What’s going on with Punch Bowl Social that’s going into the old air traffic control tower in Stapleton?
That’s a common question around Stapleton, especially since there is construction activity on the site, so I sought out CEO/Founder Robert Thompson to give the community an update, and he generously agreed!
Robert was willing to chat and answer many of the community’s questions which I had rounded up from residents on the Stapleton Scoop Facebook Page. Here is my summary of our conversation.
What’s going on physically at the site?
Right now the work you see being done is site work that will allow 32nd Ave to go through to Central Park Blvd and the physical work being done on the tower building itself is asbestos mitigation work. The mitigation work is being done by contractors hired by Forest City as part of their agreement with Punch Bowl Social. (side note: It looks like a lot of work is happening in the field to the north of the tower but neither Robert of Forest City indicates that there are any current plans for that vacant parcel north of 32nd Ave at this point.)
Where are you in the redevelopment process and what is the latest timeline for completion?
The game plan at this point is a November 2016 grand opening. These dates can be fluid, it’s development so there are often delays (especially when dealing with a unique landmark project such as this!). Punch Bowl Social has gone through all the necessary steps to collect community input and the renderings have been approved at this point. Check out our Pinterest board on this project.
What are you building on the site? What will it look like?
The total building will have approximately 20,000 sf of space, 5,000 of which will be done by adding on to the first floor and expanding the footprint of the building. The expansion will have a mid century modern design and will intentionally stand out from the old existing building. The foundation permit for this new addition is in City review right now. Of that total sf, 5,000 will be the corporate offices for Punch Bowl Social (which is good, to me that means this is their flagship location) and the other 15,000 sf will be for dining, bar and all the games. In addition to the interior space there will be 14,000 sf of outdoor active space. Parking will be added, as required by the city.
The interior space will have a restaurant, bar and tons of games including bowling, shuffleboard (personal favorite), 80’s arcade games (plan to set Pac Man high score and hold it), darts, all types of board games, wall sized Scrabble game, bocce ball court & more.
Outside you’ll find a dining area, beer garden, bag toss area, lawn bowling (maybe), hopscotch area for the kids & more.
Basically, if you can’t find something to do here you’re just not a fan of games, it sounds like they’ll have it all.
How do you envision balancing the needs of adults wanting a place to hang out with the needs of Stapleton parents looking for a kid-friendly venue?
This was one of the most recurring questions that bubbled up from the community when I asked what they wanted me to ask Robert. I liked his answer. He is a father of two young kids and he is not blind to the fact that Stapleton is chock-full of kids. His philosophy is that each neighborhood that PBS goes into will be molded by the community around it. The local patrons of the business really form the atmosphere that develops there. He doesn’t have to dictate this is kid time and this is adult time, he thinks it will evolve on it’s own. He also doesn’t envision this being a hot spot that draws the downtown crowd to leave LODO and come out to Stapleton to party on a consistent basis. (Wait…are we not as cool as we think we are Stapleton? What are you saying Robert?)
Will there be kids there during the day playing games while the adults have a drink and eat some good food? Yes! Will those same kids be there at 10PM on a Friday night? Probably not (hopefully!). It makes more sense that will be more adult time. It really can be a venue that serves both the kids and the adults and I’m excited to have it close to our home in Central Park West. I think as the kids get older it will be a great place for them to go meet up and play games with friends. It will be on us as parents to figure out the appropriate times when it’s kid friendly and when it’s not.
What will the hours of operation be?
Mon: 11am open for lunch – midnight
Tues- Fri: 11am – 2am
Sat: 8am open for brunch – 2am
Sun: 8am open for brunch – midnight
Will people be allowed to go in the tower?
No, the tower won’t be open to the public. It is a very small space at the top of the tower and to make it open to the public an elevator would need to be added to make it ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant. That understandably isn’t financially feasible.
Can we make at least one night a week kid free?
No, the patrons will determine when the kids are there rather than PBS dictating it. See above answer about kids vs adults for more info.
Well, that summarizes my chat with Robert. What was very clear throughout is he is excited about this project and proud to be part of revitalizing an iconic building that has been ignored for 20 years. Punch Bowl Social is a proud Colorado based company and they feel very honored to be placed in charge of redeveloping this asset for the community.
If you’re excited about trying out Punch Bowl Social, all are welcome to visit the original Punch Bowl Social in the Baker District at 65 Broadway. Throughout the month of March, kids ages 15 and under bowl free on Mondays – Wednesdays, from 11am – 2pm, for one hour, shoes included. They just need to be accompanied by an adult. Great for a spring break activity!
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