Peter Marczyk and his wife, Barbara Macfarlane, nine years ago provided a catalyst for the Uptown neighborhood by opening Marczyk
Fine Foods. About a week ago, three miles away, with little fanfare, they held “soft opening” of Marcyzk Fine Foods II at 5100 E. Colfax Avenue, at the intersection of Colfax and Fairfax Street. The official grand opening for their second gourmet grocer is Aug. 6
It’s back-to-the-future for the new store, as originally their building on Colfax was a Safeway.
“Everything old is new again,” Marcyzk said. “Back in the mid-1930s, the country was kind of crawling out of the Depression. Even though it was a Safeway, there was no such thing as a super market. It was a neighborhood store and people walked to it, or they took the trolley, which provided easy access along Colfax. People shopped where they live. That is an axiom that has not changed.”
The new store will have 6,500 square feet and includes the 875-square-foot Wine and Spirits store. All told, including the purchase and renovation of the building, they have invested “north of $2 million into it,” Marcyzk said.
Marcyzk said the new store could have the same kind of impact on East Colfax that the first one had on the Uptown area.
“There has been such a change in Uptown since we opened,” he said. “I know fully well it was not just because of us. But we were a small part of making it a more attractive neighborhood and making it a more livable place. We can’t take all of the credit. But we were another thread in the urban fabric. You add a thread here and add another thread there, and a bunch of threads come together.”
Such an intricate, eclectic urban tapestry already is being woven along East Colfax, he said.
“I’ve now lived in Denver for 21 years and I’ve always been intrigued by Colfax,” Marczyk said. “Denver doesn’t really have a Main Street, per se, but Colfax is as close to Denver’s Main Street as anything. I think the perception with a lot of people is that Colfax is a little seedy. I don’t think I’ll offend anyone by saying that. I really think it is eclectic, and a little bit scrappy in places. I think we can create some gravity an urban neighborhood core by serving as part of the urban infrastructure, as a kind of anchor.”
And the area is more upscale than many may imagine.
“There’s about $150 million in discretionary income among residents within one mile of Colfax and Quebec Street,” said Hilarie Portell, executive director of the FAX Partnership, an economic development organization for East Colfax.
“Marczyk’s, Larimer Associates and others have discovered that East Colfax offers strong neighborhood demographics, huge drive-by traffic, easy access and reasonably priced real estate,” Portell added.
Facts about the Fax
She noted that East Colfax Avenue, known as the ‘Fax’ to neighbors, is close to some of Denver’s most desirable neighborhoods—Park Hill, Belleview/Hale, Congress Park, City Park, Mayfair, Montclair, Stapleton and Lowry.
Its proximity to such neighborhoods is one of the drawing cards for Marczyk.
“You know, we anticipate some cannonibilization with our existing store,” Marczyk said. “However, people shop where they live. Denver is like most cities, a bunch of neighborhoods. We do not serve the neighborhoods of Park Hill and Mayfair particularly well from our Uptown store, but with this location, we think we can change that.”
Portell noted that stretch of Colfax, between Eudora and Fairfax streets, known as the Elm District, already is home to several popular spots including:
- The Cork House Wine Restaurant, 4900 E. Colfax.
- Jeff Asian Kitchen and Sushi Bar, 5007 E. Colfax.
- The Elm, 5001 E. Colfax.
- Africana Café, 5091 E. Colfax.
- Offbeat Geez Louise Coffee House, 4924 E. Colfax.
Meanwhile, Portell said that Colfax Shops LLC is marketing a “prime corner” to tenants at Colax and Elm Street “who might round out the mix.” And Larimer Associates is marketing a 6,500 square-foot building a few blocks away near Colorado Boulevard, which until recently had been anchored by a Blockbusters. Under construction to the east, near Poplar Street, is Phoenix on the FAX, a $10.5 million mixed-use building. Developed by Minneapolis-based Sherman Associates, the five-story, 75,000 square foot building will include 50 units of affordable rental housing, a restaurant and other live/work or office spaces. All told, more than $15 million worth of improvement either have been completed, are underway or on the drawing board on the three-mile long Colfax corridor.
“Retail and restaurant spine”
Pat McHenry, a partner at Larimer Associate, welcomes the new gourmet grocer.
“Marczyk’s new market will be a terrific addition to the FAX district,” McHenry said. “Pete understands that the surrounding neighborhoods’ value quality and support local businesses.These neighborhoods are currently underserved and Colfax is becoming the retail and restaurant spine for this district.”
Portell said the neighborhood is emerging as a top destination in Denver.
“On East Colfax, you can find a good glass of wine, dinner out, take a yoga class, stop by the hardware store or get your car repaired, said Portell. “It’s the Main Street for East Denver, but with a little attitude. You can find what you’re looking for and support locally owned businesses at the same time.”
The FAX Partnership connects people, place and new investment to revitalize Colfax Avenue from Colorado Boulevard to Yosemite Street. The Partnership implements a variety of programs, including business attraction and retention, district marketing, redevelopment, crime prevention and neighborhood outreach. For more information, please visit this FAX Partnership link or Facebook at “The FAX Partnership.”
To see homes for sale in nearby neighborhoods, please visit these COhomefinder.com links:
Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com