Former Cosgriff Hotel site purchased from city

New owners weighing options for possible construction

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Eight years since the landmark Cosgriff Hotel was demolished, plans have been made to put the Yampa Avenue site back in business.

Darrell and Carol Camilletti offered $130,000 for the 10 city-owned lots, a price the Craig City Council accepted.

"It will be good to have frontage development on that property," City Manager Jim Ferree said. "It will be good to get it out of the city's hands and into the private sector."

Darryl Camilletti said his plans for the property aren't yet solidified.

"I'm not absolutely positive right now what we're going to do," he said. "I'm contemplating some options."

One of those options could be office space for his business, Mountain West Insurance, or office space for other businesses.

"We need to add more space for our operation," Camilletti said.

The city has owned the lot since 1996, when it was acquired in a lien to recoup the costs of demolishing the asbestos-filled building.

The city paid $127,000 to demolish the hotel and listed the property in 2000 at $225,000. The price has been dropped since then, down to the current asking price of $175,000 for the 31,250 square foot space.

"We always hoped we could just cover the costs of demolition and nuisance abatement," Ferree said. "We're pretty satisfied with the deal. At least we recovered most of our costs."

The property is located along Victory Way between Russell and Tucker Streets.

The Cosgriff was built in 1940 and heralded as Craig's "modern" hotel.

Residents remember it as a good restaurant, a speakeasy, a hotel, and apartment building and a meeting place.

It was touted as having the "best smorgasbord in the world" and featured on the front page of Time magazine.

Fourteen-year-old Larry Barrett won $10 in a contest to name the hotel, when he suggested "Cosgriff" after owners John and Wilma Cosgriff. There were 10 other entries.

At $1 a plate, the grand opening gala drew nearly 200 guests, many of whom paid another $1 to stay and dance.

Two years after the grand opening, John and Wilma declared bankruptcy and lost the hotel.

Joe Stanton bought it at auction, and helped the restaurant earn the reputation as "the best in the world," offering a "merchant's lunch for 35 cents."

The hotel was condemned in 1992.

Three of the 16 rooms were declared "uninhabitable" with the building inspector quoted in the Craig Daily Press as saying "I wouldn't let my dog live under those conditions."

The discovery of asbestos was the end of the hotel, which the city paid to have demolished in 1994.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, Ext. 210 or at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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