Historic Bosler House up for sale

The historic Bosler House at 3209 W. Fairview Place is up for sale.

The house, built in 1875 and designated a city landmark in 1984, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. It's 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. the house was a functioning home from 1875 until about 2007.

Keith Painter purchased the house in 1987. He removed the roof in 2008 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. The city requested the court to appoint a receiver to act as a temporary caretaker.

A historic structure assessment started last summer concluded that unauthorized alterations of 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 damage the house has sustained inside and out, the assessment indicates that it can be restored by qualified engineers and historic preservation professionals performing major repairs. The assessment estimates the cost of all recommended repairs to total $1.75 million.

"This is a difficult situation," says Brad Buchanan, executive director of Denver Community Planning and Development. "The sale of this house is a last resort and an unprecedented move -- but a necessary one. Protecting our city's most treasured historic assets is something we take very seriously and something that Denver's landmark preservation ordinance requires."

The court-appointed receiver will request the court's approval to sell the property. In addition, construction plans for roof repairs are being drafted by an architect so a future owner can use them to begin construction work immediately. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has approved a $7,000 grant to help fund the plans. State tax credits also are available for repairs to historic buildings.

"Our goal is to save this irreplaceable city landmark, and we are hopeful that a qualified buyer with resources and expertise can restore the Bosler House and make it a point of community pride once more," says Barbara Stocklin-Steely, principal city planner for landmark preservation.

Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Read more articles by Margaret Jackson.

Margaret is a veteran Denver real estate reporter and can be contacted here.
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