By: Molly Armbrister
Part of the team that just finished the renovation of Denver’s Union Station will now put its mark on downtown Fort Collins with a long-sought-after hotel located at 354 Walnut St.
Denver-based Sage Hospitality and Loveland-based McWHINNEY will partner to build a 165-room, 85,000-square-foot hotel on a 2-acre parcel owned by Fort Collins-based Bohemian Cos., part of the philanthropic efforts of medical-device heiress Pat Stryker.
A new downtown hotel has been the subject of conversation in Fort Collins for years, with Bohemian rumored as the potential developer since its purchase of the parcel at 354 Walnut. A meeting space and ballroom will also be included in the hotel, though the specific size of these elements is still unclear.
“We’re looking forward to providing a great space for visitors and locals alike,” said Chad McWhinney, CEO and co-founder of McWHINNEY. “Fort Collins’ vibrant culture will be apparent in everything from architecture to food offerings.”
The project is slated to begin construction in 2015 after the demolition of an existing building on the site that formerly housed Armadillo Mexican restaurant. The hotel is scheduled for completion in 2017.
Sage and McWHINNEY are also working together on Z Block, a mixed-use project in downtown Denver that will add a hotel, retail and office space along Wazee Street between 18th and 19th streets. Work on Z Block should break ground in the first quarter of 2015, McWhinney said.
Sage and McWHINNEY struck a balance while working together on Union Station, McWhinney said. “One of the things I consider is ‘Is everyone in the rowboat rowing the same direction?'” McWhinney said. After the completion of Union Station, the two companies realized that they were aligned in their project goals and struck up a working relationship. Both companies try to build projects that will serve as long-term benefits for the community, McWhinney said. His company, which he co-founded with his brother Troy, has a reputation in northern Colorado for holding onto assets for long periods of time.
When developing a long-term asset, McWhinney said, decisions are made differently. Rather than determining what the best route is to get a project done, the developer must consider the best route for long-term sustainability for the project.
Since Sage specializes in the hospitality sector of commercial real estate, its expertise has made it a valuable partner for McWHINNEY, whose more recent projects include retail developments like Loveland’s Centerra shopping center and apartments like the Arbour Commons and Arbour Square in Westminster.
“Partnering with McWHINNEY on another signature project is a special experience for Sage Hospitality,” said Walter Isenberg, president and CEO of Sage Hospitality. “We have established an exceptional professional relationship that has brought some of Colorado’s signature developments to life.”
“We are a Colorado-based company and we’re looking to expand in markets that we know well and can be successful in,” Isenberg said. “Fort Collins is an exciting place right now and we are proud to have partners in this development that are from Northern Colorado like McWHINNEY. We share similar goals and values within our companies and that kind of alignment is invaluable.”