Jan 232012
Authors: Erik Carman

The buildings in Old Town are about to get a little older.

All across town some of the oldest buildings in Fort Collins are undergoing new renovations to bring back some of their former glory, said Karen McWilliams, Fort Collins’ historic preservation planner.
“I think people can relate more with historical buildings,” McWilliams said. “People love that sort of thing.”

McWilliams noted that many aspects of historical buildings, from the scale of them to the materials used, perpetuate a much different vibe than some of their modern counterparts.

“People are willing to pay extra for the ambiance that they are getting,” McWilliams said.

In Colorado, historical buildings that undergo preservation renovation are subject to several government incentives, such as state and federal tax credits, zero interest loans and grants from the state that can reach up to $500,000.

“This makes it financially feasible to do work that may not get done otherwise,” McWilliams said.
McWilliams noted several iconic places in Old Town that have already undergone restorations, including the Coca-Cola sign outside of Coopersmith’s Pub & Brewing, which was recently restored by a paint conservator.

Another building currently undergoing renovation is the Avery Block Building, which is home to several local businesses.

Located at the corner of Mountain and College avenues, the Avery Block Building was built in 1897 and serves as one of the oldest buildings in town, said Jim Palmer of Palmer Properties.

Palmer properties, the third company to own the Avery Block Building since 1897, is currently undergoing a project to restore many features of the building that were lost in the past 100 years.
“It’s a pretty exciting project,” Palmer said. “We’ve been working on it since 2008.”

Palmer Properties is using a team of architects to analyze old photos of the building to create a true representation of the building’s former state, Palmer said.

“We want to restore the historic presence on Mountain and College,” he said, adding that he expects to see the project completed by the end of May. “It’s a combination of restoring structural integrity and historical significance.”

Public records show that the job cost is estimated at $700,000.

Jake Latendresse owns the Town Pump, located on the historic Avery Block.

“It (the renovation) really matches my business because my business has been there since 1909,” Latendresse said, adding that he is very excited for the preservation project.
The Town Pump, which holds the city’s oldest liquor license, serves as a historical landmark for Fort Collins.

“If you stand in the middle of College Avenue and look at that part of town… ” Latendresse said, “ … If you go early in the morning, and look at it before any cars come out, that part of Old Town stands out as a model of what (the rest of) Old Town should look like.”

Collegian writer Erik Carman can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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