Neighborhood group, partner look to renovate Cheesman Park mansion, add cafe

The Tears-McFarlane House is located along Cheeseman Park on Williams Street.

The Tears-McFarlane House is located along Cheeseman Park on Williams Street. (Photo: Cassidy Ritter / BusinessDen)

A neighborhood group that owns a historic mansion along Cheesman Park has landed on a plan for the property’s future.

Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods has asked the city to rezone its Tears-McFarlane House at 1290 Williams St., a key step as it and a Denver-based real estate firm look to spend $3 million to renovate the mansion and add a cafe on the property.

“We, as a board, had a pretty vigorous debate as to whether or not we would retain the property, sell it and create an endowment, or reinvigorate it because for all intents and purposes … it has always been a community gathering space,” said Travis Leiker, CHUN board president. “And so the board at that time decided to keep the property and reinvest it and make it both viable for us as an organization, but also give it the much love and tender care that it really needs.”

Built in 1899, the Tears-McFarlane House hasn’t been fully renovated since the early 1980s. CHUN has managed the property since 2005 and took over ownership in 2015.

The three-story, 8,800-square-foot mansion is used as an event space and houses offices for 10 organizations, including CHUN. Adjacent to the mansion sits a 1,500-square-foot, one-story building called Hedlund Hall, or the Annex. That building also is used for community events, and was a cafe in the early 1980s, Leiker said.

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