Earlier this year, Servicios de la Raza, which owned the building, sold it to developer Paul Tamburello and business partner Jack Pottle, who are planning to restore the turn-of-the-century structure to its original state, a process that meant removing the mural, which had been partially painted onto a 1970s-era addition to the building.
That addition was completed while the building was occupied by Servicios. Funded by a 1970s-era grant from the Nixon Administration, Servicios began as a Chicano-focused mental-health agency and has since added other programs, such as emergency services, youth programs, domestic-violence resources and more to assist underserved, GLBTQ and immigrant populations in Denver. This week, the organization will move to a more central location in order to better serve those groups.
But Servicios executive director Rudy Gonzales says this isn't a simple case of an overzealous developer discarding a neighborhood's past in order to make way for a new and very different demographic. After looking long and hard at other offers, he believes that Tamburello and Pottle will work hard to retain the neighborhood's spirit.
"We sat down with Paul and Jack and [City Councilwoman] Judy Montero and some of our clients who are community members in the neighborhood to talk about the building being sold," says Gonzales. "Judy and I were concerned about the murals -- but the thing that Jack and Paul did was take the time to really listen to us."