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ENGLEWOOD, CO-Denver-based Gart Sports, the nation’s second-largest sporting goods chain, for the first time is moving its headquarters from Denver to a suburb. Gart, which recently paid $99 million for Houston-based Oshman’s Sporting Goods chain, leased the 92,000-sf HomeBase building here. HomeBase announced earlier in the year that it was closing the store.

Gart is leasing the property from the Etkin Johnson Group, which has owned the building for about the past three years. The 15-year lease is valued at $12 million. Craig Strazza of Atlantic Partners in Denver represented.

“We purchased properties in this area knowing that development efforts by the city of Englewood would make it a very popular destination,” says Dick Rudolph of the Etkin Johnson Group.

Doug Morton, president of Gart, says the building’s central location and ease of access impress him. It’s next to a light rail stop, making it easy to reach from southwest suburbs and access is good from the north as well, he says.

The building is adjacent to a $100-million public-private partnership that redeveloped the former Cinderella City regional mall into a mixed-use development that includes a Home Depot, apartments, offices and city hall.

Morton says there’s a lack of parking in its current headquarters, spread between several buildings. Most of the space it now leases are in the Golden Triangle area south of the central business district. And current office space will become even more cramped this fall, when he brings some of Oshman’s headquarters staff into the Denver area.

Later this year, Office Depot, currently in a building owned by Etkin Johnson, will be moving into the Cinderella City redevelopment, vacating 120,000 sf. The Etkin Johnson Group is now preparing to lease an additional 120,000 sf next to the new Gart Sports headquarters.

“Potential users of our space have been eager to learn more about the options we have available, and we’re looking forward to exploring various possibilities for the Office Depot space,” Rudolph says.

The Etkin Johnson Group has operated in Denver since 1981 and owns more than 5 million sf of commercial properties in the metropolitan area.

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