Frequently Asked Questions

  • Historic properties provide a link to our past, and enrich our community by conveying a sense of continuity, identity and place.  
  • Vintage buildings benefit the economy by attracting visitors and providing distinctive spaces for local businesses. 
  • Historic districts support neighborhood stability, uniqueness and variety, all attributes that contribute to the long-term desirability and vitality of Denver’s neighborhoods.  
  • Historic preservation is a sustainable environmental practice, preserving and re-using existing buildings, and contributing fewer building materials to local landfills.
  • Historic districts stimulate Denver’s economy.  According to building permit records from 2010 to 2012, construction investment is 3 to 10 times greater in historic districts than in other areas of Denver.  This is good news since, according to a 2011 study by Clarion Associates, every $1 million spent on historic preservation generates approximately 32 Colorado jobs.
  • Historic designation results in higher property values on average as compared to undesignated neighborhoods, benefitting both individual property owners and the community’s tax base.  Read about property values for more information.
  • Public Recognition 
    Historic designation acknowledges a property's importance and sense of status within the community.  Bronze plaques are affixed to properties with individual Denver landmark designation, while street signs identify historic districts. 

  • Financial Benefits
    • In some cases, owners may be eligible for federal tax credits or state tax credits, incentives that encourage rehabilitation and reinvestment in historic buildings.
    • Grant funds may also be available to assist with building condition assessments and brick-and-mortar rehabilitation projects.
    • Read more about the broader benefits of historic preservation at the History Colorado website.

Proposed demolitions and exterior changes to individual landmarks and historic district properties are subject to local design review and demolition review and some projects also require review by the Landmark Preservation Commission or Lower Downtown Design Review Board

The purpose of design review is to ensure changes and new construction are compatible with the site's historic architecture, and to help property owners retain the most significant, or “character-defining” elements of a property.   Design and demolition reviews also promote neighborhood stability in historic districts, since current and prospective property owners know that the distinctive architectural features of a particular neighborhood are protected over time.  

No. Owners of designated historic structures can make significant changes and updates to their property.  For individual landmarks and properties within historic districts, Landmark Preservation only reviews work on property exteriors triggered by building/demolition permits.  Landmark Preservation does not review interior work.  

For more information on what is reviewed, please contact Landmark Preservation or visit the design review page.   

Studies across the United States have concluded that historic designation and the creation of historic districts increase - or at least stabilize - property values.  

While a historic district designation won’t guarantee a rise in home values, studies show it’s likely.  In times of recession, home values in historic districts are less likely to fall or typically will fall less than values elsewhere in a community.  The reason for this, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is that historic district designations help protect the most attractive aspects of a neighborhood by limiting demolitions and out-of-character remodeling. Denver's 2012 assessment data points to property values 12% higher on average in locally-designated historic districts compared to adjacent neighborhoods without historic designation. 

  • Local
    Local historic designation, either as an individual Denver landmark or a local historic district, recognizes properties with historical, architectural and/or geographical importance to Denver. This designation offers the strongest protection for historic properties since Landmark Preservation review and approval is triggered by proposed exterior permit and demolition work, as well as zoning permits. Work on locally designated properties can also qualify for state tax credits

  • State
    The Colorado State Register recognizes properties with local, state or national significance. Properties on the Colorado State Register can compete for grants from Colorado’s State Historical Fund. Owners can also apply for state tax credits for rehabilitation projects. History Colorado, which administers this register, does not restrict what private property owners may or may not do with their property.  

  • National
    Listing on the National Register of Historic Places or as a national historic landmark is an honorary status afforded by the National Park Service.  While properties listed on the National Register can have local, state or national historical significance, properties deemed as National Historic Landmarks must be significant to the nation.  Listing at the national level does not restrict what a property owner may do with a property unless the owner is using federal financial assistance.  


Landmark designation ensures a more thorough review of demolition proposals for designated landmarks and historic properties in historic districts, but does not outright prohibit demolition.   

Demolition of historic properties can be approved in cases of demonstrated economic hardship or when a property is deemed an imminent danger to life, health or property by city building inspectors.  The Landmark Preservation Commission often approves demolitions of small accessory structures, such as one-story garages which lack distinguishable features, and non-contributing (non-historic) structures in historic districts.  

Landmark Preservation Office:
720-865-2709
landmark@denvergov.org

Office hours:
8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday - Friday
Staff hours vary (appointments recommended)

Historic front porch


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