After talk that it might be demolished, a popular and historic Denver diner on the east side of the city may soon be extensively redeveloped.
Located at 601 E. Colfax Avenue, Tom’s Diner has been a 24-hour eatery for generations of Denver residents. Last year the local institution was on the verge of extinction after the owner announced that he was selling the building.
Tom Messina said he had received an offer from the Cleveland-based GBX Group, which said that it wanted to demolish the diner and replace it with a modern apartment complex.
That announcement proved a rallying cry for Denver preservationists and others who called Tom’s Diner an architectural landmark.
Opened in 1967, the restaurant was designed in the then-popular Googie style, which was particularly popular in the West during the first two decades following World War II.
In subsequent negotiations, the GBX Group announced that it would preserve the diner after all, issuing a statement that it was dedicated to finding a “balance between economic realities and preserving a historically important property.”
Now the effort to preserve and upgrade the diner has been joined by the Denver architectural firm Kephardt.
In announcing the coming restoration plans for the diner, Kephardt project designer Josh Robinson said the restaurant “holds personal meaning for many of our staff, and our familiarity with the site and its history will allow us to preserve its unique character while helping craft a bright future for this Denver icon.”
Plans for the project are expected to soon be reviewed by the Colorado Historical Foundation, before being submitted for final approval to both the city and county of Denver.
By Garry Boulard
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