DENVER (CBS4) – Investors who purchased the former Evans School building in Denver’s Golden Triangle neighborhood plan to create restaurants and retail space while opening offices in the upper floors of the historic landmark. Built in 1904, the site has remained unoccupied for 47 years.
“We love old buildings and most of our inventory of stuff that we’ve work on is in fact made up of old historic buildings,” said Pat McHenry with City Street Investors. “The bones of this building are just incredible, it’s beautiful.”
City Street Investors renovated Union Station in Denver’s Lower Downtown and see a similar vision for the Evans School building. Dining options, stores and commercial space will be a part of their goals over the next 18 months. Before then, they will look for short term rentals and host events on site. The Urban Land Institute held a debate and Christmas party there earlier this month.
“It was a great way to see the building start to come alive,” McHenry said about their first event. “We’ve never bought a historic building in this good of shape.”
The ground floor features an engine room with exposed brick, and McHenry says they plan to build a kitchen around that space. The school still has three stairwells with copper finishes throughout the floor plan. Classrooms feature views of downtown and an auditorium that can host ticketed events. There is also a rooftop patio on the third floor with views to the west.
Where there was once a playground and basketball court, now a courtyard and lawn in front of the building will provide more patio space and outdoor use for businesses. The school is a Denver landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
“People have been trying to come in and do something cool but the sellers were just not ready,” McHenry told CBS4 on Friday. “It’s a real amenity to the area you just don’t see in a dense populated neighborhood.”
Developers have eyed this property for years, and while the owners held out on selling it, they maintained much of the facility. McHenry says that makes it easier to renovate compared to most landmarks in the city. Located a block away from the Denver Art Museum and close the downtown branch of the Denver Public Library, City Street Investors say they can turn the Evans School into a new gathering spot for the neighborhood.
“We envision this will be the heart of Golden Triangle, that’s certainly our goal,” she said. “To really have the concentration of community come here.”