NWSS Center News: Iconic Livestock Exchange Building to be restored, revived as an ag-business hub

1916 BUILDING WAS THE LONGTIME HEART OF AGRICULTURE BUSINESS IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN WEST
NEW OWNERS PLAN TO RETURN IT TO THE FOREFRONT OF FOOD AND AG INNOVATION AT THE FUTURE NATIONAL WESTERN CENTER

New owners will restore and revive the historic Livestock Exchange Building at 4701 Marion St., located in the heart of the future National Western Center, with a tenant mix that carries forward its legacy of ag business. The rehabbed building will feature a mix of office and meeting spaces — with a focus on food and agriculture organizations whose work complements other happenings at the future National Western Center. Its newest occupant will be the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, which headquartered in the building for several decades in the mid- to late-1900s.

The east wing is the most visible and recognizable to Stock-Show-goers, and retains much of its original features and charm, inside and out

The Livestock Exchange Building is an icon of local agricultural heritage, and one of few remaining structures from the time the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods were the epicenter of the region’s livestock industry. Purpose-built beside the railroad, stockyards and nearby meatpacking plants, the building represented the administrative, financial, regulatory and social hub of the livestock trade for most of the 20th century.

The new owners will apply to designate the building a local landmark to ensure it will stand for another century and beyond.

The Denver-based partners — EXDO Development, Elevation Development Group, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, and the nonprofit National Western Center Authority (DBA National Western Center) — joined to purchase the building. The City and County of Denver selected the team through a competitive process that sought a purchaser to operate the property “in alignment with the objectives of the National Western Center master plan.” The purchase was finalized Nov. 30.

“The Livestock Exchange Building is an unparalleled opportunity to link our region’s agricultural heritage to its future innovation,” said Brad Buchanan, CEO of the National Western Center. “The owners’ intent is to bring the building back to its rightful place at the forefront of the region’s food industry.”

The Building’s Future
When complete, the building and what happens inside will have a meaningful connection to the rest of the future National Western Center, which is envisioned as a global destination for food and ag innovation, western heritage and culture, set to open in 2024. Although the Livestock Exchange Building will be privately owned in the middle of the largely publicly-owned National Western Center campus, its main floors will be accessible to the public and its future tenants will complement the center’s event venues and educational and research spaces.

The building will again house the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, which officed in the building for most of its history, including 41 contiguous years beginning in the early 1940s. It will also continue to serve as the headquarters for the National Western Center, which has officed there since May 2019.

“The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association has deep ties to the Livestock Exchange Building,” said Terry Fankhauser, executive vice president of the CCA. “For us, this is a homecoming.”

The building will continue to house the Denver Stockyard Saloon — the saloon that’s the current iteration of the structures’ string of restaurants, inns and watering holes that first served stockmen in 1898. The saloon’s current lease continues after the sale, and the partners hope to retain the saloon on-site indefinitely.

The owners are in talks with other businesses and nonprofits about leasing offices in the building.

The building in 1917. Courtesy Western Stock Show Association archives.

The Building’s History
Three connected wings comprise the building – built in 1898 (center), 1916 (east) and 1919 (west). The 1916 structure is the most visible and recognizable to Stock-Show-goers, and retains much of its original features and charm, inside and out. Floors, ceilings, staircases and wood trim are largely untouched. Wood, marble, granite and terrazzo finishes still grace the interior, and a second-story hall still features a chalkboard where livestock prices were listed.

The Denver Livestock Exchange was a nonprofit that from this building oversaw livestock sales at the stockyards from 1906 to 1962. The Stock Yards National Bank safes can still be found on the first floor. The longest tenant in the building was the Colorado Brand Inspection Board (1906 to 2015). Over time, ag-business uses and tenants left the building, and in recent years it has mainly been office space for a variety of private businesses. The City and County of Denver purchased the building in early 2019 from a private owner.

About the National Western Center

The National Western Center is a year-round, global destination for ag and food innovation, western heritage and culture that will open in Denver in 2024. We will convene the world at the National Western Center and at nationalwesterncenter.com to lead, inspire, create, educate and entertain in pursuit of global food solutions. Learn more at nationalwesterncenter.com.

About the Purchasers: LEB Alliance, LLC

EXDO Development. EXDO (“Extended Downtown”) Development is a multi-generation Denver firm that oversees the development and management of commercial and residential property throughout the Denver metropolitan area, including holdings in Denver’s historic Five Points neighborhood, Denver’s vibrant RiNo Art District, Denver’s 40th and Colorado Station and Adams County’s Federal Boulevard corridor. EXDO’s property holdings include multi-family residential, office, industrial, retail and mixed-use, and EXDO specializes in the re-activation of distressed or undervalued assets. Fifth-generation Denverite Andrew Feinstein, CEO and managing partner of EXDO, has a personal tie to the Livestock Exchange Building via his great grand-uncle Leon Hattenbach, who served as Colorado state senator and as a national leader among retail grocers and frequently conducted business in the building.

Elevation Development Group. Elevation Development Group is a real estate investment and development firm based in Denver. Elevation focuses on acquiring, developing and renovating commercial and residential properties in Denver sub-markets, including LoDo, Cherry Creek North, Capitol Hill, RiNo and the Highlands. Elevation’s investment philosophy emphasizes both the financial and design quality of each property.

The National Western Center Authority. The National Western Center Authority is a nonprofit responsible for ensuring that the day-to-day experience of the campus realizes the mission and vision of the National Western Center. The Authority manages everything from programming, to events, to curating the tenant mix, to operations and maintenance. The Authority is guided by a 13-member board of directors.

The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association. The purchase allows the opportunity for the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association to return its offices to the Livestock Exchange Building. The Cattlemen’s Association was headquartered in the building throughout the majority of its history, including 41 contiguous years beginning in the early 1940s. The association envisions its new offices hosting ag-related meetings for industry partners and serving as an educational center for the state’s beef industry.

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SOURCE

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.