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Lincoln Market in Whittier neighborhood may close, raising concerns of a food desert in the area

Posted at 6:04 PM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 13:30:17-05

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DENVER -- A corner market in the Whittier neighborhood could be the latest victim of gentrification, and residents are concerned their community may become a food desert.

Lincoln Market has had many owners over the last 98 years but it has always been a convenient place to pick up odds and ends. It is located on 25th Avenue and Gilpin Street in Denver about a mile away from the closest grocery store.

“It’s a great spot and it’s so nice having access to a market that supports a wide range of products, but I don’t think their product matches the neighborhood anymore,” neighbor Peter Hughes said.

The building was sold in November, and the current owner of Lincoln Market told Denver7 the new property owner wants to triple the rent, which could force the current owners to close the market when their lease ends in February.

“When food deserts are created, it makes it tough on lower income people,” resident Bob Ragland said.

Ragland has lived across the street from the corner store for 48 years. He purchased his home when properties were going for under $20,000.

He said if the market closes, it will have the biggest effect on those who don't have the means to drive to Safeway.

“People who are the gentry in the neighborhood, they will not care because they will get in their BMW’s and roll down to 20th and Washington,” Ragland said.

AXIO Commercial Real Estate is managing the lease and has already posted a listing for the property, complete with a mock up photo of future renovations. They say grocery stores and markets are not profitable these days and it may be tough to fill the space with another market.

Whittier Café also leases space in the building and AXIO said they are honoring their current lease, a partial relief for long-time residents who feel big money and big development has taken over their once quiet street.

“I feel like it’s almost a hostile takeover,” Ragland said.