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Landmark Bosler House to be listed for sale

Experts believe it can be saved despite years of damage

This week, a court-appointed receiver will move to sell the historic Bosler House at 3209 W. Fairview, in lieu of foreclosure. In May of 2015, the City and County of Denver began foreclosure proceedings on the house, and requested that the court appoint a receiver to act as a temporary caretaker, in order to help preserve and protect the house. The potential sale of this property marks a turning point in the City’s ongoing effort to save the historic landmark.

The house, built in 1875 and designated a city landmark in 1984, was purchased by current owner Keith Painter in 1987. In 2008, the owner removed the roof and began to “pop the top” — work that requires prior approval by Denver’s Landmark Preservation Commission, as well as appropriate building permits. After the city issued a stop-work order, the owner declined to return the roof to its earlier condition, and instead proposed demolishing the historic building. Over the next six years, attempts to work with the owner to bring the property into compliance with city maintenance and historic preservation requirements were not successful. During that time, the roof has been open and exposed to the elements. Ultimately, liens and fines on the property led the city to begin foreclosure proceedings on the house last May.

Newly-released historic structure assessment details damage, necessary repairs
A historic structure assessment begun in the summer of 2015 — funded by a grant from History Colorado and performed by Hord Coplan Macht* — has concluded that unauthorized alterations over the last 20 years have left the Bosler House in fair to poor condition. The 200-page assessment identified critical structural problems caused by water infiltration from the open roof, and from other recent alterations such as removal of structural beams in the interior. Removal of structural, electrical and plumbing systems were done without building permits or inspections.

Despite the serious damage the house has sustained inside and out, the assessment indicates that the house can be restored by qualified engineers and historic preservation professionals performing major repairs. Some key components are in fair to good condition, including the foundation and the brick masonry.

“This is a difficult situation,” said Brad Buchanan, executive director of Denver Community Planning and Development. “The sale of this house is a last resort and an unprecedented move — but a necessary one. Protecting our city’s most treasured historic assets is something we take very seriously, and something that Denver’s landmark preservation ordinance requires.”

Barbara Stocklin-Steely, principal city planner for landmark preservation, said, “Our goal is to save this irreplaceable city landmark, and we are hopeful that a qualified buyer with resources and expertise can restore the Bosler House and make it a point of community pride once more.”

The assessment estimates the cost of all recommended repairs to total $1.75 million, due to the damage the building has sustained.

Sale and next steps
The court-appointed “receiver” will request the court’s approval to sell the property. The property is currently controlled by the receiver, who has handled basic maintenance in recent months and who will list the property for sale. Information will be posted at historicdenver.org

In addition, construction plans for roof repairs are currently being drafted by an architect, so that a future owner could use them to begin construction work right away. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has approved a $7,000 grant to help fund these plans. State tax credits are also available for repairs to historic buildings.

About the Bosler House
The Bosler House at 3209 W. Fairview Pl., built in 1875, was designated a Denver historic landmark in 1984 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. It is significant not only for its Italianate architecture, but also for its history in the development of Denver and its association with Ambrose Bosler and W.H. Yankee, two early settlers of the West Highland area of Denver. The house was a functioning home from 1875 until about 2007.

*Formerly Slaterpaull Architects: www.hcm2.com

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BUILDING COMMUNITY: Denver Community Planning and Development (CPD) is responsible for visionary city planning and ensuring safe, responsible, sustainable building. CPD regulates planning, zoning, development and maintenance of private property in Denver. We're working hard to make Denver a great place to live, work and play! Visit DenverGov.org/CPD or follow us on Twitter at @DenverCPD.