First Avenue Hotel, Formerly Home to El Diablo and Sketch, Goes Up for Auction

One of Denver's most desirable restaurant properties is about to go on the auction block. A sign is up at 101 Broadway — the old First Avenue Hotel that was the former home of El Diablo — stating that a bankruptcy auction will be held in December to sell the entire building.

It wasn't so long ago that El Diablo, the last Mexican eatery from restaurateur Jesse Morreale (who also had his hands in Tambien, Mezcal, Rock Bar and others), was earning praise as Denver's best new bar — not to mention its top-notch Mexican cuisine. But his project, which included Sketch just around the corner, started going off the rails when the city slapped a notice to vacate on the building in July 2012, claiming that the entire building was unsafe. El Diablo and Sketch were closed for three weeks before a Board of Appeals hearing allowed them to re-open. But the problems were only pushed aside temporarily; the city posted another notice on the building again in April 2013. Morreale held one last bash in May that year and then boarded up the whole building. 

Since then, the case has been in bankruptcy court and now the building is up for auction. The notice states that the auction will take place at 10 a.m. at the United States Bankruptcy Court at 721 19th Street. Inquiries can be directed to real estate agent Jim Macguire at 303-888-4644. Macguire notes that the building is expected to command a minimum of $4 million and that the top bidder will need to close in cash within ten days of the sale.

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