Colt & Gray's expansion hit an engineering bump, but is back on track

It's been six months since Nelson Perkins, chef/owner of Colt & Gray, inked a deal on the space -- and basement -- next door. When he landed the extra room, he announced that in addition to expanding the dining room of his gastropub on Platte Street, he'd be opening a cocktail-focused bar named St. Ellie, as well as launching Viande Colorado Charcuterie, which would provide cured meats for his restaurants and wholesale prosciutto, guanciale and sausage for Denver at large.

At the time, Perkins hoped to break ground on the digs -- cubicle-lined office spaces -- in December, and finish construction by June. But now it's April, and not a single hammer has been swung. What's going on?

"The best way to put it is 'engineering problems,'" says Perkins. "There's about eight feet of space in that basement where we have an option of running a hood, and that's really what it came down to -- figuring out how to run the hood without disrupting the neighbors."

Perkins would have liked to have handled these construction obstacles before he leased the space, but says he didn't have that luxury. "There was another interested party, and we had to grab it," he explains. "We weren't in a huge rush, but the bank was in a rush to get rid of it, and they did for a great price."

In any case, he adds, the project is now back on track: "We have taken care of the problems. The engineers should have the plans back to us by this week, and then we'll get the plans to the city and get construction started. We're getting to that point where we want to get it going."

The June opening goal is definitely history. But once plans are approved, Perkins says, the build-out won't be that complicated, since "it's much less elaborate than upstairs." If all goes smoothly, he hopes to finish both the addition and downstairs bar by the end of summer, giving Denver a cozy new space to celebrate the holiday season.

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