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DENVER-An historic building at the edge of the CBD that had been abandoned for 17 years is now the Bernard Valdez Hispanic Heritage Center. Although the 25,000-sf building at West Colfax Avenue and Speer Boulevard has its official opening July 26, 57% of the space already has been leased. Spaces from 200 sf to 7,000 sf are still available.

Alvarado Construction, which separately is part of the construction team building Invesco Field at Mile High, Denver’s new professional football stadium, is putting the finishing touches on the $3-million renovation.

Company president Linda Alvarado, says she is constructing the building at cost. Her family also donated $200,000 to it.

The city closed the building, which formerly housed the Denver district attorney’s office, in 1984 and it fell into disrepair. At one point, a developer tried to turn it into lofts, but City Councilwomen Debbie Ortega and Ramona Martinez convinced the city to sell it to the non-profit National Image Inc. for $410,000.

Martinez hoped to give the building to the advocacy group, but Mayor Wellington Webb insisted that it be sold. A grant from Coors covered the purchase cost. The building is co-owned by the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which has 1,300 members.

The late actor Raymond Burr filed some court room scenes from his “Perry Mason” television series in the building. Fentress Bradburn and Luis Acosta, both of Denver, designed the building.

Tenants in the building include National Image, Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Asian Chamber of Commerce, Habitat for Humanity International, National Society of Hispanic Genealogy, the Denver Business Development Group and the Colorado Business Council.

“I think this would provide spectacular space for a law office,” Alvarado tells GlobeSt.com.

And Sharon Vigil, president of the Hispanic Chamber, tells GlobeSt.com a tenant from the Terracentre building, which the city plans to condemn and raze, is talking to them about moving into the heritage center.

Terracentre is across Speer Boulevard from the center, named after a long-time Denver activist, Bernie Valdez, who died at age 85 in 1997.

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