It is easy to get lost in the skyline of Denver, especially now with the additions of beautiful, modern buildings, like the 1144 Fifteenth office tower and Confluence Park Apartments. New cranes, it seems, appear almost monthly for new developments across the city.
But nestled amongst the new builds going up in Denver exists a metropolis of historic, repurposed buildings offering nostalgia, character and a glimpse back in time at what Denver was before any of us were here. One thing that frequently gets overlooked is that these buildings often present homebuyers with much lower price points than their newly developed neighbors.
We’ve decided to take a look back in time and learn about some of these buildings. Perhaps, we’ll pick up a tidbit of Denver history trivia along the way! Welcome to Denver High-Rise Living’s first look at the historical condo buildings of the Mile High City. We’ve decided to first focus on Midland Lofts, a beautiful building at 444 17th St. in Downtown Denver.
A former bank
Commissioned and developed by Midland Savings and Loan in 1925, the Midland building was completed in 1926. At that time, Midland Savings and Loan was the largest savings and loan firm in Colorado and one of the largest 45 in the United States. Designed by the reputable Fisher and Fisher Architecture firm and built by Alex Simpson Jr. Co. Builders, the former bank building features Mediterranean influences commonly seen in Fisher and Fisher designs and has become a significant representation of the firm’s work in Denver.
Perhaps the most unique and historically significant aspect of Midland Lofts remains the work of Denver sculptor Robert Garrison, who hand-sculpted the Western animal themed terra cotta gargoyles that line the penthouse level of the building’s top floor. Current Midland Lofts homeowner Brian Sulley says the views of the gargoyles in the reflection of neighboring buildings is one of his favorite aspects of the building.
“They’re extraordinary,” Sulley said, adding they depict a range of Western animals including buffalo, fish, and sheep. “I love waking up and seeing the gargoyles on the elevator penthouse in the reflection across the street.”
The gargoyles have remained since the building’s original development, even as the building experienced multiple renovations. Sulley, a resident of the building since 2014 and a former HOA board member, took a special interest in the building’s history after purchasing his home.
“There was a substantial remodel in the 1960s, during which the facade of the first two stories was removed and replaced with a trendy, glass and concrete box,” he said. “Then, in the late 1990s those elements were replaced with precast concrete to give the building a more historically accurate street presence.”
Sulley says he loves living in the building and that the age of it hasn’t had any real negative impacts on his enjoyment of his home.
“Midland Lofts is a great, quiet building that’s walkable to everything and on the calmer end of Downtown,” he said. “It’s very well-constructed with good sound attenuation between the units. We’re also on the city steam system for our hot water supply, which gives us unlimited, on-demand hot water — definitely a luxury that is unique to older buildings.”
The building housed offices through the 1990s when it was converted to apartments and then to condos in 2006. Currently the building is comprised of more than 80 studio, 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom residential units and 2 commercial spaces on the first floor.
ANB Bank currently owns both ground-floor retail spaces, but leases the smaller of the two to Yampa Sandwich Company. Residents of Midland Lofts have access to laundry rooms on every floor in addition to an updated fitness facility on floor 2. All units come with a storage unit in the basement of the building, which is secured through fob access. The two-bedroom units typically come with one deeded parking space, but there are a host of parking options that allow for a monthly lease within walking distance of the building.
There is only one active listing in the building as of April 14 — a 1-bed, 1-bath unit listed for $280,000 by the Trelora Team of Colorado.
A few other listings have been withdrawn as a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic. Broker Ann Panagos, with the Compass team, Nostalgic Home Group, said she and her clients are excited to relist their beautiful 1-bed, 1-bath unit as soon as the stay-at-home orders are lifted.
For Panagos, it’s the building’s walkability to everything downtown combined with its attainably-priced units that make it so attractive — especially for first-time buyers.
“I’ve lived here for 6 years now and I absolutely love it,” said Brian Sulley. “The building is beautiful, the unit layouts are awesome, you really can make the space your own. I might be looking to list in the near future and that will only be due to wanting more square footage and parking. If not for that, I wouldn’t consider moving out of the building.”
In the past six months Midland Lofts has had 5 units sell at an average sales price of only $300,000.
For more information on Midland Lofts, any active listings, Panagos’s upcoming listing or Mr. Sulley’s 1 bedroom condo, contact Brady Cullen, a broker associate with Denver High-Rise Living, at email@example.com.