If ever a real estate development was worthy of ribbon-cutting pomp and glitz, it was the July 26 opening of Denver’s renovated Union Station.
The $54 million effort to rebuild the historic train station was the capstone of decades of work to transform downtown Denver from a sterile, 8-to-5 officeplex to a vibrant, full-time community of residents, tourists, shoppers and workers.
But Union Station’s rebirth was a question mark in 2012 when developers Walter Isenberg of Sage Hospitality and Jeff Hermanson of Larimer Associates “fired,” in their words, an unnamed equity partner in the project.
Enter Chad McWhinney. Only a few hours after meeting with Isenberg and Hermanson and being invited to join the development team, McWhinney agreed to plug the $6 million hole left by the sudden departure of the financial partner.
McWhinney and his brother Troy made their names with northern Colorado development projects such as Centerra in Loveland and North Park in Broomfield.
Chad McWhinney moved to Denver three years ago. “When I moved to town and I saw what was going on at Union Station, I said too bad we missed it,” he said earlier this year. “I wished we could have been a part of it.”
Word of McWhinney’s interest in doing Denver development reached Isenberg and Hermanson, leading to his recruitment for the Union Station project and keeping it on track for the 2014 opening. The building houses the Crawford Hotel and 13 restaurants and retailers.
“The opportunity to work with such strong partners creating what will be downtown Denver’s signature development was too great an opportunity to pass up,” he said.
With Union Station now open and attracting big crowds, McWhinney is capitalizing on the momentum with a major project nearby.
Z Block is a mixed-use office, retail and hospitality development along Wazee Street between 18th and 19th streets, on the historic Windsor Dairy block in Lower Downtown. It will include 260,000 square feet of office space, a Sage Hospitality hotel, and ground-floor restaurants and retail.
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