Why is it that developers or owners decide to submit the most totally crummy photographs in Denver’s application to tear a building down?

Perhaps, it’s because those who deal with the city’s Certificate of Demolition Eligibility process and their application submissions should be replaced by another apartment building?

After all, submitting the kill-the-building application costs $250, while the three people who must cough up $875 because they are not owners of the building/s. An owner who wants to have its building designated as a landmark only has to pay $250. Seems strange.

Demolition in Denver is a 12-ring circus, and there are now several people who want to fight for buildings. One of the more notable set of buildings housing four restaurants – Mizuna, Vesper Lounge, Lou’s Food Bar, and Luca – are located at East 7th Avenue and Grant Street.  Three local people have given the city a Notice of Intent. They will need to meet a deadline in late April if they submit an application for designation to the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission. But, if that doesn’t work, the certificate is approved, and the owner or developer has five years to consider how to proceed. 

This new move was reported in BusinessDen this morning about that trio.  In a podcast last week – the new City Cast Denver – featured an interview with Frank Bonanno, the restaurateur who owns the restaurants. He said he had tried to purchase the buildings, but didn’t have the funds to do so. 

In a story recently in Westword, there was this: “According to Hal Naiman, president of the Sherman Agency, the property — which the family and partners in the ownership group have had for sixty years — is not currently for sale; the Sherman Agency filed the application for non-historic status so that the company can explore its options.” 

The owners have been involved in owning the buildings for decades, and that is the same situation that many other owners want to, well, cash out or consider it. Add the long love affair with Racine’s, well, there you go, and the owners said that it was time to do other things, which is understandable.

What is strange to me is that little cluster of restaurants around East 7th Avenue and Grant Street seemed to be perfect for a walkable area — especially since there are so many new apartment buildings that would attract diners (although there are a few restaurants still in that area).

But then, there is this: The Channel 7 Building on Speer Boulevard (also in that neighborhood) submitted an application for designation a while ago. The trio that wants to save that building (which would be ripe for adaptive re-use) will show up at the April 6 landmark meeting to fight for it.

And, on the list the city maintains, there was a surprise that an International Style building at 3245 Eliot Street was designed by Eugene Sternberg, one of Denver’s most revered architects. The building was constructed in 1955, for the Denver Teamsters Union. Much later, Habitat for Humanity purchased it from an LLC, and, well, that was that. Unless another trio says, “Hey, let’s do it and find the $875, and create a designation application.” Stranger things have happened.

Links below include this morning’s BusinessDen story, a piece in Westword, the City Cast Denver, The Denver Channel, and the list compiled by the city’s Community Planning and Development agency. 




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