Abandoned Bank: Wachovia - Englewood, CO

With all of the CoronaMania going on outside, combined with essential work stress, I simply haven't gotten much writing in lately. None of the big projects that I've been working on have moved very far, so I'm going to quickly re-write something from a few years ago. Just so I can get a "new" story online.

The northeast corner of Belleview and Broadway used to feature one of my favorite of Englewood's abandoned buildings; The former Wachovia Bank. I'm sure it has gone through many mergers and name changes in it's day. I think I remember at least two other banks operating from this building before it became Wachovia. But for the sake of this story, it's Wachovia.

The 1970's architecture of the former Wachovia Bank was striking. It stood out to me as soon as I saw it, after moving to Englewood in 1996. I never had a reason to go inside. After all, banks aren’t exactly exciting places to hang out in, plus I’d already established a checking and savings account at a competitor, years earlier. Despite living about three blocks away from this bank, I don’t remember it closing. I remember it being open, with this logo hanging on that weird looking tower and peak out front.

A few years later, I was working on the big “Abandoned Englewood” project for Wasted Quarter. The former Wachovia was planned to be a featured property in the book.

The city of Englewood provided a valuable resource in writing this, from their website. Available for free download was the 2011 Englewood Retail Report. A lengthy, detailed outline of what the city was looking to do with redeveloping the underperforming properties in town. Covered by self set regions to focus on what redevelopment would mean to that specific area. The report featured much needed information on places I'd photographed and have covered here. Like Flood Middle School (Parts One and Two) and the Hilltop Motel. Or places like the London Motel, Englewood High School, Martin Plastics (The story of Martin Plastics is one of my favorites), Funtastic Fun and the former Masonic Temple, that will all appear on this site at some point in the future.

Englewood's official web site provided a huge help in writing Abandoned Englewood. Information gleaned from it's vast online archives helped build the framework of Abandoned Englewood. Although I think it was much easier to navigate 6 years ago than it is today. Not a fan of how things are categorized. Although the sheer amount of information available is great to read.

Coon Rapids should take some notes.

Under the Englewood retail report's thoughts on redeveloping the Brookridge Shopping Center (covering the area around the Belleview and Broadway intersection), it mentioned the owner of the Wachovia property wanting to lease the former bank building. He was not interested in a demolish and rebuild of the site.

Although the property bordering Wachovia to the north may end up changing all that...

The former Larry H. Miller Nissan

At the time of Englewood's 2011 retail report, Larry H. Miller Nissan was looking for a new and larger location. However, they had not yet committed to leaving their current Broadway address, and looked to expand on the block. With the owner not wanting to part with Wachovia's previous building quite yet, they couldn't find the space they wanted, in order to stay. The dealership opted to move south into Highlands Ranch (booooooooooo!), in late 2012.

Land that their car dealership sat on top of, was cited in the report as ideal for a grocery anchored mixed retail center. Demolition would be relatively low cost, as most of the land was used for vehicle inventory. With the relative abundance of land available, the Larry H. Miller Nissan property was a key piece of Brookridge's redevelopment. A strong retail magnet placed there, would in theory make the large chunk of land under a dying K-Mart across the street, all the more appealing.

Even in 2011, Englewood was openly rooting for K-Mart's demise...

Larry H. Miller's Nissan dealership was demolished in August, 2013. I took a bunch of cool pictures of that, so it'll likely be it's own story here at some point. Sprouts became the grocery store anchor sought for the site, building a new store at the south end of the vehicle lot. The main car dealership building was replaced by in-line retail. Including Five Guys Burgers, Jersey Mike’s, Great Clips and a Mattress Firm.

But Wachovia sat empty and unloved.

On the same day (August 24, 2013) I started photographing the Nissan demolition, I walked up to the corner of Broadway and Belleview, to take some shots of the former Wachovia bank as well...

The bright sun gave some decent natural light, for contrast against the dark colored exterior walls. But I still prefer cloudy days for pictures of abandoned buildings. (Sun conveys bright and happy. Cloudy equals grey and sad. Which is the look you want for vacant urban decay.) Since I wasn't going to wait for ideal conditions, I walked around the bank, snapping up shots from all angles. Including a few semi-decent interior shots through the uncovered windows. 

Odd layout of the building placed the drive up window directly next to the parking lot entrance. So close that a car waiting at the window would partially block walk up access. Some really poor design going on there.

A heavily laminated paper sign on the door basically informs the customers that Wells Fargo absorbed Wachovia banks, and is calling the shots. The fine print implies that this location closed in 2009. After Wells Fargo bought the troubled Wachovia brand in 2009, there would be no need to keep this one open. But I wonder if the friendly service also moved south, or if south just made their own friendly service have to be more extra super friendly in order to cover the additional bank's work of customers?

All right Wells Fargo (sitting just 5 blocks south, at Broadway and Powers), you had better be the friendliest of the friendly who ever friendlied! Then again, it doesn't really matter. I use a completely different bank!

Bit too much reflection while trying to get a lobby shot from the west facing doors.

A cloudy day would have really helped here...

And that countertop needs a dusting.

I'd hope the surrounding windows would be bullet resistant, I wouldn't want to be flipping through piles of cash in front of the main door, without a great deal of protection between the public. With windows on three sides, this is just asking for trouble.

That microphone is kind of cute though... 

Walking around to the south side of the building, facing Belleview Avenue.

Wachovia's old sign tower. Complete with label scar and covered up ATM hole.

Looking directly into the front lobby. Could almost see this bank still being open for business. 

A shot taken from the same point, looking left. The teller windows would be in the back, with a small space in front. Likely for a desk or two of bank employees assigned to explain why accounts were overdrawn, to the confused elderly living at the Golden Nugget down the block.

And how do we feel about the Golden Nugget, Rob?

Wait a minute! I gotta zoom in on that lobby...

Zooming in to notice ball point pens still chained to both desks...

And a Del Taco cup sitting on the counter... Half drank! 

Now I really want Del Taco...

Which is behind me, across the street.

Apparently, it's also winter over there...

You can get an excellent view of the Wachovia Bank from the Del Taco drive thru! 

Where it's still Summer!

Del Taco opened their Englewood location shortly after I moved back to Colorado, in 2005. While it's close proximity to my then-current address at Greenwood Point was not a deciding factor in moving there, it sure didn't hurt either. I can grab a Del Beef burrito or a sack full of tacos from the drive thru, and be back home before my anxiety levels get too high! For a time, I nicknamed the Belleview Del Taco: "My Kitchen."

Much to my dismay, there are no Del Taco restaurants in Minnesota. 

What I wouldn't give for a Del Beef burrito right about now...

This paper sign on the west facing front door was more subtle in mentioning the merger. Wells Fargo is only casually listed under the Wachovia logo. Wells Fargo doesn't even get to show off it's own logo.

But, the friendly service!

The interior takes an uglier turn as you look to the right of the lobby. Faux woodgrain pressed board counter and desktops, on one side. The other side features dull off-white sheetrock and blue carpet on the wall?! You mean it looked like this in 2009, back when it was still open? Wow... And those light fixtures are absolutely horrifying.

I only took a terrible picture of what appeared to be the entrance to a conference room.

Should have tried harder. I really can't tell what's going on in there.

One third of the building had been subleased as a State Farm Insurance office. 

It was decorated with less character from the bank side. Continuing the off-white walls, and the stand-out-like-a-sore-thumb light fixtures above. At least they kept the ugly blue carpet on the floor, where it belongs. Jake left his book cart behind.

The north side of the building was once accessible from the Broadway entrance, behind the bank. An abrupt right turn placed you in a narrow alley, leading up to the only drive-up window. This had been blocked by a single yellow pole in the middle of the driveway for years, even while the bank was still open. Access from Broadway would have been next to impossible given the traffic levels of it's later years. Likely causing a ton of accidents or worse.

From the windows on the north side, I was able to get pictures of the electrical room, with roof access point.

And the men's toilet! 

Which still had a half roll of paper left behind. That could've been useful in today's crisis! Although it looks like that really cheap one-ply commercial grade nonsense. I can't remember what the hand written sign on the door said. Pretty sure it a passive/aggressive memo about cleaning up after yourself.

After trying several angles and shots of the backside of the bank counters and teller desks, this was the best I could come up with, given light and reflections. Still cool, but I couldn't get anything to focus correctly. The full windows allowed you to see the side of banks that are usually blocked from public view. Not the case at Wachovia!

Blocked off drive-up driveway shot to finish my initial photo tour. After that, I left to go do something else. Would not be shocked at all to find out I picked up Del Taco and went home. Either way, I always kept an eye on Wachovia, since it was so close.

I could see if there was any new activity as I went on any Del Taco run. Like this one, on December 15th, 2013...

There wasn't...

Or on my way to take pictures of other places around Denver. Like I did a year later, on X-Mess morning, 2014.

Sometimes, I would find buildings around town with a similar architecture. 

Like this Veterinary clinic on Sheridan Ave in Denver.

But on September 5th, 2015 (mere days after Abandoned Englewood was printed), as I was picking up a Del Beef burrito, something new had shown up at Wachovia...

Still vacant, but now officially endangered. Williams Jewelers has purchased the land, and is proposing a two level retail and office building on the site. According to a brief statement in the weekly Englewood city council updates, they have no plans to begin work on the site until 2016.

After the new building is completed, Williams will close it's current location in the Brookridge Shopping Center, to move across Broadway. It wasn't very long ago that this store used to be a Quizno's Subs. Before closing in the mid-2000's, it was managed by my old roommate's ex-girlfriend.

On the bright side, the strange looking building gets to stay for a little while longer, but it will never house another tenant as it stands.

I better get some more pictures!

On Halloween morning (2015), I went back to Wachovia. Getting a better picture of that dangerous drive-up window. Just too bad it was again sunny... Behind Wachovia, Sprouts had been completed a few months earlier. The new and nearby grocery store and giant sammich options became quite popular in our apartment. There is more out there than tacos!

The blinds have been pulled and the microphone moved... Who would do such a thing?

Probably the same person that has filled the bank with garbage!

Landscaping is looking a tad ragged...

And the Wachovia label scar has been covered by the Williams banner.

Looks like someone lost their condo, and needed a place to stash their belongings in a hurry. I guess if you have access to an abandoned bank, that would serve well in a pinch. Cheaper than the mini-storage behind Brookridge.

Southeast entrance.

I do like that mannequin...

I guess the State Farm Insurance office isn't good enough to store your crap in? 

Wonder if it's Jake's stuff? Thought I saw some khaki's...

North side of Wachovia. Easier to photograph without Larry H. Miller's wooden fence in the way.

Plumbing and men's room...

Women's room, blocked by opened doors.

Electrical with roof access...

Was that stupid dying plant really worth saving?

Or the broken Grandfather Clock?

Better shot than I got two years earlier...

Better camera too...

I can even get an acceptable picture of those safes at the far end of the teller zone.

So this would be the last shot of poorly planned Wachovia drive thru.

Goodbye Wachovia...

Without knowing it at the time, this drive-by shot of Wachovia on January 24th, 2016, would be the last one I'd take of it while still intact.

On May 18th, 2016, Laura came home from whatever and told me the bank on the corner had been demolished. I was getting ready for work and would be leaving soon, meaning some extra time to walk around the Broadway/Belleview intersection was added to look at the destruction. Unfortunately when I got there, it was almost gone.

A break in traffic allowed my first real look from the McDonald's (which was demolished not long after we moved away from Colorado) parking lot. The intersection is a lot different now...

APEX works fast with it's Alpine shovel...

Little of the front windows remained when I showed up.

Like a good neighbor, State Farm is gone!

Spilled out all over the sidewalk...

And the rest of Wachovia's front entrance was about to join it.

That dangerous drive-up window now sits under a pile of Wachovia.

I wonder if they got all of their condo junk out in time?

Not IN the Del Taco Drive Thru, but standing in front of the Del Taco Drive Thru.

Three days later, I let the shovels continue their scraping and showed up to see what of interest was left of Wachovia.

A satisfied Alpine Demolition shovel rests on the floor of State Farm. 

Sans khaki's...

I love this picture!

Hmmm... They left the big sign monument -which looks extra dumb without the bank attached- and front doors.

Were they too tough for the Alpine shovel?

At least it's still handicapped accessible. Provided they're able to hop the fence.

Any Grandfather Clocks under there?


Not much of the front entrance left...

I'm kind of sad to see the place gone. It was an ugly constant during my time in Englewood. I'd see it on my way to work and my way home. I'd stare at it while waiting to make that familiar left turn off Broadway, onto Belleview, on my way to take photos of the abandoned Columbine Square Shopping Center (including this Burger King) or to buy groceries at the Federal King Soopers.

Soon I'd have to look at an ugly new jewelry store instead of an ugly old bank.

Betting the wooden structure came down pretty quick. From the looks of the piles left behind, there wasn't a whole lot of recyclable steel. Just a lot of broken wood shards and beams.

And what I'm pretty sure was a leftover safe!

Once hidden away inside, now in a prime parking space, "safely" behind the security fence.

Drive up window, still looking rather dangerous...

Inside the front doors!

Through walls that are no longer here!

At my feet, discarded Axe Body Spray in deodorant form sits among a Del taco wrapper, Ruffles bag and several hundred cigarette butts. One or two may have been mine...

Pulling back, to show the security fenced in border that I followed while taking these pictures.

A Sprouts shopping cart lays wounded in the old Wachovia overflow parking lot. Sprouts opening, brought some diversity to the abandoned parking lot. Now it wouldn't only be K-Mart losing carts to the Wachovia void. Of course K-Mart itself would close about a year after these pictures were taken.

Sad that I'm not still around to document the Englewood K-Mart's expected transformation into segmented smaller retail stores. And a fitness center...

By March 27, 2017, Williams Jewelers had removed the Wachovia tower, and placed a skirt over the security fence. Inside, prep work was being done on the stripped earth. So it could be ready to grow into a merchant of overpriced shiny rocks.

That a bunch of impoverished 8 year olds mined for pennies a day. 

Enjoy your greedy death jewels!

Photo from June 10th, 2017. 

The cement and steel building would be much sturdier than what Wachovia had to work with.

And likely not as ugly once finished...

On November 1st, 2017, Williams Jewelers finally opened their new store.

It looks nice enough.

Leaving the old Williams Jewelers (and Quizno's) store to sit vacant. I guess that from looking at their old space, they probably did need more of it. And it's not like there was anything keeping that Wachovia property going as it was...

But I was sad to see it go.

Ugly or not, it had character!


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