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DENVER-The historic Colorado National Bank building, best-known for its white pillars at the entrance and its dramatic white marble foyer, is on the market for the first time since it was built in 1915. The six-story, 103,840-sf building has always been 100% occupied since it was built.

But Michael Komppa, president of Corum Real Estate Group, which bought the building in 1997, says that US Bank chose to not renew its lease, which expires at the end of the year. Komppa went as far to travel to Milwaukee, where Minneapolis-based US Bank has its facilities headquarters, to argue why the bank should keep the tradition and remain in the historic building, Komppa tells GlobeSt.com.

“To them, it’s just a line on a spread sheet,” he tells GlobeSt.com. He says they can get a slightly lower rate by moving their retail operation next door to the US Bank building. A spokesman for US Bank declined to comment on any specific transactions, although he did say that the company actually plans to expand, not contract, its presence in Downtown.

Colorado National Bank and its predecessor bank, was founded by the Kountze brothers in 1864, a dozen years before Colorado became a state. They named in Colorado National Bank in 1866. The current building was constructed at a cost of $500,000. The name of the bank officially changed to US Bank in 1997.

Corun hired the Denver architectural firm of David Owen Tryba Architects to explore various ideas for the building. “It’s so early in the process, I can’t yet say what direction is best,” Tryba tells GlobeSt.com. Ideas being tossed around, however, could include a single user, such as another bank, other financial firm, law firm or a nonprofit; converting the upper floors into a multi-tenant office building with a financial firm taking the lobby and mezzanine levels; converting the upper floors into condos; or converting the building into a hotel.

As a point of reference, the Hotel Monaco across the street was turned into a hotel. “But we have never developed a building into a hotel, although we’ve done historic condo conversions before,” Komppa tells GlobeSt.com. “We would probably have to sell it if we converted it into a hotel, and we would prefer to retain ownership. Converting a historic building into a hotel is specialized niche.”

A hotel conversion is an alternative that Kathleen Brooker, president of Historic Denver Inc., favors. “I’ve seen some buildings in Downtown Boston with the same kind of architecture turned into very successful boutique hotels,” she tells GlobeSt.com. “They have a very warm and stately feel about them. It seems in Denver, our answer to everything is to turn buildings into condos.” But she says it would be nice if the building could continue to have a “semi-public” use, so people could continue to enjoy the dramatic lobby.

Charlie Woolley, president of the St. Charles Town Co., says he thinks that a financial institution would likely jump at the chance to lease the lower level. “I think it is one of the most dramatic bank lobby spaces in Downtown,” Woolley tells GlobeSt.com.

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