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DENVER-Chicago-based Next Realty, whose principals own more than $250 million in commercial real estate, made its entry into the Denver market by buying Cherry Creek Square, a retail center in the heart of Cherry Creek North, Denver’s premier retail center. Next paid about $400 per sf to Louise Vigoda and her family, the developer and the long-term owner of the center.

Tenants at the center at 3000 E. Third Ave. include Cook’s Mart, Paul Garcia’s salon, Vertu jewelry, Brix and B. Bear Express. David Worth of Next Realty tells GlobeSt.com that the company was introduced to Louise Vigoda by a friend. Execs at Next Realty asked if she would be interested in selling, but Vigoda said it wasn’t for sale, and that she had turned down other offers in the past. Vigoda, who has owned and developed properties in Cherry Creek North since the mid-1960s, changed her mind when Next “gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

Some tenants say they think Next will install underground parking beneath a surface parking lot, construct a building with high-end retail on the ground floor above the parking, and then add one or two floors of residential above the retail. Some real estate observers tell GlobeSt.com that the price Next paid for the property, it only makes sense to redevelop at least a portion of the site.

However, Worth says the company doesn’t have concrete plans for the property at this time, and he would prefer not to speculate on possibilities. One of the major tenants tells GlobeSt.com that his rent runs through 2013, so he expects to stay at the center for a while. And Paul Garcia, who owns his namesake salon, says that Next executives told him they want to meet with him as soon as possible to discuss renegotiating his lease for his gallery-style salon where he has been a tenant for the past 20 years. Garcia tells GlobeSt.com that his lease is up in June.

Vigoda was a pioneer developer in the Cherry Creek neighborhood at a time when few women were commercial real estate. She notes that she was totally “vertically integrated” with Cherry Creek Square. It took her five years to assemble all of the property, then she rezoned it from residential to commercial, hired an architect and a contractor to raze the existing duplexes on the property and replace it with stores.

Worth of Next Realty couldn’t be happier with Vigoda’s decision to sell. “This is just phenomenal real estate,” Worth tells GlobeSt.com. “We love Cherry Creek. It’s just a great neighborhood to walk around. We are thrilled to be part of the Cherry Creek neighborhood.”

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