As a young man, Gene Lucero didn’t buy a flashy car to impress the girls. He bought a customer contact list to find clients.
After graduating with a Business Degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder he started the Lucero Financial Group, comprising of Lucero Tax and Accounting; Colorado Tierra, a mortgage company; and Lucero Real Estate for more than 24 years on 38th Avenue. He will relocate his core business back to 38th Avenue, on the same ground the new Plaza38 at Lowell now stands. He’s focused on real estate development and has joined forces with Keller Williams Realty to create the Lucero Financial Group powered by Keller Williams Urban Elite.
He now owns Plaza38 at Lowell, a shopping experience that’s shaping into the hot new development in northwest Denver’s Highlands neighborhood. “In 1978, I bought a list of clients,” said the longtime north Denver businessman. “I was a saver. I developed a work ethic early on.” Plaza38 at Lowell is just one of about a dozen businesses Lucero, 62, has owned during an enviablecareer in northwest Denver.
In addition to his 30,000 square feet of retail space – shaded below a 322-unit condo complex on the corner of 38th Avenue and Lowell Boulevard – Lucero has made some core changes to his business. He says he’s taking it “to the next level.”
But when Lucero started building his empire, few aspired to be in his neighborhood. “It was considered blighted,” Lucero said. “There was cruising on 38th and gangs. My building got tagged (with graffiti). We just painted over it and continued on.”
His perseverance paid off, and others noticed how hard he worked and his dedication to the neighborhood, including fellow businessman Ron Beall. “He’s one of the most accomplished businessmen I know and his ethics are beyond anything I’ve seen in anyone else,” Beall said. “He’s involved and has done so much for so many.”
So why did Lucero stick around and invest in the neighborhood? Why did he stay long enough to realize the gold mine that is now called the Highlands? “Geographically, it has a good, cultural mix,” he said of the area. “It’s convenient to everything. There are smaller neighborhoods. You can venture out to Rocky Mountain Lake, Elitch Gardens, Lakeside, Potter Highlands, 32nd Avenue, Sloan’s Lake. Its all surrounded by tree-lined streets. I love it here.”
Lucero’s strong sense of community has kept him in the neighborhood. He was active in the Civil Rights and Chicano movements of the ‘60 and ‘70s. He was a member of the Crusade for Justice where the Chicano movement in Colorado was led by Corky Gonzales. Lucero has helped Latinos get elected to public office, and he is striving to give Hispanic-owned businesses space in Plaza38 at Lowell.
“Gene has been involved the area’s transformation,” said Lucero’s partner Tammie Daily at Keller Williams Urban Elite. “He has a very strong desire to elevate the Hispanic community.” Today, the Highlands retains all the character of a community-within-a community – characteristics that made it into one of the most vibrant and desirable places to live in the nation.
While Lucero shies away from suggestions that he did much more than “be in the right place at the right time,” and is quick to give his partner Teresa Lucero equal credit, it’s impossible to look at the Highlands and not see the Lucero influence. And while he is certainly not resting on those laurels, today’s most vivid reminder of his decades of hard work is right there at 38th Avenue and Lowell Boulevard: the new residential, retail and entertainment experience of Plaza38 at Lowell.
Stay tuned for the Grand Opening coming this fall.