UPDATE: Compromise Reached to Preserve Part of El Chapultepec Building

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UPDATE: Historic Denver and Monfort Companies Reach Compromise to Preserve Portion of Former El Chapultepec Building at 1962 Market

Historic Denver and Monfort Companies are pleased to announce a significant step forward in the redevelopment of the former El Chapultepec building at 1962 Market Street. Following a series of productive meetings over the past three months, a compromise has been reached that honors the historic and cultural significance of the property while introducing thoughtful modern enhancements.

Historic Denver and Monfort Companies have been working closely with local architects Chris Shears (SAR+) and Richard Farley (Richard Farley Urban Design), alongside project architect Peter Koliopoulos (Circle West Architects), to ensure that the vision of all parties is respected and fully realized. This collaboration has led to a design solution that meets community needs and operational goals, promising to revitalize the area while preserving its heritage.

Key Features of the New Design:

  • Preservation of Iconic Elements: The new design prioritizes the preservation of the building’s distinctive corner and signage. Portions of the original brick and iconic signage on the corner of Market & 20th Street, as well as elements of the north- and west-facing walls, will be preserved.
  • Innovative Structural Enhancements: The existing brick façade will be reinforced with load-bearing concrete masonry and structural steel columns, ensuring safety and stability. The new design will include a glass structure with a brick pattern etched into the glass, creating a contemporary yet historically respectful impression of the 130-year-old building.
  • Improved Safety and Visibility: The transparency of the new glass wall will transform the currently dark, windowless structure into a well-lit, pedestrian-friendly space, enhancing safety and visibility for downtown visitors.
  • Multi-level Activation: The project includes a second-story balcony extending from the adjacent historic building at 1320 20th St., providing additional activation and space for restaurant operators.

Click here to view additional renderings of the project by Circle West Architects.

Next Steps:

Historic Denver has withdrawn our application for landmark designation, and Monfort Companies has resubmitted the new project design to the Lower Downtown Design Review Commission (LDDRC) as of June 18, 2024. This mutual step underscores a joint commitment to the project and a collaborative approach to its development.

Why It Matters

“The story of our city is told by buildings large and small, grand and discrete. If the walls of 1962 Market Street could talk, they would tell the stories of the countless patrons, musicians, politicians, and even a U.S. president, who gathered at El Chapultepec, Denver’s legendary jazz club,” Historic Denver President & CEO John Deffenbaugh said. “The history of our city is being lost as places that tell Denver’s story, like El Chapultepec, are demolished.”

Historic Denver’s Role

Historic Denver has been working with the building owner, Monfort Companies, since last year to offer suggestions on adaptively reusing the former El Chapultepec building. We are pleased to announce that a significant compromise has been reached. Monfort Companies and Historic Denver have collaborated to develop a design solution that preserves key elements of the building while introducing modern enhancements. This compromise, achieved outside the landmark designation process, will protect this key piece of Denver’s history and ensure its legacy continues.


Since its construction in circa 1890, the building at 1962 Market Street has been home to a diverse range of uses, including a boarding house, bar, restaurant, and then the iconic jazz club El Chapultepec. The club was physical representation of former owner, Jerry Krantz’s vision to create an affordable and accessible place to experience excellent jazz music. Outwardly, it is an unassuming building with little ornamentation. However, as musicians took to its small stage, it gained a reputation as the place to play in Denver. El Chapultepec was host to numerous world class jazz musicians over the years. Stars from other genres such as The Police, ZZ Top, Mick Jagger, Dave Mathews, Santana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pat Morita, Ed Sheeran, and many more have visited or performed. Actors such as Christopher Walken have dropped by over the years, and President Bill Clinton played there in 1991. Even the legendary Frank Sinatra came to El Chapultepec.

El Chapultepec was truly a place that brought the stars and the common person together to enjoy great music, drinks, and burritos. It was a cultural phenomenon rarely experienced elsewhere, as someone of little means could join a high roller and experience some of the best jazz in the world. The business may be gone but the physical representation of that vision and what occurred there remains. Historic Denver believes that this representation is worthy of preserving and incorporating into future development plans for the site. Landmark designation does not freeze a building in time, but it does prevent it from being demolished. Buildings such as 1962 Market Street, and the stories they tell, anchor neighborhoods and provide a connection to Denver’s rich past.

Many of the buildings that have provided continuity within Denver’s changing urban landscape over the years are disappearing as neighborhoods are redeveloped. Historic Denver and community partners have been concerned that the El Chapultepec building could become another example of this pattern. In response, we applied for landmark designation to the City and County of Denver. However, after working closely with Monfort Companies and reaching a compromise solution that preserves key historic elements of the building, we have since withdrawn the application.

John Deffenbaugh, President and CEO of Historic Denver, said: “Existing buildings can evolve and change to meet modern needs. The thoughtful combination of new development and historic places is what sustains the authentic character of our city. Historic Denver acknowledges that the building needs love and care to bring it back to life, however there is no such thing as a terminal illness in buildings nor do buildings come with an expiration date.” A portion of the El Chapultepec building will continue to stand for many more years and serve as a reminder of the legendary venue and of the performers who played there.


Monfort and Historic Denver – Project Update FAQ June 18, 2024

Press Release March 19, 2024

Press Release March 12, 2024



Denver Post Editorial Supporting Preservation

Denver Gazette Follow-up


Denver Post


Denver Gazette

Business Den


Mile High CRE





Greeley Tribune


Updated June 24, 2024