Rocky road: McGregor Square, the Rockies and The Trade

Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post

The Player, a bronze statute outside of Coors Field is pictured in front of McGregor Square on Feb. 16, 2021 in Denver.

The stadium district

Like Coors Field, the land McGregor Square is being built on is owned by taxpayers. Specifically, it is managed by the

Colorado Rockies co-owner Dick Monfort’s McGregor Square development next door to Coors Field has dealt with COVID-19 delays, a lost shipping container and now angry Rockies fans.

The late-January trade of superstar third baseman and face of the franchise Nolan Arenado ratcheted up fan scrutiny on the owner’s involvement in the three-building project south of the ballpark.

After consecutive losing seasons, the club shipped Arenado and $50 million to the St. Louis Cardinals for left-handed pitcher Austin Gomber and a quartet of prospects this offseason. After being in the top half of Major League Baseball teams for payroll at the end of 2019 season, according to Sportrac, the Rockies are now projected to open the 2021 season in April with the 18th highest payroll, dropping below league average.

The move has sparked outcry from the team’s fanbase, including vows on social media to boycott home games in 2021 and accusations that Monfort is too financially and mentally invested in his real estate project to care about fielding a winning team.

At a news conference on Feb. 1, the day the deal was finalized, Monfort said the Rockies and McGregor Square are separate entities. He reiterated that point in an interview with The Denver Post earlier this month.

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“We have got a whole different set of ownership that owns McGregor Square, that is invested in McGregor Square,” Monfort said. “I think there are nine investors that are in McGregor Square, and I think four of them are involved with the Rockies: Charlie (Monfort, Dick’s brother) and I, and the other two are very minor owners in the team.”

“There is no tie,” he added. “Other than McGregor Square pays rents to the Rockies. And that rent goes to pay for upkeep for the stadium, which is very good for the team. We don’t have to go digging into our pockets to pay for paint and fix boilers and that stuff.”

McGregor Square takes a hit

The block-spanning megaproject just across 20th Street from Coors Field between Wazee Street and the Wynkoop Walkway that leads to the stadium, is bringing more than 650,000 square feet of new construction to Lower Downtown. Spread across three buildings and topping out at 13 stories, it includes a 176-room hotel, 103 high-priced condos, a Class-A office building and a bundle of premium retail space. It’s maybe the biggest development in LoDo since the baseball stadium 26 years ago.

McGregor Square was announced in June 2018 and has had to contend with a number of obstacles beyond any developer’s control. Call it the equivalent of a rain delay on Opening Day.

There’s the COVID-19 pandemic, which chilled the office real estate market, spurred unprecedented on-site safety protocols and caused other problems like delaying the delivery of cabinets from Italy. There was WeWork, the flexible office space company that was at first interested in leasing all the office space on the block, Monfort said, and instead ended up leasing none of it. There were business shutdowns and months of civil unrest downtown, which both …read more

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Source:: The Denver Post – Business

      

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