Denver landmark designation controversy ends as neighbors pull software for Carmen Court docket constructing – The Denver Publish
Carmen Court, a 95-year-old Spanish and Pueblo revival style-influenced condo building in Denver’s Speer neighborhood, is no longer up for consideration as a city landmark, city officials said Monday.
Three neighborhood residents who filed an application with the city to see the building at 900 E. First Ave. designated historic and protected from demolition withdrew their application last week, said Katie Sisk, who owns one of the six condos in the yellow-tinted building.
“We’re truly grateful that three applicants withdrew the application for landmark status at Carmen Court. It was certainly the right thing to do,” Sisk said Monday. “This a huge win for the six units here at Carmen Court and for homeowners across the Denver metro area as a whole when it comes to property rights.”
The withdrawal comes on the heels of a City Council committee voting in favor of sending the application to the full City Council for a final decision. The application is no longer on the City Council’s agenda, a city official confirmed Monday.
The application — pitting Sisk and her fellow owners against historic preservation advocates and neighborhood residents who claim the building is a key piece of the community fabric — was filed this spring after the owners sought a certificate allowing for the demolition of the property. It was the most recent in a string of high-profile owner-opposed efforts to landmark a building in Denver.
Carmen Court’s owners have a contract in place to sell the building and the land it sits on to developer Hines, which plans to demolish the building to make ways for a senior housing complex.
Hines managing director Chris Crawford noted in a statement that his company reached a compromise with the three applicants, facilitated by city officials. Hines officials declined to get into the specifics of that deal but noted they still plan to move forward with the senior living project on the property.
“This is a positive outcome for homeowners in the Denver metro area – and most importantly the group of Carmen Court homeowners who championed this cause with patience and strength,” Crawford said in a statement.
Sarah McCarthy, one of the three residents who filed the application, did offer specifics on the arrangement with the developer.
Hines has agreed not to pull a demolition permit and level Carmen Court until it has all of the other permits and approvals it needs to start new construction, she said. That’s a process that could take months or years given the uncertainty in the economy, said McCarthy, a historic preservation consultant.
The agreement will remain in place on the property for four years even if Hines chooses to sell it to someone else, McCarthy said. It prevents a possible worst-case scenario in which, if the City Council had rejected the designation, Hines moves forward with demolishing the building and the lot sits vacant for a long time. She is hoping a buyer committed to saving the building may still emerge.
“We did not just give up,” McCarthy said. “Any day that the property doesn’t come down is a day it’s saved and gives it a chance for preservation.”