While the University of Colorado has announced its intention to sell the CU South Denver facility, officials say the university remains committed to serving individuals and businesses in the thriving south metro Denver area.
After going through several due diligence assessments, CU leadership determined the facility is not financially viable, said Todd Saliman, senior vice president for strategy, government relations and CFO.
“The CU South Denver teams have worked hard to explore new options, creative solutions and have pursued operational efficiencies and consolidations at the facility,” Saliman said. “Unfortunately, the subsidies the university has provided, and would have to continue to provide, are unsustainable.”
CU will soon issue a request for proposal (RFP) to secure a broker for the property. With guidance from the Office of the State Architect’s Real Estate Programs, the RFP will engage the state-contracted real estate brokerage firm JLL, asking for the qualifications of its proposed broker team, experience in the south metro area, valuation of the property, pricing recommendations, marketing plan, optimal timing for bringing the property to market and identification of potential buyers. The process has begun, with selection anticipated in October. The uniqueness of the property and of its potential buyers and users makes projecting sale terms and date difficult.
The nearly 300 students who are in the four on-site academic programs delivered at the facility will be able to continue there through August 2021. Programs are considering alternatives to allow completion beyond then.
Even before the pandemic, businesses in the area increasingly were moving to training and programming at their own sites rather than send employees to CU South Denver. Additionally, the facility’s 150,000-square-foot space configuration has proven to be challenging for higher education academic use.
CU has an ongoing commitment to the south metro area, which is home to prominent health care facilities, several Fortune 500 companies, and some of Colorado’s largest businesses, including Arrow Electronics, Charles Schwab, Kiewit Construction and others. The university looks forward to building on the relationships with area businesses and community partners.
The facility was gifted to CU in 2015 by ReMax Real Estate founders Dave and Gail Liniger. Before the donation, the site was The Wildlife Experience, a museum and event space the Linigers built featuring wildlife exhibits, art and a 3-D movie theater.
After CU took ownership, in addition to classrooms and meeting space, the facility became home to startup operations for the Office of Digital Education (ODE), which provides recruitment, marketing, student success and other support services to online programs across the CU system. Over the next year, ODE employees who need office space will relocate to 1800 Grant as part of a broader revamp of space utilization in the building driven by increased remote working as a result of the pandemic.