Two more Denver restaurants – Dos Santos Taqueria de Mexico and White Pie Pizzeria – are coming to the 500 block of South Tejon Street in downtown Colorado Springs, where a building that once housed an old trolley car barn is being transformed into a restaurant and entertainment hub.
They’ll join Denver Biscuit Co., Fat Sully’s Pizza and the Atomic Cowboy, three other Mile High City dining and drinking concepts that already have announced they’re coming to the site, said Springs developer Joe Niebur, who heads a group that bought the former trolley car building for $4.1 million, El Paso County land records show.
At the same time, Niebur said, two Colorado Springs businessmen plan to bring a bakery and upscale bar to the same property. One business will leave the block, however. McCabe’s Tavern, which opened in the former trolley barn building in 2006, apparently will close; its lease expires at the end of January and a new tenant is negotiating for the space, he said.
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Ari Howard, co-owner and general manager of McCabe’s, at 520 S. Tejon St., could not be reached for comment.
Even as McCabe’s closes, the domino effect of the businesses descending on the block promises to infuse new life into downtown’s south end, where local real estate developers also plan a multistory apartment building and hotel on the 400 block of South Tejon and an apartment project on nearby South Cascade Avenue.
"It’s very significant," Sarah Humbargar, the Downtown Partnership’s vice president of development services, said of the projects.
In the past much of downtown’s investment has taken place closer to the area’s core – such as along Tejon, between Colorado Avenue and Boulder Street, she said. But as the core fills up, Humbargar said, "there’s not a lot retail spaces for new businesses to come into. That ends up creating market conditions where developers and investors come in and create new space. So that’s what you always hope for, that you can fill up vacancies so that you can see new space coming in."
According to Niebur:
– The Atomic Cowboy bar, Denver Biscuit Co. and Fat Sully’s Pizza are well underway at 528 S. Tejon St. in a building that was a trolley car barn in the 1930s.
"It’s three concepts in one space, serving breakfast and lunch (Denver Biscuit Co.), lunch and late night (Fat Sully’s) and the bar," he said. "We are hoping to be open before Memorial Day."
– The parking lot on the south side of the old trolley barn has been converted into patios, from which patrons will enter the new Dos Santos Taqueria de Mexico, specializing in tacos and tequila, and White Pie with its wood-fired pizza.
The Denver-based eateries are owned by brothers Jason and Kris Wallenta.
The south corner of that patio area will feature a new "ice cream concept," Niebur said.
– Even the alleyway between Tejon Street and Cascade Avenue is being redone.
Andres Schlesinger and business partner, Kim Outlaw, are moving Bella’s Bakery there from Bijou Street and Cascade.
The retail bakery will be in the alley at the back of the trolley barn.
"He’s tossing around ideas for names of his bakery, like Back Door Bakery," said Niebur, who owns the buildings behind the old trolley barn that face Cascade Avenue. "I want to activate the alleyway with lights as a place to enjoy. The landscaping is getting redone. There will be some parking space there, too."
– Schlesinger and Outlaw also own The Coffee Exchange, 526 S. Tejon in the same complex. They’ll be expanding the cafe and menu of Cuban dishes and other food.
– In addition, Niebur said, "The end cap of the building facing the patio is under contract to Joseph Campana. I believe he’s calling it Cork and Cask. An upscale bar."
Campana co-owns Bonny and Read Fresh Seafood. SuperNova, Stir Coffee & Cocktails and the Rabbit Hole Dinner and Drinks.
– Finally, two more spaces are available on the old barn’s north end, Niebur said.
"We’ve talked to several people who are interested. A liquor store, for instance."
Although a name for the booming complex hasn’t been chosen, The Trolley Market is one option he is considering.
"We’re still thinking about it," he said.