With respect to the former-adult-movie-theater-turned-craft-distillery a block over, one storefront along South Broadway stands out as a glowing, hot-pink example of what the past half dozen years of change has brought to the historic Denver boulevard.
On the corner of Bayaud Avenue and Broadway, the second Denver location of Voodoo Doughnut has been boxing up its brand of oddball, primarily ring-shaped confections 24 hours a day since opening in June. Decorated in the Portland, Ore.-based company’s trademark pink color scheme and sporting an eye-catching neon sign, it’s perhaps the biggest store in Voodoo’s catalog to date, taking up two storefronts, including the corner spot, in the White Palace building and offering seating unlike its predecessor on Colfax Avenue.
“We searched around and we didn’t find a lot of areas for families to come to,” Voodoo Doughnut CEO Chris Schultz said of the stretch of South Broadway, the confluence of Denver’s Baker, Speer and Washington Park West neighborhoods between Sixth Avenue and Interstate 25. “We love being in Denver. We wanted to build a communal store for them, especially on South Broadway with all the growth that is going on there.”
The corner spot was previously occupied by Famous Pizza, a no-frills, New York-style pizza place that opened in 1974. “]
The arrival of Voodoo Doughnut and other, more corporate food and beverage operators like Arizona-based Postino WineCafe represents the latest phase in the evolution of a commercial strip that for decades was defined by dusty bookstores and funky, sometimes kinky boutiques.
It is two major residential projects two blocks away from each other — and the 340 apartments they are bringing — that promise to have the most lasting impact on the future of the street. Even business owners skeptical of other changes around the neighborhood see the bright side of more people calling South Broadway their home along with the multitude of shops, bars and restaurants already there.
“In the long term, it’s going to be good for the businesses down here,” Matt Megyesi, co-owner of Mutiny Information Cafe, a combination books, records, comics store, coffee shop and sometimes music venue at 2 S. Broadway, said of having a larger 24-hour population in the area. “In the summertime, 75% of my customers are people who come in here for the first time.”
The two projects are called the Quayle Building and Neon Local, and aside from their locations, they couldn’t be more different.
The Quayle project, at the northwest corner of Broadway and First Avenue, is a tax break-supported historic reuse effort that is now moving the first batch of renters into its 102 affordable studio and one-bedroom apartments. Formerly the First Avenue Hotel, a single-room-occupancy building that provided affordable housing for people after the turn of the century, it is now reserved for people making 60% of the area median income, or $39,000 per year for one person or $44,580 for a household of two, said David Zucker, CEO of Zocalo Community Development, the company that led the redevelopment.