Hayden won’t sell historic building as council considers renovation, new construction
Hayden won’t sell a historical property on South Walnut Street, leaving the town with options to renovate the century-old building or tear it down and build a new structure.
Town Council delayed a decision on the building on Feb. 10, as some residents said they felt the town should just sell the land.
Council members said they would make a final decision on April 7 and in the meantime directed staff to start work to mitigate asbestos, lead pipes and other hazards in the building.
At a Town Council meeting on Thursday, Feb. 17, Hayden Town Manager Mathew Mendisco said that if the town were to eventually sell the building, grants Hayden has received for mitigation work would need to be repaid.
The building at 135 S. Walnut St. is at least 105 years old and has connections to Routt County pioneer Ferrington “Ferry” Carpenter, but it also has sat vacant for about 30 years.
The town has devised two options to build a business incubator space on Walnut Street. One set of plans would renovate the old building to retain its historical look. The other option would be to tear down the building and replace it.
Either way, the hazard mitigation work needs to be done, Mendisco said.
Each option would cost about $2 million, but rebuilding would create a larger 5,000-square-foot building with three housing units, as compared to a historical renovation, which would be about 3,000 square feet and add one housing unit.
Mendisco said Hayden spent about $65,000 to purchase the building and on other closing costs, and about $83,000 on architectural work and environmental testing.
Mendisco said if the town wants to sell the building, Hayden would need to retract the related grants with the Department of Local Affairs. The grants also expire on June 30, meaning council couldn’t put the decision off until April 7.
Council member Bob Reese said he wanted to simply sell the building, believing the building has no historical value and would be better off as a vacant lot than it is now.
“A vacant lot is going to sell a whole lot faster than that pile of lumber,” Reese said.
Other council members disagreed, saying a sale of the property would do little to benefit the town or its residents, and they worried that if the town doesn’t do something with the property now, it will continue to sit vacant.
“We’ve owned it for three, four years and no one’s approached us to buy it, no one bought it before we bought it, and I’m worried we’re going to have to condemn it anyway,” said council member Ryan Banks.
There wasn’t an official vote, but Banks and council members Ed Corriveau, Casey Bowman and Trevor Gann all said they didn’t want to sell the building.
Mendisco emphasized that town leaders are still considering both renovating the building or building a new structure, and he said they will have more details about each option on April 7.
“We won’t be done with brand new building plans by April 7, but we’ll have more understanding,” Mendisco said. “We may have schematics. We’ll have a demo plan. All of that will be done by then.”
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