The tale of two Denver Kmarts

This is the tale of two Kmarts, and the reason one has been snatched up by developers, while the other is an eyesore.

For everything we hear about Denver's quick-moving real estate market, there are some prominent properties that sit, and sit, seemingly immune from developers' desires.

You need look no further than the Tale of Two Kmarts to see that.

The Kmart on South Broadway near Alameda closed last year – it was the last Kmart to close in Denver.

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Fencing just recently went up around the store, as plans for a makeover are underway. Developers will add a 343-unit apartment building in Kmart's place - complete with roof decks, courtyards and a fitness center.

Renderings of apartments replacing Kmart along South Broadway, at Alameda.

“It’s a great location, closer to downtown and its right on the light rail,” said Kendra Black, Denver City Councilwoman in District 4.

What Kmart lot wouldn't be snatched up immediately by developers, you ask?

The one over at Evans and Monaco, which has been closed since 2012. The letters are torn off the facade. A worn plasma screen TV sits not far from the entrance, trash is scattered throughout the parking lot, and graffiti has been left on the exterior walls. It's not uncommon to see homeless people camped out on the property, either.

Kmart at Evans and Monaco.

Black has been pushing for a transformation that would benefit the community. It’s proven to be a difficult task.

Kmart, now owned by Sears, signed a 99-year lease on the lot in the 60s. Sears is still paying the lease, even though it stopped doing business at the location.

“It [the closed store] doesn't have any community benefit, but the property owners in New York don’t see it that way,” Black said.

Several years ago, Black met with the property owners in New York, along with Mayor Hancock and Jeff Steinberg, Denver's director of real estate, to discuss redevelopment.

"They [property owners] feel like the property is fine and they don't have a problem with it sitting there vacant because they continue to be paid, and they aren't part of this community. so they don't care that it's not adding any community benefit,” said Black.

Black’s trip to New York has brought her back to the drawing board.

She recently asked the Denver Urban Redevelopment Authority to conduct a blight study that may help move the property owners to sell.

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And so continues the tale of Kmarts two – one shows signs of new life, and the other begs for something new.