The prominent mega-tent that has occupied much of the once-blighted Block 162 at the corner of 15th and California streets since June is coming down much earlier than expected. Known as the Peak, the fifty-foot-high, 20,000-square-foot carpeted and air-conditioned venue hosted movie premiers, concerts and the unofficial post-presidential acceptance-speech party during the Democratic National Convention.
"It's kind of brutal that we need to take that down," says Tom Wright, president of Wright Group, a local event-services company that owns the Peak. While the tent was originally granted a 180-day permit — it expired October 15 — Wright says city officials assured him that keeping it up longer wouldn't be a problem.
"We entered into the process with the understanding we could work this out. They said, 'Work with us, and we will work toward a way to figure this out,'" he adds.
But two weeks ago, the city's planning department denied his request to keep the tent in existence "in consideration of the more rigorous safety requirements for all structures that exist beyond 180 days, such as withstanding snow loads," says Julius Zsako, spokesman for the community planning and development department, who adds that he has no knowledge of anyone suggesting the tent could stay up longer.
Wright asked an engineer who has worked with Cirque du Soleil tents worldwide to testify as to the Peak's structural integrity but says officials didn't give him time to speak. Nor did they consider a list of businesses that planned to use the space. Because of that, Wright says, "We are going to take a serious loss, in the hundreds of thousands."
And he's not the only one who is disappointed. Developer Evan Makovsky, who bought most of Block 162 so it could be redeveloped, leased the space to the Wright Group for two years so that it could have some sort of use until construction begins on his own project. "Sometimes good intentions don't evolve as intended," Makovsky says.
Such is life under Denver's bureaucratic big top.
Tag, you're it: Over the past few years, Westword has been pretty attentive to the good, the bad and the ugly in Denver's growing graffiti scene, but we only recently came across a website, at www.magtfdenver.org, that lists every known graffiti crew in the region — a whopping 121 of 'em! The site is maintained by the Metro Area Graffiti Task Force, and the group's director, Englewood police officer Jason Pearson, says he posted it so the public could understand the alphabet soup of acronyms scrawled across garage doors and dumpsters.
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For example, BCK stands for Bombin' Cold Knights, while L2K means License 2 Kill. But not all crew names seek to inspire fear. PBK (Pretty Boy Krew), OMK (Open Minded Kings) and BCR (Boulder County Raised) sound like glee clubs gone bad.
Which makes us think that if opponents of graffiti want respect, they need to adopt crew names of their own. City council members Paul Lopez and Judy Montero could be Westside Administrative City Council Killas, aka WACCK. And the smooth talkers in Mayor John Hickenlooper's office should be HICK, or Hizzoner's Insidious Civic Krew. Now, that's scary.