown chefs/restauranteurs and a gourmet cheese and acoutrements shop, Mondo Market, have taken up residence in the restored building and many more curated vendors are filling in. On the docket for the remaining "stall" inhabitants, are: "Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project (a brewery and tasting room), Boxcar Roasters (coffee), Babette's Artisan Breads (a French bakery), CapRock Farm Bar (all of the booze in the bar is distilled in Hotchkiss), MeatHead (a whole-animal butcher), a florist, a liquor store, a produce department, and an art gallery and design store" to really round it out. (Source: The Denver Post).
A glimpse into the developer angle reveals this: The project is part of a larger plan to create the next emerging neighborhood in Denver within the "RiNo area," by father and son development duo, Mickey and Kyle Zeppelin of Zeppelin Places. The father, Mickey, is pretty much the "Godfather" or O.G. of most on-the-map neighborhoods in the greater downtown Denver periphery and has had a longstanding goal to facilitating creative projects to make Denver a "real city." Interpret that as you will.. Or don't. I'm sure if you're not familiar with the Denver area this all means very little to you.. and if you are, it may still mean very little. But regardless of where you or your priorities are located, these little upscale, fresh food and restaurant gourmet food court developments, when executed correctly, are pretty neat!
When I visited "The Source" they had one of their two restaurants, Comida, open and their gourmet Mondo Market up and running where they were selling amazing cheeses and sandwiches among other "picnic like" snack goods. They allowed me to sample a rather large chunk of the most creative and phenomenal cheese I have maybe ever had, created by Beehive Cheese... Brace yourselves: it was an espresso and lavender hand-rubbed cheese with subtle notes of butterscotch and caramel, called "Barely Buzzed." And I'll tell you, my taste buds were more than just, barely buzzed, after tasting just one bite. I also stopped in for happy hour at Comida Cantina and had some delicious jalapeño grits and their refreshingly perfect "Mint Condition" adult beverage which was made up of vodka, pomegranate lemonade, mint-cucumber syrup, lime and fresh mint. YUM.
After my little jaunt around the facilities, which included peering through the bars of every vendor stall that wasn't already open, I truly felt a little like I had gone to the farmer's market by the time I left with based on all of the sampling and fresh food I tried. So I guess, mission accomplished and trend observed. (Or diamond discovered I guess you could say). Check it out if you are ever in the Denver area!