Council to vote in June on $50M Republic Plaza lease for Denver DA

Republic Plaza, at left in this photo, is Denver’s tallest building. (Courtesy of Guerilla Capturing)

A Denver City Council committee on Tuesday forwarded a proposed Republic Plaza lease deal for the Office of the Denver District Attorney, paving the way for a final vote next month.

Under the proposed terms, the city would spend $49.92 million to lease 73,924 square feet in Denver’s tallest building from June 1 to the end of 2036, documents state. That includes one year of free rent, a common incentive for significant long-term leases.

Council’s Finance and Governance Committee spent less than 10 minutes discussing the proposed deal on Tuesday.

Lisa Lumley, the city’s director of real estate, told committee members that the building’s ownership, New York-based Brookfield Properties and MetLife, will pay to build out the space, although the city will be responsible for technology elements. Some of the space is already built out.

The DA’s office currently works out of the city-owned Webb Municipal Building, at 201 W. Colfax Ave. Lumley estimated the office has about 50,000 square feet there currently, with some 250 individual offices for attorneys. She said attorneys are reluctant to share individual offices. 

Lumley said the DA’s office would likely move into Republic Plaza in January. The lease would allow the city to relinquish space it has been subleasing in the former Denver Post building, at 101 W. Colfax Ave.

Councilwoman Debbie Ortega questioned why the city didn’t just keep space in the Denver Post building, saying leasing private office space in order to vacate different private office space seemed akin to “musical chairs.”

Lumley said the Denver Post’s lease for the building at 101 W. Colfax Ave. expires in 2029, and “there’s no guarantee we can extend the Post sublease past when the Denver Post lease expires.” The newspaper itself stopped using space in the building years ago.

Councilwoman Robin Kniech questioned whether Republic Plaza has adequate security for the office, and Lumley said the landlord “has worked well with us to ensure that.”

The lease would be for floors 52 through 54, a source told BusinessDen. A city spokesman declined to identify the floors, citing safety concerns, and no council members asked for that information Tuesday. On its website, the DA includes a specific floor — the 8th — when it lists its address at the Webb building.

The full council is set to vote on the lease on June 5, a city official said.

The 56-story, 1.3-million-square-foot Republic Plaza is among the downtown towers most affected by the pandemic. The loan secured by the building has been in special servicing for months after the ownership group failed to pay the loan off when it matured late last year.

Republic Plaza, at left in this photo, is Denver’s tallest building. (Courtesy of Guerilla Capturing)

A Denver City Council committee on Tuesday forwarded a proposed Republic Plaza lease deal for the Office of the Denver District Attorney, paving the way for a final vote next month.

Under the proposed terms, the city would spend $49.92 million to lease 73,924 square feet in Denver’s tallest building from June 1 to the end of 2036, documents state. That includes one year of free rent, a common incentive for significant long-term leases.

Council’s Finance and Governance Committee spent less than 10 minutes discussing the proposed deal on Tuesday.

Lisa Lumley, the city’s director of real estate, told committee members that the building’s ownership, New York-based Brookfield Properties and MetLife, will pay to build out the space, although the city will be responsible for technology elements. Some of the space is already built out.

The DA’s office currently works out of the city-owned Webb Municipal Building, at 201 W. Colfax Ave. Lumley estimated the office has about 50,000 square feet there currently, with some 250 individual offices for attorneys. She said attorneys are reluctant to share individual offices. 

Lumley said the DA’s office would likely move into Republic Plaza in January. The lease would allow the city to relinquish space it has been subleasing in the former Denver Post building, at 101 W. Colfax Ave.

Councilwoman Debbie Ortega questioned why the city didn’t just keep space in the Denver Post building, saying leasing private office space in order to vacate different private office space seemed akin to “musical chairs.”

Lumley said the Denver Post’s lease for the building at 101 W. Colfax Ave. expires in 2029, and “there’s no guarantee we can extend the Post sublease past when the Denver Post lease expires.” The newspaper itself stopped using space in the building years ago.

Councilwoman Robin Kniech questioned whether Republic Plaza has adequate security for the office, and Lumley said the landlord “has worked well with us to ensure that.”

The lease would be for floors 52 through 54, a source told BusinessDen. A city spokesman declined to identify the floors, citing safety concerns, and no council members asked for that information Tuesday. On its website, the DA includes a specific floor — the 8th — when it lists its address at the Webb building.

The full council is set to vote on the lease on June 5, a city official said.

The 56-story, 1.3-million-square-foot Republic Plaza is among the downtown towers most affected by the pandemic. The loan secured by the building has been in special servicing for months after the ownership group failed to pay the loan off when it matured late last year.

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