Photos: Gates preservation bid rejected by landmark commission

gates thumb.jpg
Big photos below.
College student Eugene Elliott's campaign to save remaining buildings at the old Gates Rubber factory on South Broadway from demolition, the subject of last month's feature "Trouble in the Rubble," has failed to impress Denver's Landmark Preservation Commission -- which voted 9-0 yesterday not to recommend landmark status for the property because of its highly limited preservation potential and concerns about the "integrity" of the site.

Elliott had filed an application seeking historic protection for the manufacturing plant, a warehouse and power plant, touching off public debate over what should be done with the ruins, which have been vacant for decades. At one point, development company Cherokee Denver had begun razing structures and doing extensive environmental cleanup on the heavily polluted site before losing its funding in the economic meltdown. The Gates Corporation has since reclaimed the property and contended that the buildings need to be taken down in order to address chemical contamination in the soil beneath the foundations.

gates factory 1.jpg
Drew Winners
Elliott's application drew opposition at the public hearing not only from Gates executives but neighborhood groups that had worked extensively on efforts to redevelop the site. "When the plant thrived, we thrived," said Richard Taylor, a 26-year resident of neighboring Athmar Park. "And we can thrive again with the redevelopment of this site."

Elliott, though, contended that Cherokee's plan to turn the forty-acre site into a high-density "urban village" built from the ground up isn't the only possible alternative for development. "How can it be said that you've exhausted all possible options based on one idea?" the University of Colorado senior asked the commission members.

Several of the opponents pointed out that Gates and community groups had already done extensive assessment of the environmental and structural hurdles to preserving the buildings. But other speakers supported Elliott's application, including West Washington Park historian (and former LPC member) Sarah McCarthy.

"I still get grief for letting Montgomery Ward come down in 1990," McCarthy told the panel, referring to the sprawling big-box development that now stands at Alameda and Broadway. "Preservation is a strong value in Denver. Preservation isn't easy, and clearly, some find it frightening."

gates photo 2.png
@briantemple
But Annie Levinsky, executive director of Historic Denver, said her group supported the Gates company's proposal to provide interpretive memorials of some kind within the new development while designating the remaining buildings as "non-historic" and expendable. Commission members acknowledged that the buildings met basic criteria for historic preservation but added that the environmental issues, neighborhood cries for action on the site, and the sheer scale of the deteriorating buildings made Gates a unique case.

"This is very different from LoDo," noted LPC chairman Dennis Humphries.

The application now goes to Denver City Council, which has the final say on any landmark designation. But it goes with no support from the commission, and councilman Chris Nevitt, whose district includes the Gates property, has vowed to oppose any further impediments in the long struggle to redevelop the site.

Look below for additional views of the Gates factory, and see more in our Gates slideshow.

gates factory 3.jpg
724Industries

8115171.87.jpeg
724Industries
Continue to see more photos inside and outside the Gates Rubber factory.


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
8 comments
Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

I've spent the majority of my fourty-three years near or around the area in question . I worked for Gates in their military battery division . It was located across the street from the structures in question . Where many who have worked in the rubber division , developed incurable diseases  later after leaving or retiring .

I truly do NOT see the point in 'rescuing' Gates Rubber . It's not a vital part of the history of the city or the state .

If anything , allow light rail / RTD  the opportunity to develop the land . Perhaps they could preserve part of the old plant if they were to move the center for operations to the Gates location .

I do applaud the young man's work  put into saving the old plant but do not share his goals .

Those old buildings have LONG since , served their purpose . They should have been ,                  " PULLED ! " , ( Hence the Murdoch reference to Bld #7 following 811 . ) , long ago ....

Colleen Luckett
Colleen Luckett

I think it's beautiful urban blight, and it's one of my favorite things in Denver, but it's a hazard. Time to let go.

Naomi Wolinsky
Naomi Wolinsky

Wr live in such a throw away culture. It truly is shameful.

Cindy Hill
Cindy Hill

Knock it down. I like the idea of maybe putting up some plaques memorializing the original use of the site but forget the dirty old buildings. That site has been an eyesore for too many years.

Nick Murphy
Nick Murphy

It would be nice I went with my grandma there back when I was a kid and as it is denver and surrounding areas have tore down many of the places I grew up with very sad

Nick Murphy
Nick Murphy

It would be nice I went with my grandma there back when I was a kid and as it is denver and surrounding areas have tore down many of the places I grew up with very sad

Blake Morrison
Blake Morrison

Of course not. It's a dump and a menace. It's embarassing to the city. Scrape it now. They can wait to develop it for the next boom but it needs to be gone now.

Bill Knox
Bill Knox

Fuck no ...should've never even been an issue

Now Trending

Denver Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...