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Colterra calling it quits


Vicky Dorvee

The property on the corner of 2nd Avenue and Franklin Street, once a thriving restaurant, Colterra, is now on the market.

Almost two years of conjecture around the reopening of Colterra Restaurant in Niwot was put to rest by a “For Sale” sign in the front yard as of Thursday, July 18. The 10,000 square foot corner lot at 210 2nd Avenue, including the historic Bader Building, and the scorched larger “barn” building, are being offered for $625,000.

Public records show the property was last purchased for $1,150,000 in 2006 by the entity, Table 210 LLC, with a post office box in Niwot. Colterra Restaurant was owned and operated by Chef Bradford Heap on the site until a late night kitchen fire shuttered the enterprise in October 2017.

The listing, offered by Navpoint Real Estate of Castle Rock, advises potential buyers that the property is fire damaged and lists a renovation bid of $712,000.

The sales brochure for the property listing reads, “Due to extensive water and smoke damage, the main building will need to be remodeled or demolished giving the buyer the rare opportunity to reposition the property in this outstanding Main Street location.”

Heap wrote in an email interview, “It is with a heavy heart, Carol and I have to sell Colterra. Thank you to the town of Niwot and the Boulder community for supporting us all these years. We loved being at Colterra, and it was an enjoyable experience. We will always cherish the memories of beautiful evenings on the patio.  Unfortunately, after the fire, we are just now being able to settle with the insurance company. Coupled with the moratorium, has taken away our chances to rebuild. We wish the community and Niwot well. Niwot will always hold a special place in my families’ heart.” 

In past interviews and in public meetings, Heap has said that problems with his insurance company following the fire, combined with land use code restrictions, would not allow him to rebuild the restaurant or use the property in a way that would be profitable.

Initially caught up in the fray of the seven-month building moratorium for downtown Niwot, the property falls within the Niwot Rural Community District (NRCD). However, the property was later removed from the moratorium’s scope because of its historic designation. This designation makes the property exempt from the more restrictive land use codes recently established for the remainder of that block (2nd Avenue between Franklin Street and Niwot Road) particularly when it comes to required floor area ratio and alley set back regulations.

NRCD zoning allows for a long list of permitted uses including restaurants, offices, and, if the development is mixed use, second floor residential units are also allowed. It is unclear how a redevelopment of the property might be affected by the recent changes to the Land Use Code.

In a text message on March 31, prior to the conclusion of the moratorium, Heap wrote, “For the record, I really want to bring Colterra back and it seems like everything in the universe is opposing my efforts.” Additionally, he wrote that he had submitted plans to the Boulder County Land Use Department to move the Bader House on the site which would allow him to create a “workable restaurant,” but that it was going to be a “battle” with the county to allow that to come to fruition.

Heap also wrote, “Between that and the insurance company not being willing to step up and do the right thing and pay the claim, I’ve hired an attorney to negotiate with the insurance company.”

“Therefore I find it unlikely that we will be able to work anything out. Maybe someone else will come up with a couple million dollars to invest and bring a restaurant back in that place,” Heap wrote.

Niwot Business Association Executive Director Catherine McHale said that she learned about the plans to put the property on the market when the sign went up. Several other business and property owners stated that as well.

McHale added, “There cannot be anyone in this town who will not be terribly saddened by the news that the Colterra property is for sale. It is most definitely the end of an era.

Owner of adjacent 2nd Avenue properties Anne Postle of Osmosis Architecture wrote in an email interview, “I am saddened that Colterra won’t be returning, but hopeful that the new owner will bring another great restaurant to town.  This is a site with great potential, great parking, great visibility and a fantastic dining patio.

“I was sad because there’s a vibrant history there,“ Niwot realtor, Pat Murphy said, “It’s in bad condition now and it would be hard to bring it up to county specifications. I just hope it will become a thriving business that will keep the character of the town.”

Heap owns two restaurants on Pearl Street in Boulder- SALT and rebranded Wild Standard, which as of this week was renamed Pepper.


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