A court-appointed receiver has finalized the sale of the historic Bosler House at 3209 W. Fairview. The sale agreement includes milestones to ensure that the house is secured, stabilized and made weathertight in a timely manner, and that other restoration work that follows also progresses swiftly. These provisions will ensure this city landmark is preserved in accordance with Denver’s landmark preservation ordinance.
Buyers Steve and Jan Davis — who currently reside in the nearby Berkeley neighborhood — plan to restore it and make it their own residence. Mr. Davis is a licensed contractor and plans to perform some of the restoration work himself. Mrs. Davis is a master gardener and plans to fully landscape the property.
“We have been fighting for this house for six years,” said Brad Buchanan, executive director of Denver Community Planning and Development. “Today we finally have certainty that this building will not crumble, but will stand as a north Denver landmark for future generations.”
The court-approved sale marks a major turning point in the story of the historic landmark, badly damaged beginning in 2008 when its then-owner removed the roof without proper building permits nor required approvals from Denver’s Landmark Preservation Commission. Over the following six years, attempts to work with the owner to bring the property into compliance with property maintenance and historic preservation requirements were not successful, and the roof remained open. Ultimately, liens and fines on the property led the city to begin foreclosure proceedings on the house in May 2015.
The property sold for $375,000. Per the terms of its settlement agreement with former owner Keith Painter, about $150,000 will go toward the City and County of Denver for unpaid liens and fines. About $75,000 will be paid to the receiver for already-performed property management, maintenance and contracted architectural services. Mr. Painter will receive the difference.
The city’s February announcement about the potential sale of the Bosler House generated immediate interest among several potential buyers. The Davises were the first to make a formal offer, and had to demonstrate the ability to complete the rehabilitation of the house within prescribed timeframes.
“This is a spectacular opportunity for us,” Steve Davis said. “We’re excited and proud to be able to lend our passion and expertise to this historic landmark, while at the same time making it our home.”
The first step in building repair will be replacing the missing roof, required to be completed within four months. The house’s new owners will have access to construction plans for roof repairs that were recently drafted by an architect and paid for mainly by proceeds from the sale. The National Trust for Historic Preservation provided a $7,000 grant to help fund these plans. State tax credits are also available for repairs to historic buildings.
Earlier this year, an historic structure assessment — funded by a grant from History Colorado and performed by Hord Coplan Macht — concluded that unauthorized alterations over the last 20 years have left the Bosler House in fair to poor condition. The 200-page assessment identified critical structural problems caused by water infiltration from the open roof, and from other recent alterations such as removal of structural beams in the interior. Despite the serious damage the house has sustained inside and out, the assessment indicates that the house can be restored by qualified engineers and historic preservation professionals performing major repairs. Some key components are in fair to good condition, including the foundation and the brick masonry. All the recommended repairs could cost up to $1.75 million, due to the damage the building has sustained.
As reported by the City of Denver, Office of Community Planning & Development:
This week, a court-appointed receiver will move to sell the historic Bosler House at 3209 W. Fairview, in lieu of foreclosure. In May of 2015, the City and County of Denver began foreclosure proceedings on the house, and requested that the court appoint a receiver to act as a temporary caretaker, in order to help preserve and protect the house. The potential sale of this property marks a turning point in the City’s ongoing effort to save the historic landmark.
The house, built in 1875 and designated a city landmark in 1984, was purchased by current owner Keith Painter in 1987. In 2008, the owner removed the roof and began to “pop the top” — work that requires prior approval by Denver’s Landmark Preservation Commission, as well as appropriate building permits. After the city issued a stop-work order, the owner declined to return the roof to its earlier condition, and instead proposed demolishing the historic building. Over the next six years, attempts to work with the owner to bring the property into compliance with city maintenance and historic preservation requirements were not successful. During that time, the roof has been open and exposed to the elements. Ultimately, liens and fines on the property led the city to begin foreclosure proceedings on the house last May.
A historic structure assessment begun in the summer of 2015 — funded by a grant from History Colorado and performed by Hord Coplan Macht* — has concluded that unauthorized alterations over the last 20 years have left the Bosler House in fair to poor condition. The 200-page assessment identified critical structural problems caused by water infiltration from the open roof, and from other recent alterations such as removal of structural beams in the interior. Removal of structural, electrical and plumbing systems were done without building permits or inspections.
Despite the serious damage the house has sustained inside and out, the assessment indicates that the house can be restored by qualified engineers and historic preservation professionals performing major repairs. Some key components are in fair to good condition, including the foundation and the brick masonry.
To read the full HSA click here.
The court-appointed “receiver” will request the court’s approval to sell the property. The property is currently controlled by the receiver, who has handled basic maintenance in recent months and who will list the property for sale. Information for prospective buyers regarding how to express interest will be posted on this webpage as it is available.
In addition, construction plans for roof repairs are currently being drafted by an architect, so that a future owner could use them to begin construction work right away. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has approved a $7,000 grant to help fund these plans. State tax credits are also available for repairs to historic buildings.
*Formerly Slaterpaull Architects: www.hcm2.com
On Wednesday, May 20th, the Office of Community Planning and Development provided an update on their current efforts to protect the Bosler House:
In an effort to ensure the rehabilitation and preservation of the historic Bosler House at 3209 W. Fairview, the city of Denver has filed an action to foreclose on the property and appoint a receiver.
The 1875 building, designated a Denver historic landmark in 1984, has been in disrepair since 2009, with the roof open to the elements. Attempts to work with the owner to bring the property into compliance with city maintenance and preservation requirements have not been successful, and the property has amassed $560,000 in liens.
The Bosler House is an individually landmarked structure -- one of only 332 in the city. It is significant not only for its Italianate architecture but also for its history in the development of Denver and its association with Ambrose Bosler and W.H. Yankee, two early settlers of the West Highland area of Denver. It and the other individually landmarked buildings are considered irreplaceable.
The city has asked the Denver District Court to appoint a "receiver" to act temporarily as a property manager and caretaker of the house. Appointment of the receiver will allow the city to move forward with a historic structure assessment, funded by a History Colorado grant. A historic structure assessment is performed by an architect or structural engineer and results in a report on the building's physical condition. The assessment will help the city and any future owner make informed decisions regarding future restoration.
Historic Denver will continue to provide updates on this situation as the city moves forward with the process. We look forward to the results of the Historic Structure Assessment which can now be completed.
The Bosler House is an individually designated local landmark located at 3209 West Fairview Place. Since 2009 the home has suffered from exposure to the elements due to an open roof that threatens to cause additional damage. Finding a resolution to the situation has been challenging, but Historic Denver continues to communicate the importance of this property and its preservation to the City & County of Denver.
The Bosler House is one of the first and finest of the stately homes to be built in North Denver. The house was constructed in 1875, the same year as the incorporation of the Town of Highlands which originally governed this portion of Denver. It was built in the Italianate style at the West end of the current configuration of Highland Park by one of the Town’s Founders, Ambrose Bosler. It is significant not only for its longevity, but also for its prominent site, its design, and its association with three significant figures from Denver’s past.
The Bosler House’s first owner and its namesake, Ambrose Bosler, was a pioneer to the North Denver area and a key player in the Denver and Union Ice Companies. Its second owner, William H. Yankee, was a Civil War veteran and a prominent miner and mine owner in Colorado. The third owner of significance was Dr. John H. Tilden, who utilized the home as a part of a larger complex which incorporated the neighboring early twentieth century Colonial Revival Buildings as part of a Sanitarium. Dr. Tilden’s School for Teaching Health was a national model for a medical philosophy where patients cared primarily for themselves using dietary and hygienic methods.
The structure’s significance was recognized by the City of Denver in 1984 when it became an individually listed landmark. This early designation confirmed the long held belief that this house was an important piece of our City’s history.
Chapter 10, Section 1-38 of the Revised Municipal Code provides the City of Denver the authority to enforce appropriate care of this home, and even specifies that special attention should be paid to historical designated landmarks. Further, the code indicates that the neglect of a landmark by the owner is not cause for demolition of the structure.
Historic Denver continues to be concerned about this property and will advocate for its protection and on-going preservation.