1600 & 1618 E. Colfax Ave.

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Opposing Demolition of 1600 & 1618 East Colfax Avenue

1600 and 1618 East Colfax have been unoccupied for five years, with little attempt made by the owner of the buildings to secure and maintain them. In March 2024, a fire broke out in 1600 East Colfax, damaging the interior. 1618 East Colfax was largely unharmed. In June, the property owner argued that the buildings are not historic and sought permission from the Landmark Preservation Commission to demolish them. This was unanimously rejected by the commission.

The property owner has cited public health and safety concerns as a reason to demolish 1600 and 1618 East Colfax. The current condition of the buildings and the safety concerns they are undeniably creating in the surrounding area are a direct result of the property owner failing to adequately secure and protect the structures.

For further reading, check out this Denverite article, providing background into the property owner’s previous attempt to demolish the buildings in 2018. The article also includes photographs of the buildings’ stunning interiors prior to their deterioration.

Why It Matters

1600 and 1618 East Colfax are located in the Wyman historic district, which was designated by city council in 1993. Both buildings are “character contributing” structures within the historic district, meaning that their presence is integral to the character of the overall district and they cannot be demolished without approval from the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission.

In the 1890s, East Colfax was one of Denver’s most prestigious residential streets. 1600 East Colfax was home to notable architect George Williamson from 1920 until his death in 1936. Williamson’s designs are seen throughout the city in landmark residences and several schools, including East High School, Smiley Middle School, and Teller Elementary. 1600 and 1618 East Colfax are the last remaining historically protected large homes on East Colfax. Together, they provide insight into the transition of the corridor from a street lined by the homes of prominent Denver residents to the commercial center it has now become.

The shop front additions illustrate a key movement in Denver, and across the nation, when residential structures on busy streets were converted into shops, bars, and restaurants by way of contemporary street-facing additions in the Art Moderne style from the 1930s to 1950s.

Historic Denver’s Role

Historic Denver opposes demolition of 1600 and 1618 East Colfax. The current property owner purchased the buildings in 2017 knowing their historic status, a legal framework which has existed since the Wyman historic district was created in 1993. Approving demolition of buildings afforded the highest level of protection available in Denver creates a dangerous precedent that could result in the razing of landmarked buildings elsewhere in the city. Historic Denver seeks to bring together local stakeholders and the property owner to have a meaningful conversation about next steps and a way forward that involves the retention of the existing historic buildings.

Our understanding is that the property owner already has a plan progressing through the city permitting process to reuse and rehabilitate the historic buildings and construct a multistory residential structure in the parking lot behind them, and that this plan is very close to being fully permitted. We urge the property owner to implement this plan, retaining the existing buildings and creating much needed housing in the new structure.

Your Support

Membership and donations go toward supporting important advocacy efforts like this one. Become a member of Historic Denver today to support future preservation efforts!

Updated July 10, 2024

Google Street View of 1600 & 1618 E. Colfax Ave from 2014 to 2024