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DENVER-The Rifkin family, which is best known as having built a fortune in the cable TV business, has quietly shifted their effort to real estate development in recent years. Monroe Rifkin was a cable TV pioneer who founded American Television & Communications in 1972, which grew into one of the nation’s largest cable TV companies before selling it to Time Inc. in 1978. He stayed on as CEO for several years, but completely left the cable TV business five years ago.

Since then, his sons Bruce and Stuart, have been silent partners on developments. They worked with the well-known Gart family in Denver on the WaterTower lofts near Coors Field and are in the process of converting a ski-in, ski-out hotel at the base of Crested Butte Mountain into condominiums. They also developed a townhome development near the Country Club neighborhood in Kansas City, MO, with Denver developer Don MacKenzie.

Their most recent development is their most ambitious. The brothers are in the process of razing the old Cherry Creek Medical Building at 333 S. Monroe St., constructed in 1962, into a luxury, $60-million condo tower called Monroe Pointe. It will open in July 2007. The 75-unit Monroe Pointe development will have units priced from the $400,000s to more than $2 million in the six-story building. Units will range in size from 860 sf to 5,500 sf.

“We purchased the medical building in 1999; and seven years later, we are finally doing it,” Bruce Rifkin tells GlobeSt.com. “We bought it when it was 75% full. The building was so obsolete that we knew we could not re-lease the space to pay for the needed TIs.”

So their strategy became to let the existing leases run out and decide how to best redevelop the site. “We did an exhaustive analysis,” Rifkin tells GlobeSt.com. “We looked at hotel, offices and apartments.”

They rejected the hotel because they knew the J.W. Marriott was going to be constructed on First Avenue, across from the Taubman-owned shopping mall. “We knew that was a better location for a hotel, because it is in the center of everything,” Rifkin tells GlobeSt.com. An office use required too much parking and they weren’t sure if the demand was there for luxury apartments.

They were approached by numerous national and local condo developers who were willing to pay them a premium for their land, Rifkin says. “They all told us this was their No. 1 choice in Denver for a condo development,” he says. The Rifkins are so confident, in fact, that they are beginning construction of Monroe Pointe with no pre-sales.

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