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Tavern Uptown Still Up and Running — Community Meeting on Project Next Week

The Tavern Platt Park has finally announced an opening date: Monday, February 29. Tavern Hospitality Group broke ground three years ago at the 1475 South Pearl address once occupied by India’s Pearl (and many occupants prior to that); while the project team was unable to save the facade, as Historic Denver and some neighbors had hoped, the front is faced with the original bricks, and the building seems to fit in just fine on this stretch of South Pearl. 

Meanwhile, another Historic Denver discussion involving a Tavern is about to open another chapter. Last year, THG sold the site at the corner of Pearl Street and East 17th Avenue that has long been home to the Tavern Uptown; new owners Southern Land Company planned to take down all the buildings on the 500 block of 17th and put up a multi-family development on the resulting 1.5 acre site. In fact, the developer had already secured permission to demolish the structure — a turn-of-the-last-century grocery store — after the city deemed it non-historic. While not the developer, Tavern Uptown would get a space in the new complex, complete with a rooftop deck to replace the popular patio. According to the original schedule, Tavern Uptown would close right after the Super Bowl while construction got under way.

But Tavern Uptown is still very much open, and likely will be through the summer.

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That's because when neighbors complained about plans for the new development, Historic Denver created a petition asking for the corner building to be saved; it collected 1,700 signatures. Historic Denver also reached out to the Southern Land Company, and “they were very receptive about how to potentially save the Tavern building,” the nonprofit reports. In fact, the Historic Denver site features this proposed solution:

The Tavern Building, and the adjacent one-story building to the west, is part of a series of streetcar commercial buildings that line this section of 17th Avenue. To preserve the exterior of the buildings and honor the existing street pattern and pedestrian experience, SLC has agreed to explore in good faith a site plan that pulls the new structure back from 17th, retaining the Tavern building and the most significant aspects of the adjacent one-story building, as well as the traditional scale of 17th Avenue. SLC can do this by shifting some of the units that would have been built along 17th by adjusting the zoning to allow for two more floor plates. However, it is important to note that even with these additional floor plates, the project will not exceed the current height limit set by the existing zoning, which is 110 ft at the northern portion of the site and 70 ft at the southern, 16th Street edge. A zoning change is only required to allow for the additional floor-plates, and would not result in additional maximum height. This means that what could have been an 8-story, 110 foot building at 17th will now be a 10-story, 110 foot building pulled back from 17th, stepping down to a six story, 70 foot building at 16th. Historic Denver supports this proposal and has entered into a legal agreement with SLC outlining the details. SLC and Historic Denver have further written and agreed to execute a second, even more detailed, Preservation Agreement that will protect the Tavern Building long into the future. The Preservation Agreement would take effect if the re-zoning solution is approved. 

You can hear more about the proposed solution at a neighborhood meeting hosted by Historic Denver, Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods and other groups at 6 p.m. Wednesday, February 17, at Denver Community Church, 1595 Pearl Street. Find out more at historicdenver.org.

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