The Tabor Grand: Leadville’s $8M Historic Renovation
By Kathy Bedell © 2015 Leadville Today
The Tabor Grand. The Vendome. Home to the old “Side Door.” Home to the “Mountain Oasis.” The Tabor Grand Hotel.
When it comes to this historic gem on the northwest corner of 7th and Harrison in downtown Leadville, what you call it may have a lot to do with how long you’ve lived here, as well as when you may have lived, or worked, in this architectural beauty. Regardless, this Saturday, March 7, the building will have its official Grand Re-Opening under the name The Tabor Grand Hotel Apartments.
After a year of renovation work, and an $8 million re-investment, the Overland Property Group (OPG) will officially “cut the ribbon” on the historic renovation this Saturday, March 7. As part of the Leadville Ski Joring Opening Ceremony at High Noon on Harrison Avenue, the Tabor Grand Hotel Apartments will be having a re-dedication ceremony starting at 1 p.m., with self-guided tours of the historic renovation from 1:30 – 5 p.m.
“We are so excited about this project and now we’ll be able to show off all those renovation efforts and hard work,” said Matt Graham, OPG’s Vice President of Development.
“Wowser, looks like they’re serious this time!” That was one of the first comments posted when this picture of the Tabor Grand Hotel’s renovation project was posted on the Leadville Today Facebook page. After all, this 130 Harrison Avenue anchor had seen better days, as well as half-hearted fixes in recent decades.
But yes, before long it was apparent to most Leadville residents that “they” were serious about taking care of this incredible part of Leadville’s heritage. So who exactly are “they”? The Overland Property Group (OPG) out of Kansas City, Kan. bought the property one year ago in March 2014, after hearing that the historic gem was for sale, and needed major renovation work.
“We came into the conversation in December of 2013,” said Matt Gillam, OPG’s Vice President of Development, in an interview with Leadville Today. “But the opportunity to own and work on such a project was hard to pass up.”
And Colorado-history lovers would agree that the Overland Property Group were the right people for the job. After all, The Tabor Grand has seen its share of band-aid fixes for what is considered to be one of Leadville’s crowning jewels on historic Harrison Avenue. Recent years, saw the old gal deteriorating one brick at a time, at an ever-increasing rate, creating danger to the public.
“Our intention was to thoughtfully preserve the building. To have the renovation done correctly,” stated Gillam, adding that this method would ensure another 50-70 years of life for the building.
The plan was extensive, including a complete interior and exterior renovation of the building, nuts to bolts. On the exterior, that included installing a new roof, sealing the brick, restoring all of the unique cornices, and bringing all those windows back to their original state, including the old ropes used to open and close them. Unfortunately, not a lot of the window panes are original, so OPG worked with the historic commission and a specialized window refurbisher to get double paned, energy efficient windows milled into the current shape. As an example to commitment, OVP chose the $600,000 window renovation bid, not the $125,000 one. In this video you can see for yourself what a difference that makes for this 130 year old building. And yes, the “Baby Doe Box” window remains in tack!
Check out this VIDEO of the renovation work – BEAUTIFUL!
As Gillam mentioned in the video, companies like Sherwin-Williams Paint was anxious to work on such a dedicated historic renovation project. Not only did the exterior paint upgrade enable Leadville’s Tabor Grand Hotel Apartments to be brought back to its former glory, but the building will now also stand as a model for innovative paint technology. The paint company used a special paint that contains sunscreen for the intense sunlight that the building endures at 10,200 feet. In fact, like many visitor’s eventual love affair with The Magic City, Sherwin-Williams has morphed its commitment into highlighting the beautiful Tabor Grand on its Spring paint catalog cover!
On the interior of the building, it’s been a complete overhaul for the 37 residential, one and two bedroom units, including all new appliances, tile, cabinets, paint, all of it! And OPG kept tenants in mind when developing the plan. In fact, 31 of the 37 residential units remained occupied during the overhaul, shifting tenants periodically as the next round of interior work got underway.
“We worked hard not having to displace any tenants during renovation,” said Gillam. And the low-income housing qualifications will remain in place for residential tenants as well. Yes, an actual room with a view, that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
While the top floors are residential, the building’s street-level units remain commercial, and some of the best on Harrison Avenue.
“They all plan on staying on,” said Gillam. However, the OPG renovation did not include the interior to commercial spaces, that’s up to each business, although several are considering a remodel. Some of that interior commercial space will be the leasing office for Overland Property Group, including a new community lounge room, which people can see during the self guided tours this Saturday, March 7 from 1:30 – 5 p.m.
“We are trying to make that space as historically relevant as possible, “explained Gillam. “We feel like we’re stewards to this building and want to remain true to the time period the building represents.”
One of the things that won’t be changing is the property managers, Terrence and Deb McNicholis. “They are great people, so we’re exciting that they are going to stay on with us,” added Gillam, a sentiment echoed by a host of locals as well.
“We wanted to make sure that the renovation that we did preserves the Tabor Grand, which is such a dominate piece of history, not only for Leadville, but the entire state of Colorado,” stated Gillam. “Now that the project is complete, we believe, that it should win national awards and continue to be a pride for Leadville and Colorado.”
So, put on your party duds, Leadville! It’s time to celebrate one of Harrison Avenue’s Grande Dames of architecture. She’s looking pretty good for 130 years. It’s time to party like it’s 1885!