The future of Carmen Court, at 900 East 1st Avenue, will be the main issue on Tuesday’s meeting of the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission. I expect it will be interesting, infuriating, and downright incredibly eye-opening.
After all, the three people who chipped in money to cover the application weeks ago to designate Carmen Court as a landmark, well, they are facing a large-scale developer (Hines) and a law firm that is the most powerful in the city (Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck). It’s a daunting situation, although the Denver Landmark Staff has considered the application for approval heading into the public hearing on Tuesday, August 4.
What is new is two stories about the future of Carmen Court, which reveal that not all of the owners in the complex want to sell. Those who want to sell also are betting on the judgment of the Heritage Consulting Group, retained by Hines and the owners, which has shot down with vigor on almost everything in the application.
Then there is more news including a rendering of what the senior living building would look like, though no architect’s name is attached to that photo. First, there is a link to BusinessDen that includes this information, as does a story on Channel 7 / The Denver Channel, which explores the same issues, but in a longer format. Both stories help flesh things out.
What also is new is a statement posted on the landmark commission page with comments from Steve Charbonneau, who has worked as a mediator dealing with city topics. The meetings began in April.
As he notes:
“Unfortunately, to this point we have not been able to reach an agreed upon or acceptable resolution. However, Hines/Morningstar and the historic preservation neighbors have agreed to leave the door open for renewed discussion, should there be any further ideas or possible solutions.”
The developer and the neighbors tried to find a solution, but there was a concern that to place the senior living building on that land would need to be built much higher to allow for more space for Carmen Court. As for Morningstar: There are several senior living buildings in the Denver metro area.
Several links are below, including the links to the two new stories, to the statement by the mediator, and a link to the evaluation by Heritage Consulting Group. And below those are the letters from the owners who really want to be more financially secure, along with the application, the staff report, and more.
Tomorrow should be one of those meetings that will be similar in terms of what happened a year ago with a tug of war involving Tom’s Diner. It’s not pretty, but it’s worth the energy to remind those of us who live in Denver, change is not always what we want. When Denver is no longer Denver, there will be very little history left. And when every neighborhood looks like every other neighborhood, it will be unconscionable.