D&F Tower floors hit market

D&F Tower / 09.11.20160 comments

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D&F Tower floors for sale.

Top five D&F Tower floors on the market for $4.5 million.

Asking price per square foot would be a record.

For only the second time in its 115-year history, the top five floors of the Daniels & Fisher Tower are for sale.

If the asking price of $4.5 million is met, the 2,838 square feet that span floors 17-21 in the iconic building along the 16th Street Mall, would fetch a record $1,585.62 per square foot.

The Denver Landmark building at 1601 Arapahoe St. offers panoramic city views can easily accommodate more than 100 people at the same time.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the D&F Tower is one of downtown Denver’s most recognizable towers, with its four lit clock faces rising 250 feet from the street and measuring 16 feet in diameter.

“This could be the most expensive property ever listed on a per-square-foot basis,” said Phil Ruschmeyer, president and chief executive of The Ruschmeyer Corp.,

which is listing the property.

“But what you get is incredible,” Ruschmeyer said.

John Winslow, who has tracked the Denver-area real estate market for decades, said he is certain that no sale has approached $1,600 per square foot.

“I can’t think of anything that is sold for that type of money as far as the price per square foot,” said Winslow, principal of Winslow Consulting.

“That would have to be the highest price ever paid per square foot,” added Winslow.

Although not involved in the deal, Winslow loves the historic building.

“I’ve taken my grandkids there,” he said. “If I could afford it, I would office out of it.”

It is being sold by Holly Kylberg, who bought the floors in 2000. She paid $700,000, or $246.65 per square foot for the one-of-a-kind space, according to public records. The purchase price, of course, does not reflect the cost of the massive renovation.

Kylberg is continuing to book the space for events. She will honor any bookings after the property is sold.

“The next owner may not open it to the public,” Kylberg said.

“It might be your last chance to get up there and enjoy the space. It’s very special — it’s like a fairytale.”

Kylberg also is creating a program called A Time to Give in which she will donate the space each month to a non-profit organization to host a gathering.

Built in 1911 as a dry goods store, the D&F Tower was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River with a height of 393 feet. It later became one of Denver’s most prestigious department stores until it was vacated in 1958 after the D&F Co. merged with May Co.

The May Co. relocated to a new store at Courthouse Square at the other end of the 16th Street Mall, along Tremont and Court Place.

The tower was built by William Coke Daniels, who died at age 48 in 1918, while on a secret mission for the U.S. government, according to the book Daniels & Fisher Tower by C.H. Johnson Jr.

When urban renewal and redevelopment swept across Denver between the 1950s and 1970s, the tower faced the urban wrecking mall.

It escaped the fate of the nearby Grand Tabor Opera House, which was razed in 1964, historic preservation advocates rallied to save it.

The tower was spared.

The actual store on the site, though, was torn down.

Still, the D&F Tower was dark from the late 1950s to the late 1970s. In the late 1950s, when it was owned by famed New York developer William Zeckendorf. However, his plans to turn it into a merchandise mart fizzled.

The Italian Renaissance-style building, inspired by the Campanile of St. Mark’s in Venice, Italy, survival was assured in 1980, when Denver developer David French bought it and converted it into office condominiums.

Individual floors of the tower have been used to individuals, businesses and non-profits that use them as offices.

In recent years, the top five floors have been used as event space, hosting everything from weddings to holiday parties to board retreats.

“This is an opportunity to own a piece of Denver history,” Ruschmeyer said.

“It’s a great central location in the heart of downtown that is an ideal office setting or entertainment space,” he said.

The buyer may be someone more interested in soaring to historic heights, than seeking a healthy bottom line.

“I don’t know how the deal would pencil out,” if it sold for the asking price, Winslow said.

“It would have to be bought by a user, who like me, loves the building,” Winslow said.

A reporter once commented to Fisher, the man who built his namesake tower, that he seemed like a great believer in Denver.

“I always was,” Daniels responded. “I always will be. And Denver will make good a hundred fold all my belief.”

 

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