Pueblo’s Holmes Hardware Block to become Fuel & Iron
The historic building will be converted into a food hall, apartments and community space with an expected opening of Summer 2022
DENVER (May 24, 2021) – Denver-based commercial real estate developers Nathan Stern and Zach Cytryn closed on the historic Holmes Hardware building as part of a $15.3M project to revitalize downtown Pueblo bringing life to a block that has been vacant for more than 45 years.
“After working in Pueblo in the late 2000s for Colorado WINS, I knew there was something special with the city. The history, culture, diversity, architecture and people struck a chord with me,” explained Stern. “When Zach [Cytryn] and I were looking at cities in the Front Range to create a food hall, I knew exactly where I wanted to do it and the Holmes Building, with its historical significance, made it the perfect location.”
The redevelopment of the 33,000-square-foot building on Union Avenue will house Pueblo’s first-ever food hall on the first floor. Designed by Horvat Architects and Regular Architecture, the food hall will feature five restaurant vendors along with a coffee and ice cream shop hybrid run by Mike and Jessica Harktop, owners of Solar Roast Coffee and Nick’s Dairy Creme. At the center of the hall is an expansive bar that will be owned and operated by Fuel & Iron. Using a culinary incubator model, leases will be two-to-three years. This configuration allows restaurateurs to establish their concepts, portfolio and brand awareness before moving to a brick-and-mortar location within Pueblo.
The second and third floors of the building will be outfitted with 28 apartment units designated as affordable housing. According to Catherine Stroh, Executive Director of the Colorado Historical Foundation (CHF), “a historic building, such as Pueblo’s Holmes Hardware, can anchor a community, giving residents and visitors a sense of connection to the community’s roots.” The organization’s focus on restoring historic structures led them to fund part of the acquisition of the building through the CHF Revolving Loan Fund. For Stern and Cytryn, the reasons for incorporating housing with the food hall was to encourage young professionals to live, work, and play in downtown Pueblo.
Built in 1911 with a wood frame structure, the building was destroyed by a fire in 1915 and immediately rebuilt using a fireproof concrete structure. It was this feat of engineering that equipped the building to survive The Great Flood of 1921. The building was originally owned by George Holmes and his son John as the site of the Holmes Hardware Company, in partnership with Colorado’s three-term governor Alva Adams. In 1993, the building was sold in an auction to the Escobado family who remained owners until the closing this Friday. For many Puebloans, the activation of the building through the Fuel & Iron Project will be their first introduction to a building that has been a fixture of downtown but remained empty during their lifetimes.
Understanding the overall enthusiasm of Pueblo’s residents for the project, Stern and Cytryn incorporated Wefunder, an online-based equity crowdfunding platform, as an option to allow locals to become investors. Starting at $100 per share, anyone in Pueblo or the surrounding communities can be contributors to this million-dollar investment in their city.
To provide more details on Fuel & Iron, the development team is hosting a coffee break with the Pueblo Latino Chamber of Commerce on June 3 along with providing guided tours of the pre-construction building. On the cusp of the Flood Commemoration weekend, this event will feature local historian Kathie White, author of Landmarks and Legacies: A History of Pueblo’s Union Avenue Historic District, sharing details about the building and the flood along with coffee and pastries provided by Solar Roast. The event is free to attend, and all are welcome. To RSVP and save your spot, please visit https://bit.ly/pueblocoffeebreak. To stay up to date on the project’s progress and learn more visit www.fuelandironpueblo.com and follow Facebook and LinkedIn.