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Gold digger
Categories: People, Utrinque Paratus

Craig Nassi, aka Mr. Golden Triangle, develops an idea

By Leigh E. Rich

One man, three buildings and a golden idea have furthered the City of Denver’s Frankenstein-like resurrection of the Golden Triangle into an urban residential locale.

The city rezoned the area bounded by Speer Boulevard, Colfax Avenue and Lincoln Street in 1994, hoping to revitalize the prime location, saturated with parking lots and industrial businesses since the 1950s. By the first half of the 1900s, it was also a neighborhood of single-family homes with its own charter school.

The thirty-something Craig Nassi, president of BCN Development Co., plays a tall role in recharging the forgotten locality with his three high-rise projects—Belvedere Tower, The Prado and The Beauvallon.

These skyscapers and Nassi’s love for European art and architecture fit the City of Denver’s vision of a community filled with beautiful buildings, pedestrians, culture and coffee houses. The city’s strict regulations proscribing captivating facades and public art do not faze Nassi, owner of Metropolitan Antique Gallery near 12th and Broadway—in the Triangle itself.

“I’m able to implement what I do there (at the gallery) over here (in my buildings),” says Nassi, noting his incorporation of statuary and gates “from very important parks and palaces from Europe.

“I go out and I buy in foreign markets, and whatever I like I implement in my buildings.”

The Belvedere is 16 stories high and already houses residents, although Nassi is still adding his finishing touches.
Activity continues to buzz around the main entrance and foyer, and Nassi constantly monitors the progress. He is a hands on leader, perhaps a remnant from his days teaching middle school. He knows every contractor by name.

“This is Bruce Chase. He did all the marble in this lobby,” Nassi says with pride. “Take a peek through the gates and the workers (into the foyer). This is what makes me different than everybody else.”

With the paint barely dry, he examines Belvedere Tower’s lobby, scrutinizing every detail and swerving in and around the scaffolding.

It boasts of marble flooring, a fireplace, a detailed, rounded inset in the high ceiling and etched and sculpted molding. “We’ve spent a lot of time and money in here.”

Nassi, originally from New York, is a graduate of CSU and UNC. “I used to be a teacher in history and geography.”
He exudes a shyness, especially when forced to talk about himself and his love of history and art. “I gravitate toward it.”

After leaving a career as an educator and track coach, he opened his antique gallery and began building houses in the North Cherry Creek area, he explains, which developed into “a desire to something more grand. I took all my resources and took them down here.

“Work takes up a big chunk of my life,” he sighs, hanging his head in his hands as he looks at the countless piles of paper covering his desk and mentioning that “some days” he misses teaching. “But I’m very happy what I’m doing now. Pretty much all I do is new construction.”

While he has other projects throughout the metro region, he says the Beauvallon, Prado and Belvedere are currently three of the largest residential undertakings in downtown Denver. His days are often consumed dashing from one construction site to the next, cell phone interminably ringing.

“You know when you do something and you enjoy it,” he explains, “it just happens. A lot of it is luck. But a lot of it is who you are and living up to what you do. I’ve done that.

“There’s never a dull moment.” 

Rich, L. E. (2000, November 10). Gold digger: Craig Nassi, aka Mr. Golden Triangle, develops an idea. Intermountain Jewish News.

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