Historic Designations

How to Designate a Structure or District

Designation Criteria

To qualify as a Denver landmark, a structure must maintain integrity, be at least 30 years old or be of exceptional importance, and meet at least three of the following ten criteria:

  1. Have a direct association with a significant historic event or with the historical development of the city, state, or nation;
  2. Have direct and substantial association with a recognized person or group of persons who had influence on society;
  3. Embody the distinctive visible characteristics of an architectural style or type;
  4. Be a significant example of the work of a recognized architect or master builder; 
  5. Contain elements of design, engineering, materials, craftsmanship, or artistic merit which represent a significant innovation or technical achievement;
  6. Represent an established and familiar feature of the neighborhood, community or contemporary city, due to its prominent location or physical characteristics;
  7. Promote understanding and appreciation of the urban environment by means of distinctive physical characteristics or rarity;
  8. Represent an era of culture or heritage that allows an understanding of how the site was used by past generations;
  9. Be a physical attribute of a neighborhood, community, or the city that is a source of pride or cultural understanding; 
  10. Be associated with social movements, institutions, or patterns of growth or change that contributed significantly to the culture of the neighborhood, community, city, state, or nation.

Pre-application review

Set up a pre-application review meeting with Landmark Preservation staff.  The staff may help by:

  • Assessing whether a property or properties have potential for landmark or historic designation
  • Advising you which application and fees apply
  • Advising you what additional research is needed to complete the application form
  • Providing information about the designation process
  • Providing guidance to improve and strengthen your application

Submit application and fees

Submit the completed application along with required fees to Landmark Preservation.

View fee schedules and payment options >>

Staff review

Landmark preservation staff will review your application to determine whether the application is complete and Denver landmark designation criteria are met. 

Landmark Preservation Commission public hearing

Once Landmark Preservation staff determines that an application is complete and that landmark designation criteria are met, a public hearing is scheduled before the Landmark Preservation Commission

  • The owner of record is notified and a sign is posted on the property announcing the public hearing and the pending designation.  
  • The Landmark Preservation Commission will hear public testimony at the hearing and determine if the property or properties meets landmark designation criteria.  
  • If the commission determines that a property meets landmark designation criteria, the application is then forwarded to City Council.
  • Applications for historic districts are reviewed by the Denver Planning Board for a recommendation before they are reviewed by City Council. 

City Council review and public hearing

Upon recommendation of the Landmark Preservation Commission, the application for designation is forwarded to City Council.

  • A committee of City Council will review the designation application and vote on whether to advance to the full City Council for a final hearing and vote.
  • City Council will hear public testimony at the hearing and make a final determination on designation.  

Designation and Demolition/CDE Review

Landmark Preservation planners review all applications for total demolition and for certificates of demolition eligibility (CDEs) citywide, including for structures that are not local landmarks or that are not in historic districts. This requirement helps preserve Denver’s history by providing the community an opportunity to protect buildings that prove to have historic, architectural, geographic or cultural significance. Reviews determine whether the property has potential for designation. 

Properties that do not have potential are cleared for demolition or granted the CDE. For properties that do have potential, notice of the demolition/CDE application is posted for three weeks. If a designation application or a notice of intent to file a designation application is submitted, the property and next steps will be listed on this page. 

For complete details on the demolition/CDE review process, including currently posted properties, visit the Demolition and Certificate of Demolition Eligibility Review page.

Submitting a Notice of Intent to File a Designation Application

How to submit

A document stating "The signatory(ies) intend to file an application for designation of <PROPERTY ADDRESS>" and signed by all signatories listed in the statement, with their addresses included, must be delivered to Denver Landmark Preservation by the deadline listed for the property on the Demolition and Certificate of Demolition Eligibility Review page. The document may be submitted one of the following ways:

  • Submit in person at the Records Desk on the second floor of the Webb Municipal Building, 201 W. Colfax Ave., Denver. 
  • Submit by email by scanning the signed document and emailing it to landmark@denvergov.org.

Who may submit 

City ordinance allows for three types of persons to submit a notice of intent to file a designation application:

  1. The executive director of Community Planning and Development
  2. A member or members of City Council
  3. Three (3) residents of the City and County of Denver