|By Margaret Jackson, The Denver Post
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jan. 6, 2006 - A proposed 50-story skyscraper featuring a Four Seasons Hotel and luxury condos is a step closer to reality.
Michael Brenneman and Jeff Selby, developers of the skyscraper and the principals of Hotel Teatro Group, have purchased a site for the project. It's a 67,000-square-foot parking lot at the southeast intersection of 14th, Arapahoe and Lawrence streets.
The seller was Global Pacific Properties, which operated the lot. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and the city's records have not yet been updated.
The developers have financing for the project but cannot release details because of a confidentiality agreement, Brenneman said.
As with any large project, some skepticism exists. But the Four Seasons developers say construction will start by the middle of this year. Completion is pegged for mid-2008, a bit later than the originally proposed 2007.
Brenneman and Selby have worked on the project for more than four years.
"The next thing people will hear about will be the design center that we're in the process of building out right now," Brenneman said.
The center is to open in March in space leased at the Denver Performing Arts Complex.
As proposed, the Four Seasons will include 140 luxury private residences on its upper floors and 230 "five-star" hotel rooms and suites.
No decision has been made about whether the 111-room Hotel Teatro will be incorporated into the new hotel or remain a stand-alone boutique hotel across the street.
"The real question is, How many high-end, luxury-level hotels can downtown Denver support?" said Mike Cahill, president of HREC-Hospitality Real Estate Counselors, a consultant to the hotel industry. "We still have the issue of the Ritz-Carlton. Clearly in a city like Denver, there is demand for high-end luxury rooms. The question is, How deep is that market?" Hotelier Charlie Biederman, developer of the JW Marriott in Cherry Creek, is reported to be considering a number of options -- including a Ritz-Carlton -- for the 367-room Embassy Suites Hotel he purchased in September.
Biederman could not be reached for comment.
Buyers of the Four Seasons condos are likely to pay a premium because of the amenities the hotel would provide, said Dee Chirafisi, a broker/owner at Kentwood City Properties who's an expert in the downtown condo market.
Luxury condominiums at developments such as the Art House, a project in the Central Platte Valley, and Museum Residences, a project under construction near the Denver Art Museum, hover around $600 a square foot. But neither has amenities such as room service, concierge, laundry and cleaning, Chirafisi said.
"It's one of the hottest things going in other cities," she said. "I do think there's a market for it, but I don't know how deep that market is."
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