BY FREDA MIKLIN
Afshin Safavi, Ph.D., is a biological scientist and serial entrepreneur who recently completed a four-year term on the Cherry Hills Village City Council.
His newest project is Colorado Health & Tech Centers (CHTC), which he envisions as eventually having ten locations around the state where primary care medicine, biotechnology research, biomanufacturing, and technology/artificial intelligence (AI) co-exist in a synergistic and collaborative workspace.
Safavi told The Villager, “Primary care doctors have great ideas because they see patients every day. Working close by researchers will lead to innovations in the areas of medicine where they are most needed.” He believes the I-25 corridor, in proximity to hospitals, is the optimal location for CHTC sites.
Safavi also believes that post-COVID, “People don’t want to live far away from their work sites and companies are willing to have two or three locations to attract the best talent. Attracting and retaining top talent is one of the biggest challenges employers face. That is why I plan to build smaller campuses all around Colorado.” He continued, “With minimal advertising, Colorado is now eighth in the nation in biotechnology,” which he explained is, “the use of biologics, which he told us includes human cells, animal cells, bacteria, viruses, and yeast, and technology to create the next generation of medicine.”
Safavi first purchased five locations, including some buildings and some raw land, in Denver, Aurora (near Fitzsimmons Innovation Campus), and Colorado Springs, where he planned to build the first CHTC locations. Before he got started, he heard about a four-story, vacant 164,000-square foot Class-A building in Greenwood Village that was headed to auction. Located on 6.24 acres at 5800 S. Quebec Street, it was built in 1980 and renovated in 1998. The owners had purchased it in 2013 for $27 million. Safavi thought the building might be a great location for CHTC. When the auction did not produce a buyer, he worked with the selling broker and eventually acquired the property for the unexpected price of $5 million.
It was only after he bought the building, Safavi told us, he found out that, in addition to the 700 parking spots that were on the property, he also owns 400 of the 1,000 parking places in the building next door as a result of an agreement between prior property owners.
We walked through the building as Safavi explained his vision for the property. He sees the first floor as a perfect location for primary care and/or an outpatient surgical center. He told us hospitals had already reached out to him about the possibility of using it for day surgery.
On the second floor, he envisions biotechnology research, Safavi told us, as well as potential “small-scale manufacturing of medicines.”
The third floor will house technology and the fourth, which has mountain views, will house “entities that will facilitate innovation, like patent lawyers, CFOs, part-time CEOs, and consultants in the medical field.”
Financially, Safavi is in a strong position, having purchased the property at such a deep discount. As a result, he told us, “As soon as one floor is fully rented, the building will pay for itself. When two floors are occupied, we will be cash positive, and I will be moving on to building additional campuses of CHTC.”
Standing in the building, we had a direct view of one of the three towers of The Triad development in Orchard Station. Noting that the 22-acre complex is in receivership, Safavi wondered aloud if sometime in the future he might acquire that property, as well, to expand CHTC in Greenwood Village since, he told us, he was already talking to ten potential tenants, thus he might be ready to expand relatively soon.
Safavi was effusive about being in Greenwood Village, telling us, “I had planned to start CHTC in Aurora and Denver but we are here now and I could not have dreamed of a better location. There are so many retired CEOs and CFOs in Greenwood Village. This will become our headquarters.”
Safavi uses LinkedIn to post updates about the building and told us he has 600 to 6,000 views every day. “Every large pharma worldwide knows about us,” he shared.
Closing the loop, he shared that he has already connected with GV Mayor George Lantz and the South Metro Denver Chamber and looks forward to working with GV and the Chamber as he brings his vision of Colorado Health & Tech Centers to life.
According to his LinkedIn page, Dr. Safavi holds a B.S. in biochemistry from UCLA and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Kentucky. He also completed postdoctoral studies in biochemistry and molecular biology at Emory University.
Travis Wanger and Alex Scott of Fuller Real Estate are the leasing agents for the building.