First Avenue Hotel now a blight, rather than a bright light, on Broadway

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Danielle Lirette
Looks like El Diablo is really gone for good. The restaurant and its sibling, Sketch, held a final bash on May 2, then closed after last call -- right before the city's most recent notice to vacate the First Avenue Hotel was set to take effect on May 3. Earlier today, a crew was out covering the windows of the building with plywood -- just as workers had done at Jesse Morreale's All-Inn, former home of Rockbar, last fall.

See also:
- El Diablo, Sketch want you to send them off in style -- tonight!
- First Avenue Hotel gets another notice to vacate
- Rockbar's last call was a wild costume party

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Danielle Lirette
What will become of the First Avenue Hotel? The company that owns it is in bankruptcy, and reportedly there are already other restaurateurs interested in the property -- but if they purchase the building, the city points out, they will have to make the same repairs that they'd demanded of Morreale.

Asked about the building's status, Morreale responds:


The restaurants and Morreale Hotels have taken steps necessary to secure the 101 Broadway property and mitigate against any further damage from vandalism and theft. Within the first 72 hours following the City of Denver's enforcement of the Orders to Vacate dated 5/3/13, the historic structure had already suffered numerous instances of vandalism and theft. Those losses were a direct and logical result of the City's apparent predetermined course to otherwise close a perfectly safe building and the popular restaurants in it. These steps are being taken to protect against future losses as much as possible, and for no other reason....
We doubt any prudent investor or developer would be interested paying Morreale Hotels directly only to inherit an ongoing dispute over the City's predetermined course since July 2012 to see 101 Broadway closed.

So far now, the boarded-up building -- which once was touted by the city as a sterling example of urban renewal -- will be a blight, rather than a bright light, on Broadway.`



Location Info

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Sketch Food & Wine - CLOSED

11 W. 1st Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

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23 comments
AtticusFinch
AtticusFinch

This neighborhood deserves a hip hotel.  Denver, in fact, deserves a hip hotel and this is the place to do it.  This neighborhood is changing.  ALL neighborhoods change and are in fact in constant flux.  Sometimes it's discernible and sometimes it happens slowly until you wake up one day, and.... there it is.  Putting a hotel or condos here is better than letting this building fill up again with crack junkies the way it was before the Morrealle activity.  'Like' Jesse or not, he made a positive impact that made the neighborhood better; even if he didn't seem to finish the effort.  Now, somebody can pick up where he left off and finish the job.  

I've been laughing at some of the folks that write this absurd, intangible 'keep Lodo out of Baker' garbage.  This renovation of the 1st Avenue hotel will undoubtedly spark more of that hipster|hippie dribble.  But the fact is, this neighborhood, long ago, was a thriving economic district -- then there were decades of dark times -- now there is economic life here again.  Nothing stays the same, EVER.  This building needs to be renovated and the only way to do that is with A LOT  of money.  Money doesn't invest without economic factors being right.  Looks like those factors are in place for this building to continue within the commercial resurgence of this district.  This will create more jobs for the complaining hipsters to gobble up (and they will certainly gobble them up).  Old men and the intentionally obtuse beg for things to stay the same. Jesse was part of a movement in this district that began around 2009.  A movement that began after a separate quality movement played out that lasted from 1999 - 2008.  Somebody will fix the building issues that he could not, and I'm looking forward to seeing it happen.  

On a slightly related note: a town without Sean Yontz cooking is a lesser town.  Somebody find that guy a fucking job so that the universe is right again.  


Jon_S
Jon_S

At least Mr. Morreale can now move on to something he's more suited for. Like Bangladeshi garment factory owner or something.

Andrew Schoedel
Andrew Schoedel

Overpriced bland food and a scumbag owner, good riddance. I hope whoever takes over the place does the right thing and utilizes the whole building rather than let it rot

Melissa Fitzgerald Ball
Melissa Fitzgerald Ball

This is an eyesore in such a wonderful neighborhood. So sad about this. I am hopeful someone great will snatch this property up soon.

sporobolus
sporobolus

that's not plywood, it's chipboard; just because it's boarded up and closed for a while doesn't make it blighted; check back next year for that

it's not easy to carry a big building like that on bar business alone, so someone with a better plan will come along, and do a proper job of it … or not; the property was flipped a couple of times before Morreale got it, which pumped the price up artificially; i have no idea how the loans are structured, but maybe this will be an opportunity to bring the price down to earth

i think it would be an ideal complement to the already overstuffed bar scene have a combination of retail, condos, offices and dining, with the rear building reclaimed for parking; perhaps reserve some space for a museum of boom and bust economics 


Scott R. Shriver
Scott R. Shriver

Noticed that this morning. Hopefully whatever the city wants and the owner wants can be worked out. Or new owner. Said it once, will say it again: meh on the food.

Fred Kaplan
Fred Kaplan

Can we see a photo in 12 hours of all the posters and graffiti that will bolster the comunities image!

Charlie Whiskey
Charlie Whiskey

Just hope it's not another spot like punch bowl social. Keep Lodo in Lodo.

Joey Buhrer
Joey Buhrer

Kinda makes you wonder why on Earth someone would open a restaurant with no intention whatsoever of making the legally necessary repairs to the property. El Diablo time and again blamed the City for "demanding" that they act like responsible members of the community. They assumed that once they established popularity, the City would never dare shut them down for failing to fulfill their responsibilities. El Diablo was never a good fit for the neighborhood anyway. It was just an attempt to cash in on a thriving neighborhood by helping turn it into a pale imitation of LoDo. Good riddance.

VinoVelo
VinoVelo

Jessie refused to do the work he promied the city and then kept blaming the city for the work he wouldnt do.  It's too bad because Sketch was the best wine bar in this town

crucialbee1
crucialbee1

I, for one, remain mystified by Jessie's strategy.  When he bought the hotel on Colfax, I thought: "Awesome!He'll go through & refurbish the hotel & make it a boutique kind of experience on Colfax."  But that was not the case.  Likewise with 1st & Bway.  Pockets of commerce in a giant, empty building. I think if Jessie took a more active, comprehensive stewardship of these properties he wouldn't have had the problems he has. 

davebarnes
davebarnes topcommenter

As a taxpayer, I see my $600K loan going down the toilet.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

@Todd Elsen 

What the hell does Denver have to do with this?

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