Recent articles in the Rocky Mountain News (A New Chapter for Duffy’s) and the Denver Business Journal (Tenants at Duffy’s Building Mark ‘End of an Era’) report that Brookfield Properties, owner of Republic Plaza, Denver’s tallest building at 56 stories, is in the process of purchasing the remaining portions of Block 209, which includes the historic buildings currently occupied by ground-floor tenants Duffy’s Shamrock Restaurant and Bar and Pizza Colore. Those two buildings (the “Duffy’s” building at 1635 Court Place, 16,767 SF built in 1899, and the “Pizza Colore” building at 1645 Court Place, 24,130 SF built in 1910) were not included in the Downtown Denver Historic District when it was created in 2000. According to the articles, Brookfield plans on constructing a 1,000-space parking garage with about 15,000 SF of ground-floor retail at the site.

Here are a few photos of the properties in question:

1635 Court Place (left) and 1645 Court Place (right):

1635 Court Place Detail:

1645 Court Place Detail:

It sure seems to me that these structures have sufficient architectural and historic characteristics that should have qualified them for inclusion in the Downtown Denver Historic District. I wonder why they were not included? Should these buildings be protected?

Other questions that come to mind regarding the proposed development of this 1,000-space parking garage … Is there really that much demand for additional parking in Downtown? Won’t the soon-to-open Southeast Light Rail line relieve some of the demand for parking in Downtown anyway? Given the infill developments proposed for the “sea of asphalt” around 20th & Welton, is Brookfield simply planning ahead for a future parking shortage caused by the removal of those surface lots? Brookfield owns the parking lot site behind the Pavilions at 15th and Tremont where, several years ago, it had proposed a new office tower. Could the construction of this new parking structure be related to the development of that site?

Things to think about in the ever-changing landscape of Downtown Denver.