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DENVER-The raze is on, so to speak. The city, in a turnaround, decided to go ahead with the condemnation of the 11-story, 105,000-sq-ft Terracentre building next to the Colorado Convention Center. The city, in a closed session, decided to buy the building and then tear it down to make way for a 5,000-seat auditorium, a crucial component of the planned $268-million expansion of the convention center.

The auditorium will allow the city to attract high-end medical and technology conventions that otherwise might bypass Denver.

The city looked at several other options, including putting the auditorium where an existing fire station is located, but decided it made the most sense to condemn Terracentre. About a month ago, the city said it would not condemn the building.

Matrix Capital Bank, with $1.6 billion in assets, recently paid $11 million for the building, where it plans to locate its headquarters. Bank chairman Mark Spencer says he is unhappy about the latest turn of events. He is in the process of moving employees and installing technology in the building.

Little more than a year ago, Denver-based ROC Properties paid $6.5 million for the building, which it sold to Matrix. Several city council members say they wish the city bought the building at that time, as the price tag now likely will be $14 million or more. In addition, the concrete building will likely be expensive to demolish.

Spencer says he wants to keep his headquarters in Colorado. He says he doesn’t want to be along the Southeast Suburban corridor, but likely will look either to the west toward Golden or along the Northwest corridor between Boulder and Denver. Such a move would be helpful for the Northwest corridor, which faces the largest glut of space in the Denver-area.

But he can’t buy another building until he has a deal with the city.

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