A landlord at 18th and Blake in LoDo wants permission to evict a convenience store that the landlord blames for difficulties leasing office space above the store.
“The 7-Eleven at the premises attracts vagrancy and crime,” its landlord alleges.
In September 2021, Seattle-based Unico paid $61.2 million for the five-story office building at 1755 Blake St. 7-Eleven had been a ground-floor tenant for 11 years by that time and had just signed a lease extension to stay there through June 2026, court records show.
Unico says that “problems relating to vagrancy around 7-Eleven’s business” date back to at least 2016, when its prior landlord warned about a need for increased security. 7-Eleven initially refused to pay for that security but relented in 2019, according to Unico.
Two months after Unico bought the building in 2021, there was a gunpoint robbery. Since then, there has been an overdose, a stabbing suspect who fled into the store, and vagrancy. There were four break-ins between Oct. 4 and Nov. 7 of this year alone, Unico says.
On Oct. 16, 7-Eleven’s corporate office sued Unico in Denver District Court, accusing its landlord of wrongly billing it $74,000 for enhanced security. It claims that Unico broke their lease when it charged 7-Eleven for the extra security, which is a landlord responsibility.
“Tenant is not doing anything to attract vagrants; it is merely operating a legal business,” its lawyers wrote, noting the store’s proximity to transient hangouts like Union Station.
Then, on Dec. 6, Unico countersued 7-Eleven. The property owner wrote that “it has had difficulty leasing space in the building as a result of 7-Eleven’s business practices.”
“Compared to other downtown markets, the LoDo market generally is doing well for leasing, but the building is not experiencing the same level of activity or commitment,” it said.
Unico claims that security guards and day porters are the only solution at 1755 Blake St.
“(Unico) already increased the frequency of power washing to attempt to deter vagrancy. Playing music has proven to be ineffective. 7-Eleven’s offers to install a mist or water drip system to deter vagrancy is not an option in Denver’s climate,” it wrote Dec. 6.
7-Eleven’s spokespeople and attorneys declined to comment on Unico’s countersuit.
Unico’s lawyers are Merc Pittinos, Patrick Hickey and Joseph Mark at Moye White. 7-Eleven’s are Whitney House, Claire Hanson and Darren Kaplan with the law firm Clark Hill.
This story was reported by our partner BusinessDen.