Dillon Center, development plans for sale
DILLON – Six months after Dillon officials approved the addition of 40 residential units and a parking garage to the Dillon Center, the building’s owners are putting the center up for sale.
The owners are asking $4.5 million for the building and $1 million for the approved development plans (and the additional land it would require) said Abbas Rajabi, the managing partner of David Cyrus Associates – the company that owns the building.
The company has decided to sell the Dillon Center because it is in negotiations to purchase a larger commercial building in Denver, Rajabi said, and he plans to focus his energies on the new acquisition, which is significantly larger than the Dillon building.
Rajabi and the company’s real estate broker, John Becker, are confident the building and development plans will sell, despite the slower economy.
“If you look at any (comparable) mountain sales, this building is a good bargain,” Becker said. The Dillon Center is selling for $70 per square foot, he said, where other recent commercial buildings – including the Boardwalk and the Crossroads Center in Frisco – sold for more than $100 per square foot.
“I feel pretty optimistic about getting it promoted to developers across the Front Range and along the East Coast – people who vacation in Summit County,” he said. “You’re seeing a flight of capital from the stock market to more tangible investments like real estate.”
David Cyrus Associates has owned the Dillon Center since 1998, Rajabi said. In that time, the company has made improvements to the building.
“This was a very ugly box,” Rajabi said, adding that his company has modified the once institutional look to one that better matches the mountain feel – with logs railings, entranceways and murals by local artists. “Now it looks like a presentable building. (But) in no way am I happy with the way it looks now. I’m not completely done. I’m not satisfied.”
Rajabi hopes to find a buyer with a vision similar to his. He said he worked several years on the proposed addition, which the town approved in May.
Having residential units in the town’s core would add vitality to the center and the town’s economy, he said.
The Dillon Center has had a bit of a boom-or-bust history since it opened several decades ago, and some have questioned whether Rajabi’s company could be making much of a profit, since several tenant spaces have been – and continue to be – vacant. But Rajabi said the building has been a good investment.
“The building always had really no more than 10 percent vacancy,” he said. “For the economy we’re in, that’s not bad at all.”
Rajabi did confirm, however, that Trans-Lux theaters will not renew its lease when it ends, which will increase the building’s vacancies. But the new bowling alley – Lakeside Bowling – is doing “wonderfully well,” he said, and other tenants include a Montessori school, High Mountain Billiards, Little Flower Shop and Dillon Pizza Company.
“The tenants that are in there are good right now,” said Eddie O’Brien, owner of Prudential O’Brien Associates. “The location is good, being in the heart of Dillon.”
O’Brien said he believes it when Rajabi said the building has been profitable and agrees there is a good chance it will sell.
“We’ve sold three pieces of commercial property (in Summit County) so far this year,” he said.
But longtime Dillon resident Peter Schutz is a little more skeptical.
According to Schutz, the building was vacant for a long time after it was constructed – until the 1980s, when the bowling alley and movie theaters opened. By the time Dillon put in a new Main Street in front of the building about 10 years ago, the building and its businesses were doing “reasonably” well.
“I think it was doing reasonably well up until a couple of years ago,” he said.
Schutz attributes the recent difficulties to the increased number of large commercial buildings in Summit County.
In Dillon, the Dillon Ridge shopping center opened several years ago with City Market, Garts Sports, the Skyline Cinema and other restaurants and retail shops.
“I think there’s just too much commercial space in Summit County right now – there’s too much vacant space, and there’s an awful lot of competition,” he said. “I think the difficulty now, if one of the businesses (moves) out or goes under, it’s just difficult to find a replacement tenant.”
Andy Papa, owner and Chief Executive Officer of Lakeside Bowling, said he’s excited about the potential sale of the Dillon Center.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “I think it’s the best thing that could happen for the center.”
It would be even better, if someone follows through with Rajabi’s development vision, Papa said. Though, “I’d rather see a hotel up there.”
If the building does not sell, Rajabi’s company will proceed with its development plans.
Lu Snyder can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or firstname.lastname@example.org
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