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