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Historic 17th Street Bank to Become Hotel

You may have read about this a few days ago in Margaret Jackson’s article in the Denver Post, but Stonebridge Companies, a major Denver-based hospitality management and development firm, has recently purchased the former Colorado National Bank building at 17th and Champa in Downtown Denver.

The historic bank building, built in 1915, is a contributing structure to the Downtown Denver Historic District. Its neoclassical design was intended to convey a sense of respectability and security that one expects from a bank. In fact, when it opened, the bank’s boast was “the bank that looks like a bank”. The original 1915 structure included only the first three floors.  In 1926, an addition matching the original design was added along Champa Street, and then in 1964, an additional three floors were added featuring a design with a modern interpretation of the neoclassical base. On the left is a DenverInfill photo of the building from 2006 and on the right a Bing maps bird’s eye photo (click to embiggen):

Colorado National Bank at 17th & Champa 2009-12-24_cnb_birdseye

For more on the building’s history, please read Shawn’s post over at the Denver History Tours blog.  Shawn also has a follow-up post about the building’s beautiful murals inside. Also check out the building’s page at the Historic Denver website.

The building has sat vacant since 2007, and the building’s Champa Street side near the bus stop is particularly shabby looking.  Anyway, the good news is that Stonebridge is planning on converting the building into a boutique hotel and adding a few floors in the process.  JG Johnson Architects has been given the task of adding a contemporary addition above the 1960s addition which sits above the 1915 original base. That will be an interesting architectural challenge. I have no problem philosophically, however, with adding yet another addition to this building. Buildings, even historic buildings, need to evolve and flex over time to stay relevant and contributing to the vibrancy of the city.

Hopefully this proposal will stay on track and, in a few years, we’ll have a new hotel operating along 17th Street in a repurposed and scrubbed-up and slightly taller historic building that will thrive well into the new century.

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8 Comments

  1. MarkB says:

    This is fantastic news, and I can’t wait to have a drink in the lobby bar once the hotel opens. Having this important corner dead ever since US Bank moved out has made it feel less friendly. Childhood Christmas memory: singing in the lobby as part of the Cory Elementary School 6th grade choir, 1973.

  2. BruceQ says:

    Yes, truly excellent news! So glad the murals will be preserved for future generations. Interesting that the lobby, and the murals, are absent from Historic Denver’s “virtual tour.” You can see some of them at http://allentuppertrueanamericanartist.com/

    Oh, one other thing… “embiggen” Ken? A little Simpsons reference, or “click to enlarge” gotten too cliché for you? :)

  3. Derrick says:

    Since denverinfill is branching out…

    I recently noticed that the Four Points by Sheraton at Hampden & I-25 is now closed and has a fence around the entire property. It turns out, a major project is about to get underway that will convert the 35 year-old hotel building into a mixed use facility including senior housing, retail, and restaurants. While I’ve always thought the hotel was on a great piece of property, it is a very dated looking building. The new concept looks to update the existing building and make improvements to the property as a whole. Too bad it is going to be for senior living only…

    Check out the plans at: hphampden.com

  4. I am Allen True’s grandaughter and the co-author with my mother of the biography “Allen Tupper True: An American Artist.” It is very good news that the bank has been bought by Stonebridge Companies and will be turned into a hotel. The CEO is excited about the murals and will preserve them. He plans to install a bar on the mezzanine so patrons will have an eye-level view of the 16 murals. The “Indian Memories” murals are True’s finest and are a Colorado and national treasure. For more information about True go to: allentuppertrueanamericanartist.com
    Note to Mark B. I’ve heard from many people about their memories of being in the Colorado National Bank as children and loving the murals.
    Cheers, Victoria Tupper Kirby

  5. Adam says:

    Ken, are you a Simpson’s fan?

  6. Ken says:

    Adam and Bruce… I am a Simpsons fan, although I did not learn of “embiggen” from the show. It’s a word that was apparently in use to some degree in the 1800s and was revived by Lisa Simpson. Anyway, I greatly enjoy the word and I’m happy I recently stumbled across it. I find it particularly efficient and more fun to say than “enlarge”.

  7. BruceQ says:

    :) Fair enough! “More fun to say” is a perfectly good reason to use a word. And you’re right, it is direct and non-ambiguous, unlike disembark which always takes me half second to parse, or my favorite: ravel/unravel, both of which mean the same thing.

  8. Michael says:

    My Grandma, Great Grandma and Great, Great Grandma, all banked at that Bank, and as a Child we would all meet downtown at the bank to see the Giant Tree in the lobby, I would always look at the murals pointed out by my Grandmother. The 3 of my Grandmothers would take Money out of their Christmas Club accounts and we would either go eat at Woolworths cafeteria in the basement or the Denver Tea room. Then much to my dismay run all over downtown doing Christmas shopping at May D&F, (watching the ice skaters) Joslins, JC Penny’s Woolworths, the Denver Dry (checking out all the windows), Neustetters, MY GOD I am getting tired just thinking about it, when we would end at the Brown Palace looking at the lights. None of them drove so we would wait for someone to come pick us up, but it all started at the Bank. Colorado National Bank. We were not rich, but I sure felt Rich going there.. Great Childhood memories. I miss it all very much, I wish Downtown was still a major shopping mecca..