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New businesses invigorate Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood

Denver Business Journal // November 7, 2014

Denver’s historic Sunnyside neighborhood is only a few minutes away from the bustle of downtown Denver and is directly adjacent to the trendy Highlands neighborhood. But sitting inside a coffee shop in Sunnyside feels like passing time in a small town, far removed from urban activity and business districts. Activity there is picking up, however, as old buildings are renovated or replaced, adding new businesses to an area that dates to the 1870s.

Connecting past to present are Jack Pottle and Paul Tamburello. They are busy redeveloping old buildings in Sunnyside and building new ones adjacent to the old, and leasing those spaces out to new businesses, including a coffee shop, flower shop and a technology company.

Tamburello owns Denver-based Generator Development and is busy redeveloping two sites in Sunnyside, one of which was partially inhabited by Pottle’s grandfather during the Great Depression. The Pottle family owned the Alcott Shoe Shop at 2450 W. 44th Ave., and last year Jack Pottle and Tamburello purchased the building with the intention of redeveloping the property.

Renovations are underway on the existing building, renamed simply “The Alcott Building.” New construction behind the existing building is also ongoing. In all, the site will include seven retail spaces and two live-work units.One of the retail spaces has been leased already, by a brunch restaurant called Bacon, Tamburello said, and a letter of intent has been signed for another.

A few blocks away at the intersection of 41st Avenue and Tejon Street is a project Tamburello has dubbed “Tejon 41,” which is also getting the redevelopment treatment, with renovations on an existing building and new space going up right next door. The site is the future home of OneReach, a Denver startup that allows companies to set up text-message customer service platforms. OneReach has been growing rapidly and needed more space for all of its employees, Tamburello said.

In both projects put together, Tamburello and Pottle are adding around 30,000 square feet of commercial space to the Sunnyside neighborhood, with about 30 percent already spoken for, whether with a signed lease or a letter of intent. Elsewhere in Sunnyside, big Denver names are making their mark, with restaurateur Frank Bonanno opening Lou’s Food Bar and Larimer Associates, most recently of Union Station fame, securing Sunnyside Burger Bar in the neighborhood. Coffee shop Common Grounds also relocated there from its former location in the Highlands last year.

But even with increased activity, Sunnyside should be able to retain its small-town vibe, Jack Pottle said, due in part to zoning in the area that keeps buildings from being more than three stories tall, meaning that large-scale condominium or apartment developments won’t be able to locate there.

Molly Armbrister | Denver Business Journal