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South Broadway music venue relying on donations after flooding from water line break

HQ was informed by its insurance adjuster that its policy will likely not cover the damages since the water line break occurred outside of its walls, co-owner Scott Happel said.
HQ on Broadway flooded
Posted at 8:00 PM, Aug 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-24 01:29:21-04

DENVER — The HQ music venue on South Broadway is closed indefinitely after a water line break flooded its basement last week. The venue is now accepting donations to help shoulder the costs of repairs and closure.

The venue was informed by its insurance adjuster that its policy will likely not cover the damages since the break occurred outside of its walls, co-owner Scott Happel said.

Happel was at dinner last Tuesday evening when he got a call from his landlord, saying that the neighboring business was seeing water coming in through its walls. Happel arrived at HQ to find its basement completely filled with water.

“This is a 3,200 square-foot basement,” Happel said from the basement Wednesday, now dotted with dehumidifiers and covered in mud. “To fill up 3,200 square-feet, with 10 to 12-foot ceilings, with water is kind of an unimaginable amount of water.”

Wall of HQ basement caved in
A wall in the basement of music venue HQ caved in following flooding from a water line break

According to Denver Water, it was a “customer-owned” water line that broke, and crews responded early August 16 to repair the leak. The force of the water was so strong, it caused one of the walls of HQ’s basement to give way and broke through an interior door. A representative for Denver Water said it has not identified an “exact cause” for the break but ruled out the ongoing construction project along Broadway.

“All we know for sure is that the broken customer-owned service line was not directly hit by the separate construction project occurring on this block,” Communications Manager Travis Thompson said.

Happel is expecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages and lost business. His best guess is reopening in November.

“It’s an unbelievably long time,” Happel said. “And on top of that, if you’re a music venue, October is always your busiest, most profitable month of the year.”

All shows at HQ through Labor Day have been canceled, and more announced cancellations are likely in the coming days as engineers get a better idea of the scope of repairs needed for save reopening. Still, tickets are “for sale” on HQ’s website, as a method of donation for fans who want to support the venue’s repairs.

“Our concept was sort of like, you’re buying a ticket to us ever having concerts again,” Happel laughed. “You just donate what you’re comfortable donating, and it comes to help us cover all of this craziness … Every dollar helps a lot.”

To donate to HQ, click here.


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