Demolishing Larry H. Miller Nissan - Englewood, CO
Feeling a little more homesick than usual lately.
It’s also been a few months since I wrote any stories about my time in Englewood. That means it's time for a look at my stash of photos and chose one for a new Englewood story. This time the winner being, Larry H. Miller Nissan! Well, the demolition of Larry H. Miller Nissan, to be more accurate. I took very few pictures of the property while it was intact. But a whole bunch of it being removed...
In 2013, I started following the monthly city council's digital newsletters (posted to the City of Englewood's web site) a lot closer than I had in the past. They became my go-to source as I was looking for information about Flood Middle School's demolition. (One of the first Englewood stories I posted. Parts One and Two can be found there.) When the shovels started tearing it apart, I started showing up every few days to document the destruction.
Larry H. Miller Nissan (shown intact here, in July 2013) would become the next Englewood demolition photo project, after Flood. Although no where near as big of a deal as Flood was.
But before we get to the car dealership, I have to take a quick detour to talk about something else in Englewood current events. A few weeks ago, I found out that Bolluck Mortuary had been demolished.
Bolluck Mortuary wasn't even on my radar until I started photographing the near total demolition of Cherry Hills Medical Plaza, which sat a block to the south of the mortuary. Bolluck was still open for business in 2014 and 2015, when I took a few pictures of it. Since the building was in use and not abandoned, I wasn't all that interested in it at the time. Other than it being a really nice looking building.
Later I read that Bolluck Mortuary closed in 2019, when it merged with another local house of death, and moved operations west to Lakewood. This former mortuary building sat empty for a couple of years and waited for the inevitable. Now this would have been the point where I'd have been more interesting in taking pictures of it. And I would have...
But I couldn’t take those pictures I would have wanted because I was living nearly 1000 miles away.
Feeding Englewood’s seemingly desperate need for more ugly ass apartment buildings, this place has to go.
Only a few blocks to the west of Bolluck, Bills Auto Service closed not too long after I took this picture in May, 2015. The building was listed for sale with this description: "Automotive Sales and Repair building for sale. You can' t beat this location. This service shop has been in business for over 30 years. Built in 1952." I took a few pictures of the building after Bill’s closed and before it was dramatically remodeled. In covering this building for WQ72: Abandoned Englewood, I wrote: “Hopefully the new owner keeps the building. It should stay.”
When I left Englewood in 2018, work on Bills Auto Service had started, but I couldn’t tell what they were doing, or what this building would become.
Then the Googles showed me this...
Well, Bills Auto Service is still under there somewhere...
I’ll give them credit, the new owners kept the old building and added their own new parts to it. Today it’s known as Grow + Gather, along with The Feedery. A restaurant and garden combination where much of the food sold is grown in-house. Cool enough concept.
Nice to see Bills Auto Service still kind of exists. Unlike the rest of the neighborhood, which has replaced all the near 100 year old houses with more of those modern “pile of rectangles” condo/apartment architecture. That’s all that gets built anymore. I hate this style of building, and won’t shed a tear when these characterless structures meet their eventual demise. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
After I looked up the building on the Googles, I spent a few minutes taking the Googles Street View around the area. Most of the route I followed was shot in August 2021, so it was a big update on what I used to be familiar with. Almost weepy nostalgic for me... So much has changed in even the 3+ years since I left, it was hard to recognize a great deal of it.
Hey look! It's another of my famous less than 5 minute amateur Photoshopped panoramic pictures!
A few more blocks west of Bills Auto Service, used to be this small row of shops at 501 East Hampden. These were demolished a few months before I left Colorado. The land was scheduled to become even yet more buildings for the always expanding Swedish Hospital. The Googles Street View didn’t show much of anything going on here except construction, so I don’t know what this block looks like today. Unless it’s still under construction.
25 years ago, there were some downtrodden apartments on the south side of Hampden, across from Swedish. The old brick buildings looked like death traps, and the people living inside looked as if they were indeed trapped, if not already dead. Pizza deliveries here were never fun. You couldn't find parking and the feeling of getting stabbed always loomed. Shortly after the years began with a 2, the old rickety apartments were demolished in favor of parking lots and a five level ramp for Swedish. This was the last surviving building from that era.
These shops, at the corner of Hampden and Pennsylvania, were last home to The Copper Pot restaurant, Bobbi's Happy Gardens flower shop, Taste of Thailand and a Panini restaurant that I don't remember the name of, on the on end. They all closed between early 2014 and 2015.
And in another tragic Englewood gentrification move...
This beautiful house at Huron & Ithaca was also recently demolished in favor of -you guessed it- more expensive condo/apartments inside a modern pile of rectangles. Which sucks a whole lot. I kept hoping to win the lottery, so I could have bought this house.
I won’t even get into the Hilltop Motel becoming the Hilltop Mixed Use Retail/Residential building...
Okay, enough of this detour, let’s drive south on Broadway, towards my old apartment. A route I took daily for years, and still miss almost every day.
Driving south towards Belleview on Broadway. Greenwood Point, where Laura and I lived, was a couple of blocks south of Belleview, so this view of Broadway was a daily sight for years. For most of those years (like in June, 2013), Larry H. Miller Nissan sat on the right side of the street.
But I don’t think I even noticed when the new and used car inventory was moved off-site.
Or when they painted their “We’ve Moved” declaration on the front windows.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
A demolition fence has been set up around the former Larry H. Miller Nissan. Meaning this building will soon be permanently removed from the landscape.
On September 12, 2011, the City of Englewood released their Retail Analysis and Site Development Final Report. The 59 pages were available for free download off Englewood's web site. It quickly became a valued resource as I was writing about the buildings around town being demolished. Commissioned in December 2010, the report breaks Englewood down into specific retail zones, with comments and suggestions on each of their future potential. According to the report, the Brookridge Shopping Center Area (surrounding the Broadway and Belleview intersection), had some of the greatest potential for retail growth in the city.
Sure do like Englewood’s old logo much better...
The KMart building was a key piece of the Brookridge Shopping Center redevelopment. I even felt their wording in the KMart portion of the report seemed almost mean-spirited: "If the site at the southwest corner of Broadway and Belleview becomes vacant, the simplest way to encourage redevelopment would be to work with the owner to recruit a stronger large-format retailer, such as Target or Wal-Mart, and to make additional supporting retail available in a modern format." To be fair, several of those structures around KMart, do need some updating. Other options on the table included sectioning the large building into smaller units, or demolishing and starting over.
But yeah, KMart, hurry up and close so we can replace you with Wal-Mart!
In reality, the long time Englewood KMart slowly faded away for years, and finally closed for good in November 2017.
Englewood eventually chose the option of splitting the KMart building into multiple storefronts. That hadn't yet begun when we moved away from Colorado, but I've seen plans and pictures, and it's not too bad. At least it didn't became a stronger WalMarts...
Wachovia Bank sat directly south of Larry H. Miller Nissan, and was demolished in 2017. A new Williams Jewelers was built on this site shortly after. Not adding anything more about that now. I wrote about it a couple years ago, and that's enough and you can read that here.
So let's walk just beyond Wachovia's old drive through lane and finally check out Larry H. Miller Nissan!
According to Englewood's 2011 Retail Analysis and Site Development Report, the former car dealership's land was cited as a property ideal for a grocery anchored mixed retail center. With a relatively low cost demolition (as most of the land was used as a parking lot), and the relative abundance of land available, Larry H. Miller Nissan was a key piece of Brookridge's redevelopment.
Saturday, August 24, 2013.
On my way to work this afternoon, I found that demolition had begun.
Guess I'll be a little late today!
I parked on Acoma and walked around the block, taking pictures from as many angles as I could get. This was the parking lot closest to the building, with cement pads placed among the landscaping. Featured vehicles used to sit on these. Sometimes with angled lifts under them.
Turning around to look (through the chain link fence) over the rest of the car lot, with the row of garages in back.
From this angle, the showroom looks intact.
In the past week, a banner announcing the new Advance Auto Parts store would be coming to the site. Seemed kind of ironic that place selling fully intact cars, was being torn to pieces in favor of a store that sells car parts.
At the time of Englewood's 2011 retail report, Larry H. Miller Nissan was looking for a new and larger location. They had not yet committed to leaving their current address, through the report was anticipating their departure. After not finding anything suitable inside of Englewood’s city limits, they opted to move south into Highlands Ranch in late 2012.
And you know how we feel about Highlands Ranch...
Amongst my favorite photo opportunities, are the demolished-building-through-the-intact-front-doors shot. This one was a letdown due to reflection on the glass. But I do love the cut out Nissan logo in the facade!
A large pile of recyclable steel is gathering just around the corner.
I walked around to the back of the property to see one part of the dealership building had already been removed.
Looks like it was a newer addition to the building. If you look very closely, there is a tiny red light shining through the door on the right. Never figured out what this was.
Most of the northwest side was gone by this point.
The shovel was currently on break from destruction.
It was probably tired after dismantling the west walls of Larry H. Miller.
Didn't even have the energy to finish tearing down that small shack, next to the pile of rubble.
Did they stop before tearing down the shack, in order to change focus to finishing off this window?
Only the fine folks at American Demolition know for sure.
That's same outfit that finished tearing down Flood Middle School mere weeks earlier.
The first layer of the west end of the building has been neatly peeled away.
Unfortunately I couldn't fit all of it into one picture...
Because the concept of stepping back a few paces and redoing the shot just didn't seem to occur to me on this day.
Southwest corner, this shot will give a little bit more perspective on the property. Found it kind of strange that American Demolition didn't take that black iron gate off the wall before starting demolition? You'd think that would have value separate (even if only recycley) from what was being torn down.
There's those garages on the south end of the property again. Separated by a wooden fence, from the old Wachovia Bank.
Closer through the fence look.
They started to tear up the pavement next to the garages, before going back to the main building to destroy that instead. I'm thinking this was done as a warning to the garages as to their fate. We've started to kill you, but first, you're going to watch us kill your family!
Tuesday, August 27, 2013.
There is (obviously) no parking on Broadway, so I usually parked my car behind Larry H. Miller Nissan, on Acoma, to take all of these pictures. My car would then blend in with all the other crappy looking cars sitting on the street outside the We-Don’t-Tip-For-Pizza-Delivery Apartments.
There's only enough time for a quick drive by on my way to work this afternoon. The front showroom has been ripped down, with the shovel piling up the scrap metal, apart from the crushed cinderblock.
The view from behind shows the progress that shovel has made in reducing Larry H. Miller Nissan into separate piles of building materials.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013.
Turning out of the Walgreens parking lot, I snapped this show of the destruction.
Which has shifted focus today into getting the debris out, rather than creating more. Looking at the building, a great deal more of it has fallen over the last 24 hours.
Thursday, August 29, 2013.
Left early for work since it had been several days since I gave Larry H. Miller Nissan a proper walk-around.
The car dealership now reduced to just the southwest quarter of its original structure.
Even that was rapidly disappearing.
Light poles were being removed from their footings, and stacked up in the lot.
The pile of recyclable metal from the roof, now towered above the crushed brick that used to support it.
Around back, a second shovel has joined American Demolition in tearing down Larry H. Miller Nissan.
There's a guy trying to hide behind an electrical box from me. I always wonder what the workers at the demolition sites think of me walking around talking pictures of what they're doing. No one has really come up and said anything to me (with a few exceptions) in the past. But I know I've been seen when doing this stuff.
Even with most of the main car dealership building gone, that strange little shed out back still sits (mostly) intact. Perhaps it functioned as an outdoor restroom for the the demolition workers? If they knocked it over, they wouldn't have cover for mid-day pee breaks. Or to hide from nosey photographers?
But they did have city permission to use the water!
The permit is dated August 22, 2013. That would seem to be the date that demolition of the property began.
Which leads me to only one conclusion...
The old Englewood logo was far superior to the new one!
The back southwest wall of Larry H. Miller Nissan.
And about all that's left of the main building.
With another mounting pile of scrap metal next to the landscaping parking lot islands.
When I set up this Four Baggers blog, over four years ago now, I was looking for two images to create the header. Needing something that was a good representation of both subjects I'd intended to focus on covering here. The shot of all the baseball card pages was a no brainer for use. But I still needed a picture to represent the other main focus of this blog. I always liked this one of the shovel ripping away the cinderblock wall. So that adds a little more significance to Larry H. Miller Nissan.
Then this one from a few seconds later.
Watching the shovel rip through these cinderblocks wall was a fun sight.
I stood and watched it chew apart most of the back wall before moving on.
Oh, I guess that shed in the back wasn't being saved. It had been crushed (accidentally?) by falling cinderblock walls. There's a porta-potty off in the distance behind, so that makes more sense as a peeing place for the demolition crew. Still, I would've peed on the shed if they didn’t want to...
Goodbye for now shovel, I'll be back to check on your progress in a few days!
Before I go, here's that growing piles of auto dealership lot lights, from the opposite angle. With EZ Pawn and Walgreens lurking on the horizon. Hope those lights got to live another life in another lot.
Monday September 2, 2013.
No demolition labor is being carried out on Labor Day.
Even though I still had to go to work.
Larry H. Miller Nissan is completely down, reduced to multiple piles spread out where the building used to be.
Although the garages on the south side of the lot are still standing.
Sunday September 8, 2013.
Still with the multiple piles of Larry H. Miller Nissan debris spread out where the building was.
Wondering if American Demolition took the whole week off for Labor Day?
Sure, the shovel was doing something when you went around back, it just wasn't making much progress.
That little shack out back was still undemolished?
I'm thinking American Demolition has gotten attached to it.
Guessing they kept that iron gate standing to hold back some of the broken cinderblocks.
But just in this area since it was the only gate.
If I was patriotic, this would be the type of American flag picture I'd appreciate even more!
More big mess...
Standing garages with a side of Wachovia.
Goodbye garages, I have to go to work.
Tuesday September 17, 2013.
Palates of new brick have been dropped off in the parking lot. Apparently Advance Auto Parts is anxious to get going on their new building. After all, there isn't another Advance Auto Parts store within 3 whole miles of here! They better get cracking!
So American Demolition needs to hurry up and clean up all this mess they left behind.
The long pieces of curbing indicate the parking lot is undergoing removal now.
And that little shack out back is still standing!
Although it's roof is now more askew...
This guy completely didn't care that I took his picture. This shovel shifted focus from tearing down to digging for new.
The mounds of dirt were the very beginnings of Advance Auto Parts.
The main vehicle storage lot. Still intact, but its days were numbered as well. The Advance Auto Parts space can be seen on the far left of this picture. With the auto parts store’s future brick walls stacked up on palates behind the light poles laid out in front of them.
I'm not sure what that small tank/pump things is standing in the middle of the pavement.
I should have taken a better picture of it.
The south garages at Larry H. Miller Nissan were finally being demolished today. This was a very windy afternoon. For a few seconds, a mini dirt tornado swirled in the empty garage bays. Kind of worked in picture form, but I really should have shot a video.
Meanwhile... On another corner of Brookridge Shopping Center...
A couple of years ago, a friend texted me to say the McDonalds on the corner of Broadway and Belleview, had been demolished. That was a surprise to me. It had been there for over 20 years and was obviously busy enough at that high volume intersection, to keep going. My first thoughts were it would rebuilt in their more modern style. A pile of rectangles with the "Golden Arches" on the side. That wasn't the case.
Given it’s close proximity to my old apartment, it was a fairly frequent option for quick food and even quicker diarrhea. Of all the McDonalds that I’ve ever gone to on a semi-regular basis, this particular store had the worst reputation of getting an order correct. Like maybe 1 in 5 times, I would get everything just as I ordered it. Of the 1 in 5 odds, if I hit the 1, there was still a 1 in 7 chance that food was still warm.
Not like there isn’t enough other McDonalds in the area. There’s one about 2 miles to the north on Hampden, and another one about 2 miles to the south on Broadway. Ironically, McDonalds was replaced by yet another Starbucks. Even though there’s another Starbucks a mile to the south on Littleton Blvd., and another a mile to the north on Quincy. With even more of them not far from those two locations.
I’ll never understand how all of these Starbucks can be sustainable.
Saturday, November 9, 2013.
I took the next month and a half off from taking pictures here, but returned to Larry H. Miller Nissanland for a check on progress.
And here's another example of my high quality impressive Photoshoppery skills. The would be the back side of the new Advance Auto Parts. Granted, I should have put in a little more effort in making the retaining pond walls line up. But that would have meant adding a sixth minute to my patented (less than) five minute panoramic photos.
And really, who has that kind of time?
Whoever was waiting on the old Larry H. Miller parking lot lights should really come pick them up.
Come on! They're trying to build stuff here!
The foundation for Sprouts was just starting to take shape on the south end of the property. Although it was mostly shifting the dirt around and putting wooden stakes in the ground at this point. This is also the best picture I have of Wachovia's old fence, from this angle. So there's that!
Even though south Broadway really didn't need ANOTHER auto parts store, Advance Auto Parts opened in mid-December, 2013. Not even three months after parts of Larry H. Miller Nissan was still standing here.
Construction seemed to be moving much slower just to the south. Sprouts sprouted weeks before the year turned 2014, and on January 12, it looked like this:
I really hoped they’d leave the random multi-colored patchwork of brick as the store's outer wall color.
But by March 30, 2014, those multi-colored bricks were starting to get painted into Sprouts permanent colors.
May 5, 2014.
Nearly five months after Advance Auto Parts had their grand opening, Sprouts still hadn't bloomed. It did have a sign, and fake windows painted between the brick entryways. Even doors found their way onto the new Sprouts building. Still no pavement out front...
"New direction for Englewood redevelopment along Broadway" - The Villager
Sprouts finally opened in early June, 2014. The parking lot is paved, the grand opening banner has been hung and a fake farm has been painted on the fake windows between the doors. Overpriced goods are literally flying out the doors. Well, not in this picture. Business was kind of slow this afternoon.
I will give credit where credit is due. What they did in transforming this piece of land is fairly impressive. While I firmly believe that adding another set of traffic lights at its entrance on Broadway will cause an even more giant congested mess, the stores added are ones that even I would patronize. Sprouts grocery store was a good choice for the area. Given my personal distaste for the "natural" grocery big box retailer (stemming back to 1997 and Wild Oats), I was skeptical. However, after seeing what the store had to offer, both in merchandise and prices, I changed my mind on Sprouts. They can stay.
Back to May 5, 2014...
As Sprouts was taking shape, another smaller in-line retail center was being built in the middle of the property.
Two weeks later, the new Shops at Broadview were getting their facade...
I don't remember when they started opening, but it was well before December, 25, 2014, when I took this picture:
Tenants for the new Broadview Shops are: Great Clips, Mattress Firm, Five Guys Burgers and Jersey Mike's Subs. I've long been a big supporter of Jersey Mike's. Laura and I picked up sammiches here often. They did a great job in filling the void left by Lenny's closure. We always planned to try Five Guys, but just couldn't get past all of the innuendo that comes from mentioning it.
"We ate Five Guys for dinner last night..."
Well, hope they enjoyed it!
We also never patronized Great Clips, but did once buy an emergency mattress at Mattress Firm. My waterbed sprung a leak that caused it to move from my third floor apartment to the dumpster. (I blame those Five Guys...) We had to make a quick run up here to see what we could replace it with for under $500. It was a success.
A quick check of the Googles informs me that Mattress Firm is no longer at this location, and the largest storefront of the Shops at Broadview is already empty.
Larry H. Miller should open a KMart there...
So yeah, there's my report on some gentrification that actually served Englewood well. With so much of the town disappearing and being converted into $2,800 a month, one bedroom apartments, it was nice that this wasn't the case here. Actual useful stuff went in place of the outdated stuff.
And no one was hurt.
But if this house has been demolished since I left Englewood, please don't tell me.
I've dealt with enough tragedy over the last few years to find out my favorite house in Englewood is gone too...
Seriously, how was there not a Starbucks Drive Thru on this corner at least 15 years ago?