NewsFront RangeDenver


Neighbors push to save Royal Palace Motel's neon sign after $7.3M developer purchase

After the purchase of the Royal Palace Motel by Laramar group, some local residents are trying to save the motel's neon sign.
Posted at 7:37 PM, Jan 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-19 21:37:03-05

DENVER — The aging Royal Palace Motel on Colorado Boulevard was purchased for $7.3 million on Tuesday, according to property records.

The purchase was made by real estate firm Laramar Group a decade after the motel was shut down.

Built in 1969, the Royal Palace was dogged by reported crimes and unsolved murders. Laramar Group plans to build a six-story apartment building on the one-acre site with at least 153 units, according to city records.

Some residents on nearby Colfax Avenue hope the new development won't lead to the demolition of the motel's neon sign. Aaron Stephens called the sign a city landmark and said it should be preserved.

"They can tear down the rest of the building, but they should keep the sign," said Stephens.

The motel's prolonged criminal activity led to a number of ghost stories. Stephens said although it's time for a new apartment building, the sign should stay as a piece of that ghostly history.

"It's a worthy piece of our shared creepy heritage that we should all try to save," said Stephens. "I've always loved it, even though, you know, it's absolutely hideous."

Stephens isn't alone in his support for the neon sign. Todd Matufzewicz, the manager at Morry's Neon Signs, said it's possible to preserve the sign while also allowing Laramar's proposed development.

For 80 years, Morry's Neon Signs has worked to preserve the neon lights on Colfax.

"If you look at historical photos of Colfax, almost every business had a neon sign," said Matufzewicz.

Morry's has saved and restored hundreds of Denver's neon signs. Matufzewicz said it's possible to remove the motel's sign and restore it in a museum or collection, but the most effective way to preserve the piece to incorporate it into the new building.

"The best practice for saving a neon sign is to save it in place," said Matufzewicz.

Neon lights have gradually faded from use. LED lights are generally cheaper and more effective options. The use of neon lights saw a brief resurgence in the 1990s before gradually fading away once again. Matufzewicz said there's been a recent push to preserve neon signs.

"Neon has kind of a cyclical life. It's gone through like four cycles of life and almost death, and then life and almost death," said Matufzewicz. "Now it's on the rise again."

Neighbors push to save Royal Palace Motel's neon sign after $7.3M developer purchase

D7 follow up bar 2460x400FINAL.png
The Follow Up
What do you want Denver7 to follow up on? Is there a story, topic or issue you want us to revisit? Let us know with the contact form below.