Valerie Cannistraro

Valerie is BLACK LABEL’s real estate specialist in Boulder County focusing on investment acquisitions, commercial leasing, land development and urban infill.  She has enjoyed living in Colorado for over 40 years and in Boulder County for over 27 years.  Valerie is proud of her Colombian ancestry and knows how to identify and address the needs of international and domestic investors.  Valerie’s family created wealth and financial stability through real estate investing which, for Valerie, created a love and passion for real estate since her childhood.   

Valerie creates solid connections with her clients through honesty, integrity, creativity, perseverance and an attention to detail.   

As a real estate investor herself, Valerie owns and manages numerous residential and commercial properties in the Denver metro area – this has given her extensive insight into the opportunities and obstacles to investing.  She has a passion for helping others find their own income producing properties to create cash flow, generational wealth, and fulfillment. 

Infill Urban Development Site – FOR SALE

Part of Morrison Road Entertainment District. 80 plus unit residential mixed use development being constructed next door.

Adjacent to brand new urban mixed use development planning start of construction Fall 2020. Site is ideal for town homes, cannabis sales, retail / commercial. 16,592 sqft Zoned E-MX-3

$550,000 total asking price / 3.00% commission payable to coop broker.

Transformation is our business – BLACK LABEL

BEFORE….

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AFTER BLACK LABEL….

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Village of Rowlett urban infill transit oriented development.  Breaking ground Fall 2015!

Rowlett, Texas.

We do deals, where most others only plan.

BLACK LABEL – 303-506-9780 – chris@blacklabelre.net

Are Urban Developers Boring?

I’ve been in this business for nearly 15 years.  I bleed transit oriented and urban mixed use.  These are high brow terms that urban planners, developers, architects and commercial real estate experts use daily.  It’s super easy to let the high brow terminology take over and in groups we act like ‘Doesn’t everybody know this stuff?’  I participate and have participated heavily in urban planning exercises, master planned joint developments, land development projects, commercial investments and all you can possibly imagine in the urban sector.  I can espouse with the best on urban form and efforts to strike the right balance of commercial mixed use and mixed income investments.  The general ideas behind all of these efforts are to improve our cities, to make urban areas thrive for people of all backgrounds and for the business community over long periods of time.  We all have the right focus – but…

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These days we find ourselves in a constant conversation about these issues whether we attend a conference, participate in a project, or network with like-minded professionals.  We share exciting news about how we learned a better way to create public/private partnerships or finance a deal using New Markets Tax Credits.  Indeed, the business of being an urban real estate developer are ever-changing and highly complex – but…

It’s beginning to feel like the conversation on urban form and livability is getting stale.  There was a time when the market couldn’t spell TOD that these ideas were new and fresh – cutting edge in many ways.  Now they are commonplace and starchy.  Everyone knows the same thing these days, and everyone seems to be working on a project that looks exactly like the new standard of urban investing: Option 1 – a mixed use podium project with less than 10{fab79f7e6a1f7245603359390db0c9b2ed6f1b5b6d9758f88042fc0f06934e43} of the available square footage used for commercial purposes; or Option 2 – a horizontal mixed use project with higher density apartments and pad type quasi-urban retail.  Fifteen years ago these two models of development were cool and hip, now they are just normal.

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Unfortunately, normal is not a term best used to describe our urban places.  Cities are interesting because they change and adapt, combust with creativity and diverse energy.  When the energy of a city becomes normal, it begins to die.  When the ideas become stale the spirit of the city begins to erode.  We easily forget that cities are not buildings, but people.  If we as urban developers are not creating places for people, then we are missing the purpose.  People are attracted to places that infer good memories.  People don’t infer memories from pastel stucco or uninteresting urban forms – they seek out color, smell, music, smiles, laughter and, other people.  Buildings are the canvas for people to paint memories.  Our cities deserve better and more organic canvasses to spur richer memories.  Missing this important distinction is the fear I have for Denver and any other city enjoying the sweet success of urban mixed use development.

 

At BLACK LABEL, we strive to stay on the cutting edge.  As a small business our ethos is tied to what’s ‘NEXT’ in urban places.  Next is cool.  Next is the heartbeat of cities.  Next is the spirit of the creative class – the spirit of entrepreneurs.  We need Next in urban development.  We need urban developers who are focused on finding and partnering with local creative ideas to produce special places.  We need urban development that seems to breathe in pace with its underlying community character.  We need those Next level, cool ideas that don’t simply fill vacant lots with opaque walls and fake balconies, but living and moving interpretations of the city.

How are we at BLACK LABEL doing this?  We are partnering with local merchant business operators to develop urban retail in concert with their operating needs to create deeper sustainability.  We are finding hidden gem, key assets that serve as catalytic investments and bringing them into the light.  We are bringing our conventional clients into the spirit of the Next by placing them in key strategic positions and facilitating the birth of new urban energy.  We get Next and commit to its constant formation.

So, next time we’re in a collegial conversation about mixed use urban form or TOD, you might just see me drifting off.  I may wander away from the small group dialogue about creative finance or public/private partnerships.  I will, however, be that source of frustrating inspiration – the voice that doesn’t always agree – the guy who may seem off key from the group – the hand that goes up to dissent from popular opinion – the one who introduces a new way to think or do.  I can’t help it, it’s the city in me.

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Cool Beginnings…

Between the projects planned by a few forward-thinking property owners, (and some of the cool things I have planned myself) Five Points is about to jump!  Kudos to Palisade Partners for planning an exciting addition to urban quality along Welton Street.  We are all making rather large bets on the corridor and trust me when I say, Welton is the New Cool!  Stay tuned…

 

Link Courtesy DenverInfill.com:

Click HERE for more!

 

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What’s wrong with these pictures?

Black Label – another urban walkabout.

While in Dallas I’ve tried to visit some of the local hotspots to get a feel for the local vibe and to learn something new.  Although there are several attractive places in the Dallas area, in two of their hotspots (Addison Circle and Uptown Dallas) I was surprised by the lack of humans on the street.  Addison Circle and Uptown Dallas are wonderful neighborhoods with urban housing, office space, retail, beautiful streets and sidewalks, and all of grandeur described by New Urbanists as the requirements of quality urban places.  But, there were no people…  No dogs being walked… No joggers…  No moms on walks with strollers…  No small business people at tables with laptops…  No laughing groups of urbanites sharing stories… No fun times had by people on patios…

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Yes, it was a Wednesday, but it was lunchtime (1:00 p.m.) and the weather was splendid, 85 degrees with a light cool breeze flowing.  There were no shortage of cars moving about – yet the sidewalks were dead, the patios barren.  This struck me as amazing because here in my home base of Denver at lunchtime you rarely find an unused urban patio, you rarely see urban sidewalks without runners, strollers and walkers – Denverites use their urban space.  If there is sunlight, people get out, people get moving – by foot.  This is also true of many other places outside Colorado which Black Label has explored in other urban walkabouts.

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Perplexed, I stopped into a local bar/restaurant in Uptown Dallas to inquire about what I was seeing and talked to a man in the know – Michael Casteel of Three Sheets bar.  After sharing my observations I learned that the local vibe is mostly driven by happy hour, to which I followed with the obvious question, “Why are any of these places open for lunch?”  It seems Three Sheets just started opening for lunch a few weeks ago and most of the places weren’t open midday at all.  It remains amazing to me that such high quality urban places go underutilized until it’s time to drink a cocktail.  I think of all of the urban planners, architects and engineers, developers, venue owners, landscapers, etc. that work to create and maintain these attractive places simply to be reduced to happy hour.

Addison Circle and Uptown Dallas are wonderful.  The streets are comfortable, the landscaping is well-maintained.  They are both places I will continue to visit – and ultimately, I don’t think they are the problem.  My observation is that the culture in Dallas, if it is truly just a happy hour vibe, is missing the boat.  I would encourage Dallas urbanites to take your laptops to any one of those unused patios and use that space to generate new ideas.  I encourage office working groups to leave their cubicles and occupy the streets and local venues, during the workday, and translate that urban energy into productive results.  I encourage the people of Dallas to show their culture and spirit midday, on the sidewalks, where people were designed to be.   Happy hours are nice, but those streets are made for walking’ those patios are made for talkin’.

Cheers!

FasTracks Looming Heart Attack

We all love FasTracks.  For some it is happening slower than we’d like, for others it’s costs are hard to accept, and for many of us the ongoing construction is bothersome.  Generally, however, we know this is a good thing for Denver Metro.  When we look at FasTracks and all of its corridors reaching into places like Lone Tree, Aurora, Lakewood and Westminster, we see an emerging comprehensive system that provides us with more choice for moving around our great city.  The East Corridor offers one of the more regional attractions in the airport of course, and I, for one, could not be more excited about this.  As a transit advocate, and specialist in transit-served commercial real estate, I have always believed serving DIA is an all too important component for a comprehensive system in Denver.  Clearly, we are getting there, but with all progress comes new challenges.

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Courtesy www.Denvergov.org

One particular item that was once just a small enhancement to FasTracks is now becoming a huge missing link in the system – the Central Corridor Extension (CCE).  Described in the FasTracks plan as a 0.8 mile light rail extension along Downing Street connecting the rail on Welton to the East Corridor at the 38th and Blake station, it seemed somewhat minor when compared to the West Corridor or I-225 Corridor, and rightfully so.

Central Rail Extension Map
Courtesy www.rtd-fastracks.com

The scale of the CCE was small, it’s connection to communities underserved by transit was small and the story of the CCE not poised to be politically charged in comparison.  Today, however, the world is a different place.  We now have an operating West Corridor, an I-225 Corridor under construction, East Corridor, Gold Line and part of the US36 Corridor under construction, and ground was recently broken on the North Metro Line.  All of a sudden transit mobility is happening everywhere and the fingers of FasTracks are beginning to extend for more and more people.  We can now see a day when suburban Thornton residents will be able to access jobs in Downtown Denver without a car, a day when bicyclists in Lakewood can access a Central Park bike event in Stapleton, a day when the region can move in and out of DIA without a car.  A day of a true transit circulatory system.

This day is coming, but is now haunted by what may become a heart attack – completing a robust and intelligent CCE.  With all of the transit access coming, with all of the new trips that will be generated throughout the Metro area, the focus quickly becomes what was missed.  CCE, albeit small, is a vastly important piece of FasTracks.  The CCE is the missing link to make Downtown Denver a more fluid environment for offering us the ability to leave our car at home.  Without the CCE, we must access Downtown in only two places: Denver Union Station from the north and east and through the Convention Center area from the south.  Without CCE there is no regional access into northeast Downtown Denver.  No regional access to Civic Center Park, to Broadway, to Uptown, to RTD’s Civic Center Station, to the light rail tracks already serving the middle of the city.  Further, without a robust CCE, even having rail on Downing Street presents undesirable challenges for regional mobility.

RTD is working to resolve this problem by studying alternatives for the CCE and moving forward with a short term and long term strategy.  Continue to look to DenverUrbanism and blacklabelre.net for continual updates about the CCE project and some of the other exciting and original news about Five Points.  To dig in deeper, check out this video of RTD’s first meeting about the CCE provided as a link from the Central Corridor project website: