On Tuesday, August 4, the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission meeting concerning Carmen Court was well attended. There were some speakers who did not believe Carmen Court should be landmarked. There were more speakers who did believe Carmen Count should be landmarked.
One speaker said it needed “a higher bar.” A few also sided with the owners of the Carmen Court condos because it is “not fair” to not allow them to sell to a developer. And a couple of speakers described Carmen Court as a “mish-mash,” a term used by an area architect and Robert Mawson, the vice president of Heritage Consulting Group.
“Mish-mash” showed up last year when a consultant hired by the prospective owner described the architecture of the Olinger Moore Howard – Berkeley Park Funeral Chapel. That did not help his cause. Eventually, things were worked out in the “pause” allowed by the updated landmark ordinance, and on July 27, the mortuary was designated as a landmark by the Denver City Council. It has a new owner and is home to a church and a school.
Carmen Court also had a “pause,” with numerous discussions that were not resolved between the developer and the applicants, even though there were options that were proposed.
As for Carmen Court, “mish-mash” was forgotten when other speakers talked about the beauty of the complex, the necessity to save buildings like Carmen Court and its history, and the fact that this complex has settled in quite nicely in its park-like setting in the neighborhood. A few speakers said that the Heritage “evaluation” really didn’t mean that drivers could only go one way by traveling north by the complex; instead, some speakers said the people who walk and bike on Emerson Street can enter that area in any direction. Landmark commissioners also referenced this.
The important part of the public hearing was the commission’s deliberation about dealing with four criteria that would require at least three criteria to consider it a potential landmark. The four criteria are listed at the top of this post, with one scratched out because it did not meet the mark.
The one rejected by landmark commissioners was this wording: It is a significant example of the work of a recognized architect or master builder. Burt L. Rhoads, the person who designed Carmen Court, didn’t fit that criterion, although speakers and commissioners believe the design is unique, eclectic and flows into Hungarian Park. But too few buildings by Rhoads did not make him a “recognized architect or master builder.”
However, the discussion noted the era where revival styles were important in Denver, that there was a sense of shifting styles in the city , the growth of Denver, “a visual story,” an urban setting, “uniqueness,” and a complex that was “still intact.”
All commissioners approved the designation, and it will be moved to Denver City council.
PLEASE NOTE: In Monday’s post about Carmen Court before the Denver Preservation Landmark Commission, I misread information in two stories that included links on that post. Apparently, all owners at Carmen Court want to sell to the developer, but there was a reference to other owners. That second set of owners actually meant the group that submitted an application for designation. In the future, when Carmen Court moves to City Council, I definitely will separate the owners from the other owners. So, I apologize, by mixing up too many owners.
Links below lead to stories about the landmark commission meeting: