The First Avenue Hotel has seen a lot over the past century, but the wildest chapter started three years ago, in July 2012, when the city slapped a notice to vacate on the circa 1906 building that developer Jesse Morreale had purchased in 2008 and renovated, arguing that the structure was unsafe because Morreale had failed to make all the repairs required when a temporary occupancy permit was issued in 2010. Morreale appealed the action to the Board of Appeals, and was allowed to re-open his two restaurants, Sketch and El Diablo, in the first floor of the building. But the problems were only pushed aside temporarily; the city posted another notice on the building again in January 2013. After more legal maneurvering, Morreale held one last bash in May that year and then boarded up the whole building.
And the boards stayed up through the building's standing-room-only auction in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on December 3. After heated bidding, the winner was Digital Cowboy LLC, headed by Denver developer Jeff Oberg, who bid $6.55 million.
That sale is schedule to be finalized today....when the winning bidder pays for the prize in cash.
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What's the next chapter for the First Avenue Hotel? It's definitely going to stick around, because the building is a designated Denver landmark. But what will be inside? Stay tuned.