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DENVER-The International Downtown Association has honored Downtown Denver Partnership for its efforts to provide a creative solution to develop, preserve and protect historic buildings in the Central Business District, where modern high-rises stand next to historic structures. The association was created in December 2000 to protect 43 buildings in the CBD identified as having a historic or significant architectural merit.

It was established through a collaborative partnership between Downtown property owners, Historic Denver Inc., the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Mountain & Plains Regional Office, the Downtown Denver Partnership and the city and county of Denver.

”Many Downtowns are beginning to establish programs that save historic buildings,” says Dave Feehan, president of the IDA. ”Denver, by contrast, has a history of success in LoDo. But creating a district in the heart of Downtown is quite another challenge. The results of Denver’s efforts were certainly apparent to the awards jury.”

The award was presented recently in Pittsburgh.

Kathleen Brooker, president of Historic Denver, says she is fielding phone calls from other cities that want to use Denver’s program as a model for their cities. The IDA award emphasizes the historic district approach can be replicated in other cities.

”It’s a perfect tool in central business districts where new buildings outnumber historic buildings,” Brooker says.

As an incentive to the owners of buildings in the district, Denver caps city property taxes to 1999 levels for 20 years on properties that had been substantially rehabilitated and well maintained.

”The Central Business District’s historic buildings — many of which have been renovated and adapted into new uses in the past decade — are vital to the character of Downtown Denver,” says Anne Warhover, president of the Downtown Denver Partnership. ”This unique historic district recognizes the architectural diversity of the upper part of Downtown Denver while providing the flexibility needed to encourage development of vacant properties.”

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