“We’re supposed to close on the Hotel/Motel Liquidators
building in the next 30 to 45 days,” he said. “Soon thereafter,
we’ll start demolition on the property.”
Russell already owns the bulk of the block bordered by N.W. 23rd
and 24th streets, and Walker and Dewey avenues. He plans
to eventually develop the block – including a former gas station
building and a shuttered nightclub – but his first project is the
retail building he plans to call The Rise.
Other property owners and developers along N.W. 23rd
Street have complained about the property’s appearance as they have
invested in new businesses and eateries nearby. Russell said the
building holds great potential for a new use, and new tenants after
the hotel/motel liquidation store is gone.
“This property is a big transition point on 23rd
Street,” he said. “We feel like it will go down if this property
isn’t renovated and it’s just refilled with tenants.”
His first challenge is finding the right tenants to stabilize the
property. He is talking with local, regional and national retailers,
but did not disclose any names.
“We’re talking to a lot of tenants,” he said. “We’re
interested in having the right tenant mix.”
Within 30 days of closing on the property, Russell plans to start
working on the building. Land Run will handle leasing and serve as
general contractor. The schedule calls for renovations to occur this
fall and winter. The first tenants could move in as soon as spring
2013. After that he will begin to look at options for the rest of the
“There’s potential for more development on that block,” he
His plan calls for a new face on the building, storefront retail
along N.W. 23rd Street, and opening up the north side for
additional shops and eateries. The architect for The Rise is TAP
Architecture. Anthony McDermid, principal at TAP, said the building
is well worn, but not a candidate for the wrecking ball.
“No one has spent any money on it for a long time,” he said.
“You see deferred maintenance, and a tired property, but
structurally, it’s in good shape.”
Using historic photos of the 1939 building, McDermid designed
awnings on it that resemble those of one-time tenant Cullimore
Furniture. The corner piece also will include large windows that wrap
around the building while keeping much of the exterior intact.
“The intention is to reuse as much of the existing building as
possible,” he said.
Russell said he was drawn to the project based on its potential
for retail, and to help revitalize N.W. 23rd Street.
“The area is a bit eclectic near the state Capitol, OCU,
Heritage Hills, Mesta Park, Jefferson Park and the Paseo,” he said.
“We felt like if we do this project, it keeps uptown 23rd
on the rise.”