Saucy Noodle considers closing as Bonnie Brae building sells for $2 million

The Bonnie Brae building that houses The Saucy Noodle restaurant has sold and may soon lose its most notable tenant.

The 8,331-square-foot building at 715-727 S. University Blvd. was bought for $2.2 million July 15 by an entity affiliated with property developer Otto Petty, co-founder of Endurance Real Estate Partners, according to public records.

The deal works out to about $264 per square foot. FirstBank provided financing.

Petty did not respond to repeated requests for comment last week.

Saucy Noodle has been in the building, which dates to 1949, since it opened in 1964. A couple other tenants operate in adjacent units.

The building was issued a certificate of demolition eligibility, which makes it easy to demolish a structure, in 2020. That designation was requested by Denver-based The Robert L. Naiman Co., which was under contract to purchase the building at the time. Naiman told BusinessDen in March 2021 that he was no longer under contract.

Saucy Noodle’s owners have been trying to leave the space for two years, citing a loss of their old customer base and dissatisfaction with the property.

“The customers we do have constantly complained that they cannot find a place to park and they would just instead go somewhere that they can,” co-owner Nathan Markham said. “I’ve been working here for over 30 years. It used to be on a snowy day we’d be busy because everyone from Wash Park would walk over in their snowshoes.”

The days of constant foot traffic to the restaurant are long gone. Markham said the neighborhood has changed and made it difficult to be an operator in the area.

A new location has proven evasive for Markham and his co-owner wife, Erin.

“We’ve had a couple of deals that we were close on, but we usually get beat out by somebody making a cash offer,” Nathan said.

Nathan added that Saucy Noodle is on a month-to-month lease, so leaving or closing could happen fast — technically as soon as the end of the month. He said he and his wife would love to own the real estate for the next location, and be south of the current space, closer to or in Englewood or Littleton. They’re open to being solicited offers for new spaces.

Petty, the new landlord, plans to remodel the building, according to the Markhams. And if the couple decide to stay put, which they said is unlikely, Saucy Noodle will be facing an increase in rent.

Though nothing has been set in stone, Nathan said Petty has indicated that he’d like to up the Saucy Noodle’s rent back up to market rate, a roughly 7 percent increase. This rent would increase annually by 3 percent or CPI, whichever is greater. Nathan said Petty also indicated he’d like Saucy Noodle to decrease its current square footage.

Nathan said Petty also requested the restaurant commit to staying for seven years, something Nathan said is a non-starter. He also said that remodeling would put Saucy Noodle on the hook for a significant amount of expenses.

“Until two days ago, I was trying to figure out: ‘What can I fix here and how can I make it work?’” Nathan said. “And we just made the decision we can’t. We just can’t make it work in this space, and anything we throw at the wall right now is money we could probably better use with a relocation.”

Across the street from Saucy Noodle, the Bonnie Brae Tavern closed last month after 88 years of operation. The family that owned the restaurant sold its real estate to a pair of development firms.

Endurance’s previous work includes converting a rundown retail strip near the Cap Hill King Soopers into an apartment building.

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This story was reported by our partner BusinessDen.

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