The future of the Broadway Firestone auto shop: 262 new homes or preserving car culture?

Surrounded by new condominium structures, the mid-century Firestone automobile shop at 2000 Broadway is in the crosshairs of developers and eligible to be saved. Denver has to determine no matter if the one particular-story Googie-design building need to be preserved in the title of record or bulldozed to make way for housing.

It’s a debate amongst preservation and building that is played out in the town again and yet again: at Tom’s Diner, the Brutalist Channel 7 building and even the Tortillas de Mexico web-site.

This time, a workforce including Tennessee business Broadway Cali Partners, LLC, connected with GBT Realty Company, has submitted a demolition-eligibility application for the Firestone site. GBT Realty has deep working experience in suburban shopping facilities and some luxurious flats in its property state of Tennessee and also Texas.

GBT Realty Company and the nationwide setting up and design enterprise Kimley Horn have also submitted ideas to the town for the progress at 2000 Broadway. A spokesperson for the venture declined to comment.

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

The proposed constructing would include 25 stories with 262 models, according to strategy plans under evaluation. This would not be an fully income-limited housing advancement, and the range of models is considerably smaller than the 646 models proposed to be designed throughout the avenue from the Mercury Cafe.

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

In the up coming couple months, Denver City Council members, the scheduling division and inhabitants will choose no matter whether it is a very good concept to fight for the mid-century automobile shop.

Here’s the record of the internet site, in accordance to Denver Landmark Preservation.

Since the 1800s, Broadway has been a big road by Denver, and starting up in the 1910s became the strip where by car sellers and mend centers opened corporations. In May well 1922, the Denver Put up initial advertised the 2000 Broadway spot this way: “Prominent Corner at 2000 Broadway Extension. Just the spot for a company station. 100-foot frontage on Broadway and California.” By 1924, Kremer Tire Assistance Co. opened a store on the plot, together with quite a few similar businesses increasing in the location.

Firestone, a organization started in 1900 and which took off when Henry Ford utilized its tires on Design Ts in 1906, had a unique Denver shop at 770 Speer Blvd. But with enterprise booming, the firm necessary a 2nd area and opened up a Firestone Car Source & Assistance Store at the previous Kremer site in 1936.

By the mid-1900s, as automobile tradition took off in the suburbs, businesses in downtown had to locate methods to compete. Firestone’s reply: model new trendy architecture and expanded choices significantly further than vehicle provides.

In 1965, the Denver Put up explained the aged Firestone making getting razed and a new constructing, the just one that stands there today, staying built. The paper explained it as “the most modern a person-stop servicing the location.”

And one particular-halt was no exaggeration.

“The grand opening ad for the keep supplied discounts on tires, motor vehicle services and automobile provides as very well as electric powered knifes, accommodate luggage, televisions, air conditioners, refrigerators, radios, bikes, and outboard motors,” explained Denver Landmark Preservation in its report. “There have been also prizes like excursions and cameras. For Xmas in 1965, Firestone supplied offers not just on tires but also electric powered blankets, hair dryers, stereos, phonographs, irons, vacuums, watches, and bikes.”

Over the several years, the setting up has ongoing to run as an auto repair shop — even as its contemporary look has come to be nostalgic.

Here’s why the setting up office thinks the developing is suitable for preservation.

The construction is a powerful illustration of present day, mid-century type, Denver Landmark Preservation spelled out in its report. Nevertheless the building’s architect is unidentified, the design and style evokes Googie architecture, with elaborate models, unconventional roofing and a futuristic enchantment aimed to bring in drivers seeking for a “modern” practical experience.

Numerous car dealers and vehicle-similar structures have been torn down, so it is also a exceptional case in point of the enterprises that as soon as thrived on Broadway. And the constructing, produced at the junction of Broadway and 20th and California streets, showcases how architects employed layout to pressure people to shell out focus to enterprises and contend in an oversaturated market.

The Firestone developing, produced in 1965, also marks a minute in time when downtown was turning into subordinate to the suburbs — a location 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 financial system provided a strengthen to the center class and suburban enhancement,” Denver Landmark Preservation wrote. “Because these new suburban developments have been commonly exterior of nearby transit strains, the personalized auto turned vital to the new suburban inhabitants. As Us citizens became dependent on the car, it established a new auto society that shaped urban enhancement.”

The question Denverites now face: Need to today’s urban progress and want for new housing be curbed by nostalgia for yesterday’s automobile lifestyle?

Those people seeking to preserve the internet site have until eventually June 23 to post a detect of intent to file an application to protect the making. Here’s who can do so: the head of Local community Scheduling and Enhancement, a member of Town Council or 3 people of Denver. If they do post a letter of intent, they have until August 1 to put in an application.

In most cases, web pages qualified for preservation are not preserved.