All photos used on this site are courtesy of the Abarca Family Collection and the Latino Cultural Arts Center

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Denver, Colorado  

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Cementing the Future by Remembering the Past

April 16, 2019

The 2700 block on Old West Colfax and the surrounding area has a rich history that traces its roots to Russian Jewish families who fled persecution and came to Colorado to make a new life for themselves. After two years in Cotopaxi, Colorado and an unsuccessful attempt at establishing a farming community, many of these families migrated to Denver and settled along the Platte River and Old West Colfax in 1884. 

 

When the Colfax viaduct was erected in 1917, there was an enclave of houses, shops, markets, congregations and businesses that had amassed, including some of Denver's staples - the Star Bakery across the street and Congregation Zera Abraham. 

 

The LCAC site has a recorded history dating back to 1890, for which the earliest historical Sandborn Maps for the City of Denver illustrates a portion of the LCAC site developed as a blacksmith shop. Prior to the construction of these buildings that currently occupy the site, there were a variety of businesses including a theater, paper company, a bathhouse, and a shoe repair shop. 

 

After the 1936 construction of the building, 2701-2715 Old West Colfax Avenue, the site was primarily utilized by food and meatpacking businesses. Throughout the 1900's, the Reiff & Weinstein Whole Meats Company operated on this block including the 2701 building. In 1938 City Directories illustrate that 2705 West Colfax was home to Finkelstein Isadore Shoe Repair, 2716 West Colfax was home to Rubin Isidor Grocery, 2717 Old West Colfax was home to Goldberg Simon Tinner, 2719 and 2719 1/2 were residencies of Potashnik Max (Dora) and Ortiz Epifanio. The Abarca family business, Ready Foods, continued meat processing and food preparation in the existing buildings, from 1972 until 5 years ago, when they moved their operations to several other locations in the Denver area. 

 

Through the 1900's this neighborhood went through many transformations, and saw businesses and residents come and go. Later in the century, a diverse population of residencies and businesses left this industrial part of town, much was cleared for surface parking. The lasting block of 2700 Old West Colfax, particularity its iconic multicolored buildings, are scarce testament to the lasting sense of community and

perseverance that this part of Denver is notoriously known for. 

 

Four buildings currently occupy the project site, allowing for an eight story building up to 110 feet, in CMX-8 zoning. Understanding allowable development height, cost of construction, and potential revenue, demolition of the east corner one-story building will create space for new construction, and retain three buildings. 

 

 

 

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