The long run of the Broadway Firestone automobile store: 262 new homes or preserving vehicle lifestyle?

Surrounded by new condominium properties, the mid-century Firestone auto store at 2000 Broadway is in the crosshairs of builders and qualified to be saved. Denver has to make a decision no matter whether the a person-story Googie-design setting up really should be preserved in the name of record or bulldozed to make way for housing.

It is a debate among preservation and construction that’s performed out in the town once more and once again: at Tom’s Diner, the Brutalist Channel 7 constructing and even the Tortillas de Mexico web site.

This time, a staff including Tennessee firm Broadway Cali Companions, LLC, affiliated with GBT Realty Company, has submitted a demolition-eligibility application for the Firestone website. GBT Realty has deep expertise in suburban browsing facilities and some luxury flats in its household point out of Tennessee and also Texas.

GBT Realty Company and the countrywide planning and style business Kimley Horn have also submitted strategies to the city for the progress at 2000 Broadway. A spokesperson for the task declined to comment.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

The proposed making would include things like 25 tales with 262 models, according to strategy strategies underneath overview. This would not be an solely cash flow-restricted housing improvement, and the amount of units is much more compact than the 646 units proposed to be crafted throughout the street from the Mercury Cafe.

None of this possible housing at 2000 Broadway would be attainable if the creating is saved. And Denver Landmark Preservation has dubbed it suitable for preservation.

In the future several weeks, Denver City Council members, the arranging division and people will make a decision irrespective of whether it is a excellent notion to battle for the mid-century vehicle shop.

Here’s the historical past of the web-site, in accordance to Denver Landmark Preservation.

Since the 1800s, Broadway has been a significant street through Denver, and beginning in the 1910s became the strip where car dealers and mend facilities opened enterprises. In May 1922, the Denver Post to start with advertised the 2000 Broadway spot this way: “Prominent Corner at 2000 Broadway Extension. Just the spot for a support station. 100-foot frontage on Broadway and California.” By 1924, Kremer Tire Company Co. opened a shop on the plot, together with lots of related corporations mounting in the location.

Firestone, a enterprise founded in 1900 and which took off when Henry Ford utilized its tires on Model Ts in 1906, experienced a distinctive Denver shop at 770 Speer Blvd. But with organization booming, the company required a 2nd area and opened up a Firestone Vehicle Offer & Support Retail store at the previous Kremer place in 1936.

By the mid-1900s, as motor vehicle lifestyle took off in the suburbs, firms in downtown experienced to uncover means to compete. Firestone’s response: brand name new modern architecture and expanded choices far beyond automobile materials.

In 1965, the Denver Article explained the previous Firestone developing being razed and a new setting up, the one particular that stands there now, becoming crafted. The paper described it as “the most modern just one-end servicing the location.”

And 1-halt was no exaggeration.

“The grand opening ad for the shop provided bargains on tires, auto expert services and auto provides as well as electric knifes, fit bags, televisions, air conditioners, refrigerators, radios, bikes, and outboard motors,” defined Denver Landmark Preservation in its report. “There were also prizes which includes journeys and cameras. For Christmas in 1965, Firestone offered promotions not just on tires but also electric blankets, hair dryers, stereos, phonographs, irons, vacuums, watches, and bikes.”

Around the years, the setting up has continued to run as an auto maintenance store — even as its fashionable search has turn into nostalgic.

Here’s why the organizing division thinks the developing is eligible for preservation.

The structure is a powerful illustration of contemporary, mid-century type, Denver Landmark Preservation stated in its report. While the building’s architect is unidentified, the style and design evokes Googie architecture, with elaborate designs, unconventional roofing and a futuristic appeal aimed to attract motorists looking for a “modern” encounter.

Numerous auto sellers and car-connected buildings have been torn down, so it’s also a rare illustration of the companies that as soon as thrived on Broadway. And the setting up, built at the junction of Broadway and 20th and California streets, showcases how architects utilized layout to force persons to spend notice to corporations and compete in an oversaturated sector.

The Firestone setting up, manufactured in 1965, also marks a minute in time when downtown was turning out to be subordinate to the suburbs — a put folks drove into for get the job done.

The Firestone auto shop at 2000 Broadway. June 7, 2022.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

“The booming postwar economic system offered a enhance to the center class and suburban development,” Denver Landmark Preservation wrote. “Because these new suburban developments were being commonly exterior of area transit lines, the personal automobile grew to become necessary to the new suburban populace. As People turned dependent on the auto, it created a new auto tradition that shaped urban improvement.”

The problem Denverites now deal with: Should really today’s city improvement and require for new housing be curbed by nostalgia for yesterday’s car or truck society?

Those seeking to preserve the web page have until finally June 23 to submit a discover of intent to file an application to protect the developing. Here’s who can do so: the head of Neighborhood Scheduling and Enhancement, a member of City Council or a few people of Denver. If they do submit a letter of intent, they have till August 1 to place in an software.

In most situations, web pages suitable for preservation are not preserved.