Historic Larimer Square buildings will not be destroyed as area is renovated, developer says

DENVER -- Larimer Square was about to undergo a facelift that some said would have destroyed critical pieces of Denver history.

While some structures were originally slated for demolition, new plans call for keeping all of the historic buildings in Larimer Square.

However, significant work needs to be done to renovate and repair the existing buildings.

"These are some of the oldest buildings in our city. For example, up here on the Sussex Building, you see a large crack going up the edge of the building. The reason it’s there is because the back half of the building is sinking," explained Jon Buerge, the chief development officer with Urban Villages, a real estate development and management company.

Citizen-created Historic Denver opposed the original plan, saying it would erase parts of Denver history. The owner of Larimer Square and Urban Villages agreed.

"When you sit and listen to people’s concerns, if you’re open to it, sometimes it changes your perspective," said Buerge.

Still, restoration and repair work is in order. The plan also calls for adding more retail space to increase revenue and help pay for the renovations.

"The new plan is going to involve adding new buildings to Larimer Square. The question that we have for the community is: Where do the new buildings go and what should be in them? No demolition of historic buildings -- we’re committed to that 100 percent," said Buerge.

Larimer Square's owner and the developers are still working on the new plan, which involves $130 million just to complete the initial repairs.

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