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RiNo growth and construction forcing small business to close doors to patrons

Posted at 9:10 PM, Jul 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-01 00:29:13-04

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DENVER -- Colorado is seeing peculiar growing pains. Thriving businesses are being choked off by the growth surrounding them. Denver7 spoke to the owners of Rebel, a restaurant and bar in RiNo that has become the victim of Our Colorado’s success.

When co-owner Dan Lasiy decided to open Rebel off Brighton Boulevard, he and his business partner, Bo Porytko, thought the location in the heart of RiNo was perfect.

"In the approach of the food, the service, we wanted a fun casual place to offer something completely different,” said Lasiy.

The restaurant’s retro-modern and eclectic style attracted regulars like Justin Foster.

"It was like one favorite because it's got that charm that a lot of the newer places don't have yet," said Foster.

Lasiy had high hopes for Brighton Boulevard's redevelopment; the year-and-a-half long project is adding bike lanes, improving roads and making the area pedestrian-friendly. He thought the changes would push his restaurant further along.

"More development, more foot traffic, more people. More housing, businesses – that kind of a thing," said Lasiy.

Instead, he says the construction actually slowed business to a trickle. The restaurant’s sales are just squeezing by, so after three years the doors are closing.

"Neighborhoods need to change, we understand that. Unfortunately, someone has to pay the price for that," said Lasiy.

He told Denver7 he's not blaming the city of Denver as he says he knows change is only inevitable. And whether you’re a native or a newcomer, he says it's obvious things are still in flux.

"I don't think that we have reached max capacity of people to support the amount of restaurants that are here. So yeah, it’s unfortunate but it kind of comes with the territory," said Trent Stanfield.

Lasiy and his partner took a chance and while it didn’t work out this time, they say they're taking a step back for now and waiting for the dust to settle.

"It’s been awesome. It’s been a great time, a fun ride. And we did what we wanted to do. We did it our way," said Lasiy.

Aug. 4 is the restaurant’s last day in business.