Sports Authority closing iconic Sports Castle

Posted at 7:41 PM, Feb 17, 2016

Sports Authority is closing three Colorado stores, including its flagship store at the iconic Sports Castle in the Golden Triangle area.

A source close to the sporting goods company's financials confirmed with Denver7 that 140 stores will be closing nationwide over the next three months.

The S.A. Elite store at the Twenty Ninth Street Mall in Boulder will close, as will the Greenwood Village Sports Authority at 9000 East Peakview Avenue.

Citing a Bloomberg news article, the Denver Post reported that Sports Authority is on the brink of bankruptcy. The source would not confirm a report out of Dallas that all 25 stores in Texas will close.

The Sports Castle at 10th Avenue and Broadway was built in 1926 and designed by Jules Jacques Benois Benedict, who also designed the Washington Park Boating Pavilion in 1913. The castle was home to a Chrysler dealership and Gart Sports, before Sports Authority merged with Gart.

Despite the history of the building, it is not currently designated a Denver landmark.

"People are always surprised to find out that there's a lot of really great, classic, historic buildings in Denver that are not landmarked," said Annie Levinsky, the executive director of Historic Denver. "Less than four percent of our city is a landmark or in a landmark district."

According to the city's planning and development office, the Sports Castle could be designated a landmark at the request of the owner or if three Denver residents submit an application and pay the $875 fee. The ultimate landmark designation would need to be approved by Denver City Council.

"We see it happen all over lower downtown; old warehouses are now lofts, sometimes old residential buildings become commercial. So for a building to survive for years and years, it's going to change uses, and that's pretty normal. We hope that this building would just be another candidate for that kind of use," said Levinsky.

Becoming a landmark could give the owner some incentives for redeveloping the inside. It would also create roadblocks for getting rid of the castle façade or demolishing the building.

Mark Sidell, president of Gart Properties, which owns the Sports Castle and the adjacent parking structure where the SNIAGRAB sale normally happens, told Denver7 that he recognizes it's a special property, but would not reveal what the future plans hold for the building.

Despite the pending closures of three out of every 10 Sports Authority stores, the company's website lists more than 2,500 open jobs for stores across the nation. It also shows eight distribution jobs and 25 corporate jobs.

Sports Authority still has the naming rights to Mile High Stadium. As Denver7 first reported, marketing experts believe the deal is still beneficial for the company. Since it took over naming rights from Invesco in 2011, Sports Authority has paid about $16 million. It owes $19 million more through August 2020. The company made its 2015 payment of $3.4 million. The next payment is due in August and is about $3.6 million.

The Denver assessor lists the market value of the Sports Castle and the adjacent parking structure at $3.6 million.


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