At some point late last night or early this morning, I received an email from Friends of Carmen Court.
I signed up to be a member months ago, when I began writing about the history – and the potential fate – of Carmen Court. The Friends group totals about 400 members. It was well worthwhile tracking the situation by watching meetings of the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission and the Denver City Council’s Land Use, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
But back to that email, which I read after I slogged through other messages dealing with other things. But, things have changed.
So, below is from Friends of Carmen Court, and it is an extremely gracious note:
We have agreed to a compromise with Hines that could provide an opportunity to save Carmen Court from demolition. We entered into this process in good-faith, and participated as outlined in the demolition review ordinance, which is intended to give us the collective time to seek a preservation solution. We worked for many months to find just such a solution, and were willing to agree to a number of different compromise options, including additional development on the site. We also sought alternative buyers for the site, and still hold out hope that one will come forward.
However, as the end of this process looms, we have agreed to withdraw our designation application. The owners of the building are our neighbors, and while we hoped they would change their minds and support the preservation of this structure, they have not. We wish them the best as they move on from this property.
The responsibility for the site and its future will now lie in the hands of the developer, Hines, and we have been assured, through a private agreement, that the building will remain standing for as long as it takes Hines to seek concept approvals and building permits from the City for a new structure. This agreement will run with the land, in the event that Hines sells the site before development occurs. Useful housing could be maintained while new construction, financial and administrative hurdles are addressed. We asked for this commitment to avoid a worse-case scenario – the loss of the building and a languishing vacant site – as has unfortunately occurred in the past. Vacant and abandoned properties are more than just a symptom of larger economic forces at work in the community; their association with crime, increased risk to health and welfare, plunging property values, and escalating municipal costs make them problems in and of themselves, contributing to overall community decline and disinvestment.
We still believe that this property is important to Denver’s history. Carmen Court is an integral part of our neighborhood and holds historic value to our city – as confirmed unanimously by the Denver Landmark Commission this summer, and affirmed by the more than 400 people who have supported the effort to save the building. With the encouragement of many of our close neighbors we worked through many months of negotiations; offering potential new buyers and suggesting compromises to the development plans while trying to educate the opposition of the much-needed preservation. We honestly believe that this path provides the best hope for the preservation of Carmen Court by keeping the building intact for as long as possible. Time might be on our side with this compromise.
Thank you for your support. We are grateful for all of the energy that so many of you have put into this effort. We appreciate Councilman Jolon Clark’s assistance in coming to this agreement, and expect that the City of Denver, including the Building Department, will carefully monitor this site as it moves through the development process, whether this year or down the road, to ensure that no pre-emptive demolition occurs. We will keep the Friends of Carmen Court email and Facebook page active so that we can continue to update our neighbors.
Friends of Carmen Court
Now, this is where things stand. I have no links, but it has been a damn fine argument to keep this complex standing. Dream on.