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DENVER-The city council has decided to pay $2 million to condemn the popular Ilios Greek restaurant so the building can be torn down for the expansion of the Denver Art Museum. A parking garage that will combine affordable housing and retail will replace the building at 1201 Broadway.

The council gave initial approval for the condemnation despite protests from the owner of the restaurant, D Diamond. Diamond has operated the restaurant for the past four years and holds a 15-year lease on the property. The city, however, negotiated with the Landies family, which owns the land.

Mile High Properties, which plans on developing the new mixed-use complex for the city, is offering Diamond two years of free rent in the new facility. After that, she’d pay the market rate of $35 per sf.

Diamond fears that will drive her into bankruptcy. She now pays $11 per sf, or $4,400 per month. She says at $35 per sf, her rent would jump to $15,000 a month.

Some council members questioned why Diamond signed a 15-year lease when it was common knowledge that the city was considering taking over that property since the late 1980s.

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