By Rick Sallinger
DENVER (CBS4) – A bar known for its hip hop music and sometimes violence is gone.
Cold Crush was at 27th and Larimer Streets in the RiNo neighborhood. The area was recently named as one of the top coolest neighborhoods in America by Lonely Planet travel.
Cold Crush’s lease was not renewed. It comes after shootings including the murder of a rapper and complaints that it had become a public nuisance.
Diara Baff, an employee of Cold Crush spoke with CBS4 investigator Rick Sallinger.
“Do you think it’s now different type of culture and some want you out?,” asked Sallinger. “I think gentrification in this area is very real,” said Baff.
That gentrification can be seen across the street in the Denver Central market. A conglomeration of hip, modern eateries and old-style markets.
It’s a neighborhood caught between the new and old.
Tim Choi, the manager of Joe’s Liquors, said “The developers are wanting to come in and develop their own ideas of what neighborhood should be.”
Without a hint, Choi said new businesses in the area wrote to the city in an attempt to hinder renewal of their liquor license.
The RiNo Arts District President, Lamie Licko, says the district played the role of mediator.
“RiNo stepped in to stop that process from going to a place where a lot of damage could be done,” said Licko.
Joe’s Liquors signed a good neighbor agreement, and kept its license.
Choi, whose father has run the store for many years, was resentful of the attempts to drive them out of business. “It definitely felt like an attack on our integrity and our business,” he said.
RiNo is caught between down and out and young and hip.
A group called Radian | Placematters works with developers and the neighborhood. Executive Director Tim Reinen says they are trying to work with the developers to be more community-centric and more inclusive.