Update on The Tavern Uptown

Last week I wrote a blog post about the future of The Tavern Uptown, a fixture on the 17th Avenue corridor in the Uptown neighborhood just east of downtown Denver. The plan was to raze the building and redevelop the parcel to include a new Tavern Uptown and proposed 315 apartment units.

Recently Historic Denver, a NGO preservation group has launched an online petition campaign to save The Tavern Building which has a physical address of 538 East 17th Avenue. For more history about the Tavern Building, here is the link to Historic Denver’s “Historic Tavern Building” page.

While I will refrain from providing an opinion concerning The Tavern Uptown from my experience (both academic and professional) I am in general a fan of historic preservation. In many respects Denver has come to the game late concerning the preservation of our historic buildings. And I do not just reference pre WWII structures including the destruction of many gems within Downtown Denver under the guise of Urban Renewal; Denver has lost a few gems of mid-century modern architecture as well.

Yet I can also understand the owner of such a buildings position. While not technically a “taking”, placing Historic Designation” status on a building or neighborhood does place certain restrictions on future structural revisions. Yet I believe overall Historic Designations for buildings and neighborhoods overall retains and increases values when compared to the overall market.

While Denver has embarked on recognizing certain neighborhoods as historic i.e. Country Club and others, some would argue we are woefully behind versus cities such as New York, Boston and Philadelphia yet beyond the infancy of Los Angeles.

Concerning The Tavern Uptown (and again I have not reviewed the merits of the argument for historic preservation) I do hope the out-of-state developers are sensitive to the unique design of the building, its history in Denver and the overall urban fabric of the 17th Avenue corridor. A sensible solution may be the preservation of the facade or similar i.e. wrap the new development around and above the existing building.

For more information in addition to the link to Historic Denver above, check out the article in the Denver Business Journal.

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