EDITORíS DESK: Development: Itís not just buildings
There are developers, and then there are developers. This edition includes articles that touch on several construction matters, some directly, some indirectly.
The Ormao story, for example, mentions the $700,000 upgrade that Murphy Constructors implemented at the former Coca-Cola producton facility. It's obvious now that the strategy of the Murphy company - a Westside firm with a community-spirited history - wasn't to short-change tenants to make its money back. Instead, Murphy's willingness to essentially partner with Ormao volunteers on the studio preparation is what made the space doable for the dance company. As a result, the developer has a happy, paying tenant whose very presence adds class to the facility and the neighborhood in general.
Unfortunately, that story is about 180 degrees apart from what's happening at the Red Rock shopping center. True, the absentee owner - the Joseph Felix Realty Company in Denver - did implement facade and signage upgrades a few years ago, but those were quickly followed with huge rent increases. On top of that, we've also heard of a reluctance by Felix on even minor improvements for individual tenants (no to a handicapped ramp? Come on!) Furthermore, Felix hasn't lifted a finger during these times when criminals are becoming increasingly emboldened at the center. Added security would be nice, or advocacy to elected officials, even just moral support for merchants. But... no. One of the center's most popular stores (Bargain Mart) relocated last August as soon as its lease came up, and my guess is others will follow. (For the record, we have left messages with Felix, but have not gotten a call back.)
Other developers in this issue seem to have clean slates. We've heard nothing bad about the new Dunkin' Donuts franchisee or the Jarosz group planning the hotel in the former DHS building. So, will they be far-sighted like Murphy or short-sighted like Felix? The answer should be obvious to them... It's in their financial self-interest!