(Editor’s note: CityScene is taking some time off for a vacation, this article originally appeared on July 9.)
By Kevin Collison
A Denver developer has found his new ‘RiNo’ in the Crossroads, planning a pool hall and gastro pub at 16th and Grand along with revamping the former Architectural Salvage building.
“I’ve developed a single block of RiNo,” Ken Wolf said, “and what attracted me to Kansas City is the Crossroads, which in many ways, is the same situation.”
Wolf is referring to a burgeoning area north of downtown Denver formally known as River North. Over the past decade, the area of old industrial buildings has extended the redevelopment boom that began in LoDo with the opening of Coors Field.
One of the most popular RiNo destinations, the Denver Central Market, was co-developed by Wolf.
Now he has acquired several buildings in the Crossroads Arts District and West Bottoms including 1532 Grand where The Belfry is located and 335 Southwest Blvd. where the former Architectural Salvage once operated.
Wolf acquired the two-story building at 16th and Grand from award-winning chef Celina Tio and is teaming with her to expand it to include a six-table pool hall in the front of the building on Grand with offices upstairs.
“She and I are joining forces,” he said. “The Belfry will be the restaurant and bar in back and in the front side, a pool hall. And from the pool hall, you can order food and drinks.”
Tio is looking forward to the partnership.
“I’m excited,” she said. “Having the building bought from me while remaining was a win-win for me.”
Tio said the full menu will continue at the new Belfry, and appetizers and other small plate items will be added when the pool hall opens. The facility will be designed to allow people to have full meals in the billiards section.
Tio also expects to expand her hours with the new operation. Currently the kitchen closes at 9:30 p.m. weekdays and 10:30 p.m. weekends.
The combination pub, restaurant and pool hall will be renamed Gerard’s at The Belfry. The name comes from a Denver pool hall owned by Wolf called Gerard’s. The new space also will feature a dart board.
A distillery also is planned for the cellar of the property. The expanded operation is expected to open in October.
Upstairs, Wolf is renovating the 5,000 square-foot space for office use, either a single or multiple tenants.
The distinctive Architectural Salvage building at Southwest Boulevard and Broadway resembles a Medieval fortress. It opened in around 1890 as The Broadway Bank.
The two-story building is being redeveloped to include four, 1,500 square-foot storefronts on the ground level and office space upstairs.
Wolf said a tattoo parlor, Golden Cathedral, already has opened in one space and well-known artist Peregrine Honig is occupying another as a studio. A lease is being negotiated for the third and the fourth is still available.
The upstairs will have office space for a 1,500 square-foot and 3,000 square-foot tenant. Ultimately, Wolf wants to open a small speakeasy in the cellar of the building.
Wolf said it was sushi, he operates a chain called Sushi-Rama in Denver, that brought him to Kansas City.
“I developed several properties in RiNo and in one of the buildings, I became partners with a chef in opening a sushi restaurant,” he said.
“Three years ago, I came to Kansas City looking for a location for another Sushi-Rama.
“I decided it was premature, but fell in love with all the old buildings in the Crossroads the same way I did in Denver.”
Wolf is not the first Denver developer to be attracted to downtown Kansas City and its comparatively less expensive real estate over the past couple years.
Craig Slawson has acquired multiple properties along Delaware in the River Market and has been steadily filling them with new retail tenants.
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