Construction Watch

Sports Castle Will Host Holiday Flea: Life After Sports Authority

Once Denver’s biggest destination for sporting goods, the iconic Sports Castle building at 1000 Broadway will reopen its doors December 2 through December 4 to holiday shoppers looking for unique gifts at this year’s Holiday Flea.

Until last summer, the building housed a Sports Authority store, which closed along with about 140 other Sports Authority outlets across the country after the company filed for bankruptcy in March.

Designed in the early 1920s by famed architect Jules Jacques Benois Benedict, the building originally housed the Cullen-Thompson Motor Company dealership, which sold Chrysler, Plymouth and Dodge automobiles. Benedict, who also designed the Washington Park boathouse, modeled the Chrysler dealership after a French castle, complete with stone, parapets and a turret.

Gart Bros. bought the property in 1971 and dubbed it the “Sportscastle” — a name that changed over the years to “Sports Castle” — and filled the 100,000-square-foot space with skis, sneakers, tennis racquets, golf clubs and basketballs.

The store became a Denver institution known for SNIAGRAB (“Bargains” spelled backward), an annual sale for which the most die-hard customers camped out at the side of the store. The tradition continued after Gart merged with Sports Authority in 2003.

Though it’s still unclear what owner Gart Properties plans to do with the building, Mark Sidell, the company’s president, says the facade is likely to be preserved.

“We think it’s a special building,” Sidell says. “All of our thoughts around what ‘next’ might look like have included preserving the iconic facade of the Sports Castle.”

Project: Sports Authority
Address: 1000 Broadway
Developer: Gart Properties

This is the sixth in a series of stories about building projects around town. Read more about development in Denver on our Construction Watch page.
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