Earlier this week, downtown entrepreneur Perry Sanders confirmed that he’s under contract to purchase the five-story, 27,815 square foot, 1913 YWCA building at 130 E. Kiowa St. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s one of the most significant historic structures still standing in the city’s core.
“Approximately $3 million,” Sanders said, adding “hard money” is part of the deal now and closing should happen in mid-September.
“This building represents the culmination of the efforts of the Young Women’s Christian Association, which was initiated locally in 1899,” according to a brief description on the city’s website. “A fundraising campaign began in 1909 and by 1912, this building emerged to provide classrooms, a gymnasium, and dining area, private rooms and space for religious, social and cultural activities. Used as a hospital by the Red Cross during the influenza epidemic of 1918-19, the building also served as the USO center during World War II. Eclectic in design, the building’s architect was Nicholas van den Arends (also the architect for the Van Briggle Pottery Works, 231 West Uintah Street).”
The tile work on the exterior and interior of the building was created for the building by the Van Briggle pottery. The building was briefly threatened by demolition in the 1970s until its acquisition by the William Simpson family. It retains its original birdcage elevator and is now an office building that has also housed a bar/restaurant/nightclub on its lower level.
Sanders is particularly enthused about the building’s period features.
“Those exterior tiles are amazing,” he said. “And do you know that there are four Van Briggle fireplaces in the building? One of them was painted over, but we’ll remove the paint. We’ll retain the birdcage elevator and operator — I think it’s one of two in Colorado, along with the Boulderado Hotel in Boulder.”
Sanders noted that his portfolio (often in partnership with fellow attorney John Goede) includes the 1902 Mining Exchange Building, the 1931 Municipal Utilities Building, the 1900 Independence Building, the 1934 Wandell & Lowe Building and the 1931 building at 31 N. Tejon St. that houses the Sanders-owned Famous restaurant and the Sanders Law Firm. Sanders & Goede also own the 1967 downtown Antlers hotel, which has been extensively renovated and upgraded since they acquired it three years ago.
“Now that we’ve acquired the YWCA building, I think the job is just about done,” Sanders said. “It’s just a great building in a great location. It could stay offices, or be partially converted to residential use — we’ll see. We’re in no hurry, and we’re absolutely committed to preserving the building’s historic integrity.”
Veteran real estate broker/developer Tim Leigh has watched (and sometimes helped broker) Sanders’ downtown transactions for more than a decade. Is Sanders overcommitted? Leigh doesn’t think so.
“At the end of the day,” he said, “what separates Perry from everyone else is that he’s a good guy — he doesn’t have a crooked bone in his body. And what we’re seeing in downtown is the front end of a renaissance that is going to last a long time. Too bad that guys our age never saw it coming.”