When the City of Denver told us they were buying our building, whether we liked it or not, we imagined all sorts of things, good and bad. What we never imagined was how slow and complicated the process would be. Last fall we were sure we’d move by spring. Now spring is here and all we know is that we hope to move by fall.
A surprising number of political entities have the power to take private property for use, essentially, as they see fit. The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution states that it must be for “public use” and that “just compensation” must be paid. We are learning that like a lot of things legal, there is a big gap between what the law seems to say and what actually happens.
When we first got the news we hired an attorney who specializes in these matters and asked her how many of her customers were satisfied in the end. Her answer was, “maybe half” and she went further to say, “you will not be made whole”. It sounded rather ominous.
A few weeks ago we leased our building back from it’s new owners. The Denver City Attorney expects us to be out by early fall. There is a lot of work to be done between now and then. At times, it’s hard to see a clear path.
Denver has opted to follow Federal Relocation Act guidelines, which they didn’t have to, thus enabling us to mandate compensation for some of the cost of moving and reestablishment. We have a long complicated list of items, each one up for negotiation. The individuals representing the city explained they were charged with ‘protecting the taxpayers’, although our protections as taxpayers seem limited.
We’ve been treated fairly so far and hope to feel that way when its all over. It is certain there will be significant costs for which we will receive no compensation. It’s a hard idea to get used to, but in this game, you play against the house and they are holding all the cards.
Progress To Date
A basic floor plan is drawn and we await the input of various engineering advisors. Once they are done the plans go to the County for approval. We will have a Denver address, but the building is actually in Adams County, located on a quiet street between residential and industrial neighbors.
Our plans are to build a state of the art rug washing plant. Centrum Force is drafting plans for a new washer and we plan to install a hot water system for rug washing. Rinse water filtration and recycling, are also being explored. The cost of the systems may be the only factor holding us back.
New water and sewer lines have already been installed. Over the next weeks we plan to install about 25 skylights and a new roof. Work on the interior has been held up by discussions with the city.
Our staff was given a tour of the new building a few weeks ago. John Bonath joined us and took some photos. The following images can give you an idea of where we are starting. We will post progress photos and updates as renovation actually gets underway.