The Tavern Building, and the adjacent one-story building to the west, is part of a series of streetcar commercial buildings that line this section of 17th Avenue. To preserve the exterior of the buildings and honor the existing street pattern and pedestrian experience, SLC has agreed to explore in good faith a site plan that pulls the new structure back from 17th, retaining the Tavern building and the most significant aspects of the adjacent one-story building, as well as the traditional scale of 17th Avenue. SLC can do this by shifting some of the units that would have been built along 17th by adjusting the zoning to allow for two more floor plates. However, it is important to note that even with these additional floor plates, the project will not exceed the current height limit set by the existing zoning, which is 110 ft at the northern portion of the site and 70 ft at the southern, 16th Street edge. A zoning change is only required to allow for the additional floor-plates, and would not result in additional maximum height. This means that what could have been an 8-story, 110 foot building at 17th will now be a 10-story, 110 foot building pulled back from 17th, stepping down to a six story, 70 foot building at 16th. Historic Denver supports this proposal and has entered into a legal agreement with SLC outlining the details. SLC and Historic Denver have further written and agreed to execute a second, even more detailed, Preservation Agreement that will protect the Tavern Building long into the future.
During the summer of 2015 the community learned of plans for a new development on the western side of the 1600 block of Pearl Street. The site, largely made up of parking lots, is also home to four buildings, among them the storefront structure at the corner of 17th & Pearl, which in recent years has been home to the Tavern Uptown.Southern Land Company (SLC) acquired the site, which is mostly zoned C-MX-8 and steps down to C-MX-5 towards 16th, in June 2015. When news of their plans for a multi-family development broke there was community concern about the existing Tavern building. To provide an organized forum for the response Historic Denver created a petition, which ultimately garnered over 1700 signatures supporting the preservation of the building as part of a development that could honor the character of 17th Avenue and make good use of adjacent vacant land.