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Ordinance related to historic home impacts commercial real estate

The destruction of a residential home known as the Button House, a staple of the Fort Collins, Colorado, area, has brought about a new ordinance that could change the way that commercial real estate can be developed in the future. It sets a lasting precedent for historic areas and what can be done with them, something that was not previously in place, and those behind it specifically have referred to the demolished home as their inspiration.

The home was leveled because a new development was being put in for student housing. This development was going in nearby, and so they wanted to clear the area of older homes. The city initially ruled that the home had to stay, and residents of the area even put in a lot of work in attempting to save it, but it was eventually found that the structure itself was not safe. As a result, the home was destroyed, despite its historic value.

The new ordinance would change the way that cases like this are handled in the future. Specifically, for both commercial real estate development and new residential buildings, the developers would have to know that historic sites in the area were protected, and they would be informed of which sites were protected up front. This would make development more predictable. It would not keep the commercial spaces from being built, but it would insure that the project proceeded in a way that did not damage historic areas.

All developers or those who own -- and who perhaps are looking to sell -- commercial real estate in Colorado need to know how these ordinances change the way that property can be used. Only with a full understanding of the law can they do things correctly and keep the historic areas in Fort Collins intact.

Source:  The Coloradoan, "Fort Collins council backs changes to historic preservation rules" Kevin Duggan, Apr. 01, 2014

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