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"We are losing part of our character": Building in Capitol Hill placed on demo list

Posted at 6:07 PM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 20:39:56-04

DENVER — Change is inevitable — especially in Denver — but it still leaves a bad taste in the mouths of some.

"We are losing part of our character and part of our soul, and I don’t know. I don’t know exactly what we’re gaining by it," Denver resident Shawn Long said.

At the end of February, a certificate of demolition eligibility was filed for 701 and 711 N. Grant St. The locations are where bars and restaurants like Vesper Lounge, Mizuna, Luca and Lou's Food Bar have called home for years.

Frank Bonanno leases the space for all four locations. He said the owner wants to sell.

"It’s heartbreaking a little bit, but you know with what we’ve been through in the past year, what could surprise you?" Bonanno said.

While he could technically be kicked out 90 days after the process is complete, Bonanno believes he has at least a couple of years before it's time to go. While he spent a good portion of his building up this block of eateries, the restaurant owner is concerned for the future of his 100 employees and the place he's help mold.

"I invested in this neighborhood for 20 years. I’ve obviously open four businesses in this neighborhood because I love this neighborhood character. I love the character of this neighborhood," Bonanno said.

But, there are people who plan to fight the demolition over historic designation.

Our own building, Denver7, which was built in the late 1960s, is also being sold. The new owners are looking to replace the building that is here as well. Just like, 701 and 711 N. Grant St., there is a group trying to stop that, saying the current building should be designated as a historic landmark."

March 19 was the last day to apply for a historic designation for the building. Now that the designation application has been filed, the City and County of Denver told Denver7 the following:

"A meeting will be arranged between the group that submitted the notices of intent and the property owners/representatives of the property owners to see if a compromise can be reached regarding the future of the property. If some kind of agreement is not reached, the group who submitted the notices have until April 27 (60 days from the application posting date, which was February 26 in this case) to submit a full application for historic designation of the properties. If such an application is submitted, then that process begins and involves hearings with the Landmark Preservation Commission, and City Council, who are the final decision-makers on designation. If no designation application is received, then the certificate of demolition eligibility would be granted to the property owners."

The Sherman Agency is in charge of the property. They could not be reached for comment.