A few weeks back, Mayor John Hickenlooper announced that the city would sell Cableland, a swanky bachelor pad turned official mayoral residence, which had been donated to Denver by the late cable baron Bill Daniels. Proceeds would go to a scholarship foundation.
But not so fast. Last night, the Denver City Council tabled the plan, and councilwoman Jeanne Faatz is among many who have questions about a potential deal. Look below to get her views, as well as to see collected shots inside and outside the bacchanal bastion built by Daniels, who Westword described as "one of Denver's most notorious playboys."
Faatz sees "a number of issues" that argue against rushing ahead with a possible sale. For one thing, "it's fully endowed," she says, "so it's not costing the city a penny." For another, the council wasn't involved in the decision -- not even Marcia Johnson, in whose district Cableland is located.
She also wonders why Cableland has been underutilized. Daniels seemed more interested in the property being used for fundraising events rather than as a place for mayors to live, she believes -- lucky thing, since neither Hickenlooper nor his predecessor, Wellington Webb, ever made it their home. Does the facility sit empty so often because it needs upgrading, or has it simply been overlooked? She's not sure, and neither is she certain that a determination about it should be left solely to "a mayor who doesn't want to be mayor anymore" -- a reference to Hickenlooper's ongoing campaign for governor.
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According to her, numerous council members would also like a say in where the proceeds from a sale might go. Scholarships sound like a nice idea, she allows, but perhaps there are other worthy recipients. Might some of the cash be earmarked for the city, which has suffered from a severe revenue shortfall in recent years?
And that's not to mention the timing of a proposed transaction, during a period when the real estate market has tanked. A sale "could be extremely disruptive, and it would probably get a much lower price handling it now versus a different time or in a different way," Faatz believes.
On top of that, Faatz is concerned that a buyer might simply raze this "unique structure," and she and her colleagues would like to consider whether it's worth preserving. She hasn't been to Cableland in many years, and she's hoping a tour can be arranged, so she can see the place for herself before coming to any conclusions about putting it on the block.
The photos included in a gallery on the Cableland website are certainly striking. There's more than a little Graceland-like opulence on view. Page through below to get a glimpse of Daniels' swanky '80s pleasure palace: