One less ugly, crumbling parking lot; one more nice Denver building. For the last several years, the Civic Center Office Building, a gleaming new twelve-story edifice, has been rising at the north end of Civic Center Park. When it opens this summer, the structure, designed by David Owen Tryba with RNL Design, will provide badly needed office space for the City and County of Denver. The building -- especially the main tower, a contemporary neo-modernist confection with dramatically curving walls of aluminum and glass -- will also provide a nice complement to the rigidly rectilinear 1949 city-owned international-style Annex I, which will be connected to it by a large atrium. The new building's height allows a graceful transition between the relatively low profile of the monumental public buildings of the Civic Center and the much taller commercial skyscrapers just behind it in the central business district.


Annex I was used for decades as offices for the City and County of Denver, but it was originally built in 1949 as part of a never-finished and ultimately abandoned downtown campus for the University of Denver. It was designed by local architects Smith, Hegner and Moore, with G. Meredith Musick. And although Annex I is radically different from the older neo-classical buildings in the Civic Center, it blends in because it's been appropriately clad in a similarly cut gray stone. Despite the many architectural plaudits Annex I has received, however, over the years it became a sport among amateurs to hate it, and the administration of Mayor Wellington Webb threatened to demolish it. So it was a surprise when Webb actually saved Annex I, including it in the city's plans for the new Civic Center Office Building. Government work has become a little easier to look at.
Annex I was used for decades as offices for the City and County of Denver, but it was originally built in 1949 as part of a never-finished and ultimately abandoned downtown campus for the University of Denver. It was designed by local architects Smith, Hegner and Moore, with G. Meredith Musick. And although Annex I is radically different from the older neo-classical buildings in the Civic Center, it blends in because it's been appropriately clad in a similarly cut gray stone. Despite the many architectural plaudits Annex I has received, however, over the years it became a sport among amateurs to hate it, and the administration of Mayor Wellington Webb threatened to demolish it. So it was a surprise when Webb actually saved Annex I, including it in the city's plans for the new Civic Center Office Building. Government work has become a little easier to look at.


Historically known as the Gates Mansion, the fabulous house that sits high above the corner of Fourteenth Avenue and Josephine Street is an easy-to-recognize landmark. Built for merchant Russell Gates in 1892, the fine Richardsonian-Romanesque residence is noteworthy for its monumental stone arches and elegant massing. The identity of the designer is unknown, but it's thought to have been architect H. Chatten. Unfortunately, the house was divided into apartments nearly twenty years after its completion, and it later became a boardinghouse. In 1984 it got a slight rehab and was turned into an office building. More recently, the building was acquired by the Del Norte Neighborhood Development Corporation, which completely renovated and expanded it last summer. The mansion is now a housing-and-care facility for formerly homeless people with HIV, and it has been renamed Dave's Place. Surprisingly, the neighbors didn't complain as they might have done in another neighborhood when faced with the combination of homelessness and HIV. Location, location, location.
Historically known as the Gates Mansion, the fabulous house that sits high above the corner of Fourteenth Avenue and Josephine Street is an easy-to-recognize landmark. Built for merchant Russell Gates in 1892, the fine Richardsonian-Romanesque residence is noteworthy for its monumental stone arches and elegant massing. The identity of the designer is unknown, but it's thought to have been architect H. Chatten. Unfortunately, the house was divided into apartments nearly twenty years after its completion, and it later became a boardinghouse. In 1984 it got a slight rehab and was turned into an office building. More recently, the building was acquired by the Del Norte Neighborhood Development Corporation, which completely renovated and expanded it last summer. The mansion is now a housing-and-care facility for formerly homeless people with HIV, and it has been renamed Dave's Place. Surprisingly, the neighbors didn't complain as they might have done in another neighborhood when faced with the combination of homelessness and HIV. Location, location, location.
Charlie Woolley, who specializes in rehabbing historic buildings, has earned a reputation as one of Denver's most creative and thoughtful developers. For his latest effort, he poured $20 million into the three former Karmen Western Wear buildings on Wazee Street between 15th and 16th streets -- which he's dubbed the Hardware Block -- and turned them into lofts, offices and stores. But the project was no ordinary one. With the help of architect Josh Comfort, Woolley has transformed the former eyesores into showplaces. For instance, the tawdry fake stone that long covered one of the buildings has been removed, revealing red brick, and a long-lost cornice was restored to another of the structures. That's a nice development in a wonderful part of town.
Charlie Woolley, who specializes in rehabbing historic buildings, has earned a reputation as one of Denver's most creative and thoughtful developers. For his latest effort, he poured $20 million into the three former Karmen Western Wear buildings on Wazee Street between 15th and 16th streets -- which he's dubbed the Hardware Block -- and turned them into lofts, offices and stores. But the project was no ordinary one. With the help of architect Josh Comfort, Woolley has transformed the former eyesores into showplaces. For instance, the tawdry fake stone that long covered one of the buildings has been removed, revealing red brick, and a long-lost cornice was restored to another of the structures. That's a nice development in a wonderful part of town.


The Reyes Building is just a shell of its former self, a circa 1889 storefront that housed the once-bustling Paso del Norte, an early Mexican cafe that catered to all the folks who frequented the markets, resale shops and little businesses in the 2100 block of Larimer Street. But after a fire hit the building over a decade ago, it sat boarded up, a blight on the ever-brightening Ballpark Neighborhood. And then along came Karle Seydel, former head of the Ballpark Neighborhood group, who'd watched all the development going on -- and up -- in his back yard and decided to get in on the game, too. But he did it right. Working in conjunction with the building's owners, Marcellino and Elisa Reyes, Seydel stripped the structure down to its initial components and is building two lofts and commercial space into an essentially new building that will fit right in with the character of Larimer Street's old roots. What's new is old again.
The Reyes Building is just a shell of its former self, a circa 1889 storefront that housed the once-bustling Paso del Norte, an early Mexican cafe that catered to all the folks who frequented the markets, resale shops and little businesses in the 2100 block of Larimer Street. But after a fire hit the building over a decade ago, it sat boarded up, a blight on the ever-brightening Ballpark Neighborhood. And then along came Karle Seydel, former head of the Ballpark Neighborhood group, who'd watched all the development going on -- and up -- in his back yard and decided to get in on the game, too. But he did it right. Working in conjunction with the building's owners, Marcellino and Elisa Reyes, Seydel stripped the structure down to its initial components and is building two lofts and commercial space into an essentially new building that will fit right in with the character of Larimer Street's old roots. What's new is old again.


The concrete building that is now the Colorado Business Bank was originally constructed in 1907 for Charles Boettcher's Ideal Cement Company. Twenty years later, it was completely redone by the premier Denver architects of the time, Fisher and Fisher, who converted the ordinary building into a remarkable structure encrusted with terra-cotta decorations and lined with luxurious surface treatments, including metal and plaster bas-reliefs, engraved metals, and terrazzo in elaborate multicolored patterns. Although the building was fairly well maintained, time eventually took its toll on the paint and plaster -- and even the terrazzo. That's why Evan Makovsky, who bought the building a couple of years ago for the bank, asked Sprung Construction to give it a thorough going-over last summer. The interior and exterior were restored beautifully, and the heavenly ceiling was expertly touched up by the International Fine Art Conservation Studio. Makovsky took a personal interest in the project, and it shows.

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