By Conor McCue


DENVER (CBS4)– The future of Tom’s Diner, a well-known restaurant on East Colfax, is now in the hands of Denver’s City Council. On Tuesday, the Land Use, Transportation & Infrastructure Committee unanimously voted to advance the application for designation of landmark status to full council.

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The Denver Landmark Preservation Commission recommended Tom’s Diner get historic status last month. The building has been at its location at Colfax Avenue and Pearl Street for 52 years.

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The owner, Tom Messina, was trying to sell the building to developers, but community members heard about it and launched a campaign to save the diner.

Tom Messina (credit: CBS)

Denver business owner, Jessica Caouette, is one of the five people who submitted an application to get it landmark protection. She said she was surprised to hear of Messina’s plans for the diner.

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“We do think that this land is as valuable as Tom has been asking for,” Caouette said following the committee meeting. “We think there are developers out there that would love to spend that kind of money to bring something creative to the table.”

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Messina said this process feels like a land grab by the city. Landmark designation would spoil his plan to sell to a developer that plans to build an eight story apartment building.

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“If it should get zoned, then my value goes from eight stories to one story and that’s significant and that changes my future, my future plans, my kids’ plans, and it just doesn’t seem right after 20 years,” Messina said.

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While the commission is recommending the diner get that protection, the city council still has to give the final approval. It has until the end of the month to decide.

Conor McCue

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