Posted: November 01, 2011
State of the state: Real estate
Battery621 Home for Eclectic Group of Commercial TenantsBy Eric Peterson
At the corner of 6th Avenue and Kalamath Street in Denver sat a forlorn-looking former lighting store, abandoned for the better part of a decade. Enter Mike Arzt and Frank Phillips, partners in The Public Works, a cutting-edge snowsports-oriented creative agency based in Evergreen, and Jason and Ellen Winkler of Wink Inc., a snowsports-oriented video production company in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
A year and oodles of elbow grease later, that formerly forlorn building was reborn in fall 2010 as Battery621, a slickly renovated structure that's undoubtedly one of the hippest office spaces on the Front Range. "It's the Santa Fe Art District meets corporate commercial art," Arzt says. "It's a nice juxtaposition of fine art and creative companies."
The Wink-Public Works pairing reinvented the 30,000-square-foot building as a headquarters with a wide range of like-minded tenants, including snowsports manufacturers like Spyder - the Boulder outerwear maker has a 9,300-square-foot showroom here - and Icelantic Skis, as well as a number of creative companies with one foot in the action-sports world. Singular desks are also available to individuals.
Just a year after opening, the vacancy rate is just about zero, Arzt says. "As we were filling the last spaces, we were interviewing tenants more than the other way around," he says. "There's a great energy."
Jason Winkler says Wink Inc. was looking to expand to Denver when Arzt and Phillips approached them with the concept of a multitenant building, and he couldn't be happier with the results. "The opportunity in Denver has been amazing," he says. "It's given us access to clients as well as partners. It's exceeded expectations about tenfold - personally and professionally."
Collaboration has become the norm between Battery621's tenants, in part thanks to a community kitchen and a quasi-borderless layout. "We don't have too many walls," Arzt says. "If I stop to talk to somebody for five minutes, something usually comes out of it."
Icelantic founder Ben Anderson says he committed to Battery621 in early 2010 and moved into the space last November. "It's been great," he says of the first year. "It's been good for us to get out of our little bubble and get inspired by other creative people."
Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com