DENVER (CBS4) – One of Park Hill’s original homes which was first inhabited by one of the developers of the Denver neighborhood could soon be torn down. 1980 Albion Street, known as “The Hut,” was sold in 2018 to new ownership with management that now claims the property’s renovation would require the entire home to be completely rebuilt.
The home, located one block east of Denver’s City Park, sits on a 0.77 acre lot. The original structure was built by developer Charles Alfred Johnson in 1901 on a larger lot. In the decades to follow, additions would increase the square footage of the house while sales of nearby plots would shrink the size of the overall lot.
As home and land values in Denver continue to rise, many grew uneasy about the home’s future. The new owner, listed as Historic Park Hill, LLC, purchased the property for just under $2 million.
“The new owners of 1980 Albion, most of whom live in Park Hill, had hoped to save the existing house,” Todd Parker of Historic Park Hill, LLC wrote CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “Fire damage, asbestos and decades of deterioration regrettably make renovation prohibitively expensive.”
A group of neighbors learned of the property’s pending fate and quickly sprung in to action to try and save the structure.
“It’s almost a piece of art,” said Angel Johnson, whose great-grandfather once lived in the home.
“Save The Hut” was born, and is operated by many residents of Park Hill as well.
“(The Hut) is just such a landmark of the history of this neighborhood,” said Erik Stark, spokesperson and advocate for Save The Hut. “It is one of a kind, it really is.”
Surrounded by safety and security fencing, The Hut is currently being treated for asbestos contamination. As crews worked to properly remove the asbestos, those with Save The Hut reached out to ownership in hope of saving the property.
The group originally compiled paperwork and other information in hope of qualifying the property for historic preservation. Though they said the home met all Denver city standards, the application was unsuccessful without the approval of ownership.
“An essential criteria of Landmark designation is that a structure retain its historical integrity. The original house at 1980 Albion has been added onto multiple times, erasing its initial design. To be safe and code compliant, the house would need to be completely rebuilt, at enormous cost and, at the same time, eliminating any remaining historical integrity,” Parker wrote in a statement.
Though the home’s future is under debate with Park Hill residents, the property is on the market for sale. Parker told CBS4 a potential buyer could have the land, and aging home, for $2.6 million.
“The history is part of what makes this city what it is,” Johnson said. “It is all too easy in this day and age to just bulldoze it over.”
Johnson and Stark said they knew, now, it was easier for ownership to obtain a bulldozing permit than it was to find a way to keep the structure standing.
“(The future of the property) is often driven more by developer dollars than what does the community actually want,” Stark said. “(Ownership) wants the land. They want to build multiple houses here.”
Parker assured, in his statement, ownership would do their best to provide a promising future for neighbors of 1980 Albion St.
“The direct neighbors of the property want a clean, safe site built to fit the scale and character of Park Hill. That is exactly what the current owners plan to deliver,” Parker wrote.
However, those with Save The Hut feared that plan did not include intentions to keep the home standing for another family to inhabit.
“(The home’s history) adds character and tells us who we were. I think that is worth preserving,” Johnson said.
“We feel it is a tremendous loss for the entire neighborhood, for the community and the history of Denver if this house goes,” Stark said.
If you would like to learn more about Save The Hut’s mission, visit savethehuthouse.com.