Nip It in the Bud

"We've done our thing and worked hard and pleased a lot of customers," adds Vern.

Those customers keep stopping in, to pick up flowers and say a few heartfelt words. "I'm going to miss you guys," says one woman. "It just breaks my heart." She's been visiting Alpha--not just for the flowers, but also for the company--since she started working upstairs over three years ago.

Her workplace, however, is in no immediate danger of eviction. She works for the Denver County Court. Since 1992, the city has leased 21,245 square feet of space on the top floor of the hotel, where it's stashed five county courtrooms and assorted offices that once were shoehorned into overcrowded City Hall. Adam's Mark does not give this space to the city in exchange for the whopping subsidy it's received from DURA, or even out of gratitude for the city looking the other way when Kummer and HBE lost a court case because of racist behavior at their St. Louis Hotel (behavior that's spilled over into Denver, according to complaints filed by a half-dozen employees here).

No, Denver shells out $292,359 a year to Kummer for the space.
The city's lease goes through 2002; so far, HBE has not demanded an increase in rent.

On September 25 Adam's Mark will hold a "topping out" ceremony for its big box. From the roof, invited guests will be able to look out over downtown's changed landscape--a "major league" sports bar and a ballerina sculpture by a "nationally renowned artist" will stand where the hyperbolic paraboloid, that major-league building inspired by internationally renowned architect I.M. Pei, once soared--and sign the last beam before it's hoisted into place. On top of the beam will be an evergreen--not, however, one from Alpha Floral. The invitation, which is designed to look like a blueprint, has a box with design specs conveniently covering the section of the building currently occupied by small businesses that have been given thirty days to get out.

"Throughout history," the Adam's Mark invite advises, topping-out ceremonies "have included everything from human sacrifices to planting trees."

At Adam's Mark, human sacrifices are a time-honored tradition.
Wrap up one rose.

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