Southwest end of Golden sees commercial growth

Food, retail and now a hotel now grace far end of Colfax

Posted 7/31/18

If Rob Tompkins could have his wish, Golden would go back to the way it was back in the 1970s. “I’m an old-school guy, so (any development) is always too much,” he said. “But as a business …

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Southwest end of Golden sees commercial growth

Food, retail and now a hotel now grace far end of Colfax

Posted

If Rob Tompkins could have his wish, Golden would go back to the way it was back in the 1970s.

“I’m an old-school guy, so (any development) is always too much,” he said. “But as a business owner, it’s wonderful.”

Tompkins opened Dirty Dogs Roadhouse, 17999 W. Colfax Ave., in Golden in October last year. But he has been a part of the Golden community since the 1970s and frequented the establishments that were formerly housed in the building where his classic biker bar and restaurant is today.

“It’s a great setting here in the foothills,” Tompkins said. “A destination spot for motorcyclists going on a ride, or coming back from a ride, in the mountains.”

Tompkins is not the only one who has recently recognized the opportunities that lie in the West Colfax corridor in Golden, from approximately its intersection with I-70 to its intersection with Heritage Road.

Avalanche Harley-Davidson, Colorado’s largest vendor of the brand’s motorcycles boasting more than 500 new and pre-owned models in stock at any time, opened in October last year.

Soon-to-come businesses include a hotel and restaurant, another dining establishment, a brewery and a coffee shop. And perhaps a bicycle rental shop, although that could not be confirmed by press time.

“We’re creating a really cool pocket in a slightly underserved area,” said Chris Medved, a longtime Colorado resident and chef with 18 years of experience in the Denver area.

Medved’s current role is executive chef and beverage manager for Origin Red Rocks and Nomad Taqueria and Beer Garden. Origin Red Rocks is a boutique hotel that will open on Aug. 10 at 18485 W. Colfax. Opening on the same day is the hotel’s in-house restaurant, Nomad Taqueria and Beer Garden.

The food scene in Golden is “really growing,” Medved said, pointing to a few locally-owned restaurants that recently opened in downtown Golden.

“I see a lot of new places popping up, bringing some great food and dining experiences to Golden,” he said. “I’m excited to be a part of it.”

According to local historian Rick Gardner, this stretch of West Colfax was built in 1937 and “developments began materializing” in the 1950s and `60s. The Sunmart gas station/convenience store, 18561 US-40, and Metro Denver Self Storage, 18180 W. Colfax Ave., are two businesses that people attribute to “being there a long time.”

Ten years ago, Wrigley’s Chicago Sports Bar & Grill, 18200 W. Colfax Ave., opened. It’s notable for hosting “150 Bears fans that are here for every game,” states its website.

A theme park at 18301 W. Colfax Ave. called Magic Mountain operated from 1957 to 1960. It reopened as Heritage Square in 1971. Heritage Square provided a draw to the corridor but in 2015 the property owner announced the square’s commercial portion would close. The alpine slide soon followed, and the square’s last surviving small business to close was Heritage Amusement Park, which ceased operations in June.

Origin Hotels is a new collection of hotels created by The Thrash Group, a real estate development company based in Mississippi. Origin Red Rocks is the company’s debut hotel.

“That stretch of Colfax has great visibility,” said Walker Thrash, a partner for Origin Hotels, along with his father Ike and brother Joe. “I’m impressed by the quality of developments on that strip alongside us.”

Thrash noted the visibility was an attractive component for developing the hotel there. But along with that, Golden attracts a “dynamic” and “experience-driven” traveler, Thrash said. These include outdoor enthusiasts and those wanting to experience the small-town charm of the foothills communities, he said.

In addition, the hotel formed a partnership with Red Rocks — a world-renowned amphitheater and 868 acres of parkland with trails, owned and operated by the City and County of Denver. It is about five miles away from Origin Red Rocks.

Origin Red Rocks “remarkably enough fulfills an unrealized vision for the area,” Gardner said, “as the Magic Mountain Hotel was first thought of clear back in 1958 as a companion for the theme park. But it was never built.”

With easy access to the mountains via I-70, nearby Apex Park and the Park and Ride’s Dinosaur Lots on U.S. Highway 40, it’s a unique and convenient spot for development, said Ashleigh Bilodeaux who grew up in Jeffco but now resides in San Francisco. Bilodeaux, along with family business partners — her brother Jason Bilodeaux and his wife Jessica of Golden — expects to open Over Yonder Brewing at 18455 W. Colfax Ave. in January.

“Colorado is booming with growth,” Bilodeaux said. “It’s a beautiful place so it makes sense why people want to live there.”

If all this development on this stretch of West Colfax included national chain businesses or big box retail, she said, perhaps the local community would have a different sentiment.

But, “most of the businesses in the development are locally owned,” Bilodeaux said. And they’re businesses that “both the local community and visitors can enjoy.”

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