The Association of U S West Retirees



Qwest puts skyscraper on market
The company hopes to take advantage of the favorable real-estate sector and could get as much as $105 million.
By Beth Potter, Staff Writer
Denver Post
Thursday, June 15, 2006

Qwest is putting a 23-story downtown Denver office building up for sale to take advantage of the strong real-estate market, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

The service-center building is at 1005 17th St., between Arapahoe and Champa streets.  About 1,500 customer-service, computer, finance and archive workers will be moved to other Qwest offices, spokesman Nick Sweers said.

"From a financial standpoint, it makes sense to do that," Sweers said.  "We believe the real-estate market is very favorable."

Similar office buildings downtown have sold for $115 to $150 per square foot, according to the CoStar data bank that commercial real-estate brokers use.  At those prices, the 700,000-square-foot building could sell for $80.5 million to $105 million.

"My understanding is that this is an effort to make better use of their existing space," said Tom Clark, executive director of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp.  "If you have a ready-made asset, it's a good time to put it on the market."

Workers are excited about the move, which could mean cost savings for some, said Cliff Yarbrough, 25, a Qwest sales and service employee who expects to be relocated to a Littleton office.

"I may drive a little longer, but it's free parking, so I'll save about $100 per month," Yarbrough said.  "It's a better environment for everybody."

Information-technology worker Jason Miller, 29, said his job has been moved five times to various Qwest buildings around downtown as the telecommunications company has downsized.

"We get shuffled around all the time," Miller said.

Qwest is negotiating with an undisclosed commercial broker to sell the building, Sweers said.

The building, with its distinctive Mountain Bell logo engraved in the upper northeast corner, was a showcase building when it was finished for about $37 million in 1977.

In 1992, Qwest sold its 52-story, 1.3 million-square-foot downtown headquarters at 1801 California St. for $238 million but continues to occupy about two-thirds of the building under terms of a 20-year lease.

Staff writer Beth Potter can be reached at 303-820-1503 or