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Tom’s Diner continues on path to becoming historic landmark against owner’s wishes

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DENVER — A Denver City Council Land Use and Transportation Committee agreed Tuesday to send a motion to the full Denver City Council to consider approving Tom's Diner as an historic landmark. 

The issue has created controversy in recent weeks with Tom Messina, the owner of Tom's Diner, announcing he will lose out on potentially millions in his retirement if he isn't allowed to sell his property to a developer.

A historic landmark designation would jeopardize development and demolition plans.

"This is my retirement, I'm not a developer. I don't have any other assets," Messina told members of the committee.

"I would be taking a hit," Messina added.

Five members of the community have spoken out against the sale and filed the paperwork to designate Tom's Diner as a landmark.

"Being someone who loves Colfax who basically grew up on Colfax it's valuable to me as a building," Jessica Cowet told the Council Committee.

When asked afterward if Cowet knew she was ruining Messina's retirement plans, Cowet responded by saying, "We aren't ruining his retirement."

Cowet believes developers will still be able to buy and build on the diner's parking lot.

"We think there are developers out there that will spend that kind of money to bring something creative to the table," Cowet said.

The full City Council is expected to vote on the project by the end of the month.

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