Scoop: Denver's historic Aztlan Theatre is for sale
The owner of Denver's historic Aztlan Theatre on Santa Fe Drive is closing the curtain and putting up a "for sale" sign, Axios Denver has learned.
Why it matters: The landmark building, nestled near one of the city's oldest and predominantly Latino neighborhoods, has served as a hub for the Chicano community for decades.
- The sale of the theater signals the signature funk of Santa Fe could be fading as rapid development in the area raises property taxes and threatens to upend the neighborhood's character.
Details: Timeo Correa — a longtime activist in the Chicano movement, who bought the iconic spot in 1972 — has flirted with the idea of turning over the reins for years. But this time it's real, he says.
- He's "looking at $5 million" for it, a significant jump from the price point it sold for 51 years ago — a number Correa is keeping secret.
What they're saying: Between getting older and wrestling with rising taxes, "I can't run it anymore as I could before," Correa, who's now over 80, tells us.
- "It's hard to let it go. I think I've been dragging my feet the last 10 years," he says with a laugh.
Flashback: At its prime, the Aztlan was a hotspot for catching unique feature films and up-and-coming bands, many of which exploded in popularity, like Metallica and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rocky Mountain PBS reports.
- As an activist, Correa also transformed the theater into a haven for the Chicano community. One year, he invited Mexican-American actor Edward James Olmos to the Aztlan to speak with troubled local high school students about gang violence.
- "I did a lot of those events to help people out," Correa recalls.
The other side: In recent years, the theater has sat underused and in need of significant repairs. Some local leaders have called it an "eyesore."
- Meanwhile, developers chomping at the bit to buy the building — and land — for years have been frustrated by Correa's refusal to sell.
What's next: Correa hopes he can pass on the space to someone with cultural ties to the theater and a shared vision for restoring the ornate details that once drew so many Denverites through its doors.
- "I'd like to see some Chicanos or Mexicanos get in there and keep the entertainment center alive … so the big developers don't come in and raze it," he says.
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