Located on the 3500 block of East Colfax Avenue, the former Galaxie Auto Body is being transformed. The former automotive repair shop, built in the 1920s, will be the new home to several new establishments. Cerebral Brewing, a neighborhood brewery, boasts some of the brainiest libations in town. The Humble Pie Store will offer handmade pies from scratch, and Chow Down will offer a casual dining and drinking experience. These three local businesses will serve the community with an outdoor patio, new sidewalks, and a tree lawn, bringing new life back to this block of East Colfax.
The Galaxie Building creator and Denver Native, Sean Mandel, is excited about what adaptive reuse projects like this can bring to the Bluebird District and surrounding neighborhoods. Adaptive reuse breaths new life into historic building, while sustainability recycling components of those buildings to maintain historic character. Being able to keep the “old school Colfax marquee”, the project pays homage to its roots on the country’s longest highway.
Historic buildings have their own set of construction challenges, especially a former automotive repair shop. The site required extensive below the ground work to get it ready to be a vibrant food and drink hub. The Colfax Mainstreet Coalition, whose goal is to help foster redevelopment of Colorado’s original main street by funding environmental site assessments, “was critical in being able to rehab the building,” says Mandel.
This project will trigger more than adding three businesses to the block, it will also enhance the public realm. Along with new sidewalks and shade trees, seven new bike racks will be added, amount in front of the Galaxie Building and in several other locations along Colfax Avenue. Further, Mandel says, “I’m excited about having a Bluebird Business Improvement District and resources to serve the common areas that we all rely on. We can start filling in the gap between the street and the storefront”.
What’s on the horizon for Mandel? A new project in the former Green Buddies property. Local architect Laura Koehler is on board as well The Colfax Mainstreet Coalition to rehab this former gas station and activate the site.