Best historic rehab (2000)
Sugar Building and Annex
It was downright bizarre. Over the last decade, one LoDo building after another has been cleaned up and given renewed life. But until late last year, the neighborhood's grand dame, the Sugar Building, and her Wazee Street consort, the Sugar Building Annex, stood right in the middle of this urban revival, empty and neglected. Both of these early-twentieth-century modernist buildings were designed by the distinguished Denver architectural firm of Gove and Walsh -- which also did Union Station and the Ice House -- and built as offices for the Great Western Sugar Company. Finally, a specially created corporation, Sugar Cubed LLC, stepped up last year. The restoration job it commissioned is fabulous and extremely light-handed. Credit for that goes to Josh Comfort, the Denver architect who let the beauty of the original buildings shine through. LoDo renovations are already old news, but thankfully, two of its best buildings didn't miss out.
Readers' choice: Forney Museum/REI