Jesse Morreale's First Avenue Hotel slapped with notices to vacate...again

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Yes, that's the entrance to El Diablo, the restaurant in the big corner space of the old First Avenue Hotel building -- which was tagged, again, this morning with "Danger" signs and a notice to vacate...immediately. Two city officials, accompanied by a Denver police officer, posted the notices shortly after six this morning, as the kitchen crew was prepping for the day.

The notice to vacate, dated January 4, cites the original notices posted on July 10, when the circa 1906 building was first tagged by the city as an unsafe structure, citing agreed-upon work that had not been completed since the First Avenue Hotel had been given a temporary occupancy permit two years before. El Diablo and its sibling restaurant, Sketch, were closed for weeks before an emergency hearing on July 30 before the Board of Appeals determined that the building could reopen while owner Jesse Morreale worked with the city to determine what work, exactly, was required.

The first deadline set for that agreement was October 1, then October 31, and then the city pushed it back again until December 31. According to Andrea Burns, spokeswoman for the Denver Department of Community Planning, a letter was sent yesterday to Morreale's attorney noting that none of the repairs had been made, and no work plan was in place. That letter did not mention that the building would be slapped with a notice to vacate this morning.

Morreale, who hurried to his building this morning after hearing about the posting, says that he had sent three reports from structural engineers to the city, all verifying that the building is structurally sound. And he promises that El Diablo, which is still dressed up for the holidays, will be open today. Keep reading for the city's letter to Morreale's attorney.

Here's the January 3 letter from the city to attorney Jack Reutzel:

notice to vacate

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.