Tom’s Diner heads for redevelopment

In a surprise turn of events, residents withdraw historic application

Posted 9/8/19

Tom Messina of Tom’s Diner has been granted non-historic status for his East Colfax Avenue property, allowing him to move forward with potential development plans. Eleven days before Denver City …

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Tom’s Diner heads for redevelopment

In a surprise turn of events, residents withdraw historic application

Posted

Tom Messina of Tom’s Diner has been granted non-historic status for his East Colfax Avenue property, allowing him to move forward with potential development plans.

Eleven days before Denver City Council members were to decide whether or not to give the restaurant property protected status as a historic landmark as had been requested by five city residents, the applicants withdrew their application on Aug. 15. The five residents had originally banded together to protect the building at 601 E. Colfax Ave. in May after Messina filed for non-historic status.

“It is our firm belief that the future of the building is in good hands and think that interested parties can come to a conclusion as soon as possible,” the applicants said in a statement on Historic Denver’s website. “We hope that new parties coming to the table can use creative strategies to include the preservation of the iconic Googie-style building in a development that enhances the Colfax corridor.”

Tom’s Diner was granted non-historic status on Aug. 16. The status is valid with the city for five years, although property owners can withdraw in that time. Messina has been working with Alberta Development. Messina stated during meetings on the historic designation that he planned to close the restaurant regardless of the final decision.

Messina did not respond to a request for comment from Life on Capitol Hill.

In a statement on its website, staff from Historic Denver wrote that the demolition ordinance allowed residents enough time to try to find a solution with Messina and Alberta. The nonprofit, which focuses on preserving historic properties in the city, assisted the five residents with the application to make Tom’s Diner a historic landmark.

“The process has been successful as we’ve worked collaboratively to identify viable alternatives and shared a possible solution with the property owner and developer, Alberta Development,” the post reads. “Historic Denver will continue to urge those making decisions for the Diner to recognize the importance of this building and this place to Denver.”

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