“Sometimes you just gotta know when to pull the trigger. I’m a happy camper today,” says Chuck Rozanski, owner of Denver’s Mile High Comics. He should be: He just made a million bucks, free and clear.
That's because he sold his company headquarters for the past 29 years, a 22,000-square-foot building at 2151 West 56th Avenue. The legalized pot industry’s insatiable demand for warehouse and industrially-zoned spaces in the metro area has sent property prices screaming skyward, and Rozanski got an offer too good to refuse.
“This has turned out to an auspicious turn of events,” he says, as he goes through boxes of comics. “It is just pure dumb luck that we find ourselves in an environment where valuations of commercial properties have gone through the roof.”
Rozanski waited until the market hit his magic number. “We sell the building, pay the transactional costs and the capital gains taxes, and still have a million dollars,” he says. “With that kind of return, I will go through the grease of moving all that stuff."
And he has just the spot to move it: his 65,000 square-foot Mile High Comics megastore at 4600 Jason Street. He bought that building when the Great Recession pushed prices down, hanging on to it even though it seemed far too large for his needs at the time.
Rozanski started Mile High Comics in his parents' basement in 1969, when he was thirteen years old. Six years later, he opened his first retail store in Boulder. In 1977, he purchased the renowned Edgar Church collection of vintage comics, using its sale to collectors to finance his growing Denver comics kingdom.
He estimates that there are more than 6 million pieces in the 56th Avenue warehouse alone. “In 1986, it took me 45 tractor-trailers to get everything I had in there,” he says. “I am estimating that it will take around 400 to get it out.” Since he'll need to have everything moved by the end of March, Rozanski foresees steep discounts on some of his stock. He's planning to purge at least 50,000 items.
To accommodate the remainder, Rozanski is already making plans for Jason Street, today the biggest comic-book store on the planet, he says. The building has thirty-feet ceilings and costs $7,000 a month just to heat. “We can make vertical use of that space,” he says. “We are thinking about a mezzanine structure in there.”
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Once the move and remodeling is done, Rozanski wants to get back to one of his favorite parts of the job – shopping. With his reloaded wallet, he'll resume his practice of traveling the country it like a big-game hunter, bagging more collections to augment his vast back-issue inventory.
“I go out for three or four weeks at a time,” he says, “dig around, and send back a tractor-trailer filled with comics.”
In the meantime, everyone at the Mile High is going through boxes, figuring out what will go where. “We sort stuff for a living,” says Rozanski. “That’s what we do, basically. We sort comics for people.”
For more information about Mile High Comics, please visit milehighcomics.com.