Vision for First Avenue Hotel along South Broadway starts to come to fruition

Altogether, the historic building and a new addition could bring more than 100 apartments to the corner near Punch Bowl Social.

A rendering of 101 Broadway where 106 affordable apartment units are planned by Zocalo Community Development. (JG Architects via city of Denver)
The First Avenue Hotel in August 1987, a good local example of Neo-Classicism. The large, four-story commercial building was originally designed for hotel, office and retail uses. It was designed by Charles Quayle and build by the owners, the Fleming Brothers, in 1907-1910. (History Colorado. Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation//Denver Public Library/Western History & Genealogy Dept./5DV53OAHP)
The First Avenue Hotel in August 1987. The large, four-story commercial building was originally designed for hotel, office and retail uses. It was designed by Charles Quayle and built by the owners, the Fleming Brothers, in 1907-1910. (History Colorado. Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation//Denver Public Library/Western History & Genealogy Dept./ 5DV53OAHP)

Design plans for a five-story addition west of the boarded-up, historic First Avenue Hotel building were approved Tuesday by the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission, leaving only a few hurdles left before construction can start.

Altogether, the historic building that formerly housed El Diablo restaurant and the new addition could bring more than 100 apartments to the northwest corner of First Avenue and Broadway, near Punch Bowl Social, and restore restaurant and retail space that’s sat vacant for four years.

A rendering of 101 Broadway where 106 affordable apartment units are planned by Zocalo Community Development. (JG Architects via city of Denver)
A rendering of 101 Broadway where 106 affordable apartment units are planned by Zocalo Community Development. (JG Architects via city of Denver)

El Diablo and neighboring Sketch Food & Wine were forced to close in 2013 due to structural issues with the First Avenue Hotel. Restoring the roughly 110-year-old space could cost upward of $30 million.

Zocalo Community Development told Denverite this spring that it planned to ask the Denver Urban Renewal Authority and the city to kick in $7 million in assistance for the project that would include affordable housing units. The Denver developer could not be immediately reached Tuesday and DURA has not yet brought a proposal to Denver City Council.

City planners still need to approve a site plan for the First Avenue Hotel property before construction can get underway. Zocalo hoped to start work on the hotel project before the end of the year and wrap up in 2018.

Zocalo is working on restoring the First Avenue Hotel with John Gagnon Architecture and a frequent buyer of dilapidated Denver properties, Jeff Oberg via Digital Cowboy LLC.

A rendering of 101 Broadway where 106 affordable apartment units are planned by Zocalo Community Development. (JG Architects via city of Denver)
A rendering of 101 Broadway where 106 affordable apartment units are planned by Zocalo Community Development. (JG Architects via city of Denver)

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Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or @adriandgarcia on Twitter.

Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia is on business and trends for Denverite, serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and on the board of the Denver Press Club. He can be reached at agarcia@denverite.com.