Uncooperative Family's Land Out of Glendale 180 Entertainment District Plan

The city of Glendale has revised its plan for an entertainment district on the banks of Cherry Creek to omit the land owned by a family that has repeatedly clashed with city leaders.

The new plan (on view below in its entirety) does not include 5.4 acres of land owned by the Kholghy family, who also own a business there called Authentic Persian and Oriental Rugs.

Despite that, many of the features of the proposed entertainment district, dubbed Glendale 180, remain unchanged. The plan still includes space for 25 bars and restaurants, a number of retail shops, a cinema, a hotel and a parking garage. It will still feature a "common consumption area" that will allow patrons to carry "to-go" cups of alcohol within the development.

The Kholghy family's 5.4 acres sits at the corner of Colorado Boulevard and Virginia Avenue, making it a high-profile piece of property. In a letter recently delivered to Glendale leaders, the family thanks the city for excluding its land from the new plans for Glendale 180. "But a cloud of condemnation still hangs over our heads," the family notes.

They're referring to the fact that the city designated their land "blighted" in 2013 in order to pave the way for urban renewal. The designation extended to an additional 37 acres along Cherry Creek, where city officials hoped to build a riverwalk entertainment district. By law, the blight designation allows the city's urban renewal authority to use eminent domain to acquire property for urban renewal purposes.

That possibility set off a heated debate earlier this year between the family and the city. After authorizing the potential use of eminent domain at a tense city council meeting in May, the city declared that it wouldn't actually use it in relation to the Kholghy property.

Instead, the city offered in July to buy the family's 5.4 acres for $11 million. The family rejected the offer. "This is our private property and we wish to run and operate our business, or develop our property the way we want," the family said in a statement in July, "and to do so, the city needs to remove the silly charge of blight."

The family explained further in its recent letter to city leaders: "Since July, we have met with a number of developers, who have stated that the blight designation must be lifted before we can begin serious work to redevelop our land. If you are not going to condemn our property, then the blight designation must be removed."

But Mike Gross, the project representative for Glendale 180, says the city can't simply remove the designation. It's up to the family to remedy it, he says. "The remedy for them to cure that blight is for them to come forward with their own redevelopment plan. We sincerely hope they do come forward with a redevelopment plan.... That’s the only way to cure the blight."

The revised plan for Glendale 180 is smaller by about 30,000 square feet, Gross says. It no longer includes underground parking, which Gross says was necessary when the footprint of the project was bigger but isn't needed anymore. The estimated cost has also decreased, from $175 million to $150 million. "The new project has the same vision," Gross says. "It's still an entertainment district."

View the new plan in its entirety below.

Glendale 180 Revised Site Plan

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar

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