Denver has seen the future of downtown development, and his name is Evan Makovsky.
Makovsky, a discreet yet long-standing Denver developer, first made waves last month when he announced plans to buy and revitalize most of a decrepit downtown block bordered by the 16th Street Mall, California, 15th and Welton streets. For years the block, desolate and unkempt, sat as a silent testament to the limits of downtown’s revitalization. The only downside to the happy announcement was that Makovsky’s deal did not include the dilapidated Fontius building on the corner of 16th and Welton – a ugly thorn in downtown Denver’s side since it became nearly vacant in 1988.
At the time of the news, Makovsky said he’d never talked to Fontius’ owner, Gary Cook, “but if I had the opportunity, I would love to buy (Fontius) and incorporate it” into his plans.
Now he’s doing just that.
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Yesterday, Makovsky made known that he had purchased the Fontius building from Cook and planned to rehabilitate the historic building. To Denver leaders and pundits, the news was icing on the cake – and immediately catapulted Makovsky to hometown celebrity. Over on www.Denverinfill.com, folks swooned over the development. “Makovsky has my vote if he ever decides to run for mayor,” wrote one commenter.
The Downtown Denver Partnership hopes to keep Evan-mania going. “He is a quiet guy, so we really want to do something for him to pay tribute to the immense amount of work he’s done to acquire this land,” says Sarah McClean, partnership spokesperson.
So don’t be surprised if you start seeing people wearing buttons declaring, “Evan: an urban hero.” The partnership is discussing putting such a slogan on buttons or posters and distributing them around town. “I think it’s something that we would distribute to create a buzz, but also create some recognition that the revitalization of this block is really due to one man,” says McClean. “We need to go out and sing his praises.”
To jump on the Evan bandwagon and find out where you can hopefully soon snag a nifty button, give the partnership a call at 303-534-6161. Tell them Evan’s your man. – Joel Warner