Glenwood mall building begins rebuilding |

Glenwood mall building begins rebuilding

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
John Gardner/Post IndependentJohn Gardner Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – More than three years after fire destroyed the Grand Avenue Mall in downtown Glenwood Springs, there is new life at the old building.

Israel Shapira, 57, a Carbondale-based structural engineer, bought the property from previous owner Gus Lundin. He said Friday that he took possession about three weeks earlier and quickly started renovations.

Shapira said that renovations should take about a year to complete and have space ready for leasing.

He said plans for the 15,000-square-foot site include office space on the third floor, similar to what was previously in the building, and retail space in the basement. Shapira said he was unsure of his plans for the ground floor but said that he would wait until he had a reliable renter who knew what they wanted to use the space for.

“Instead of spending energy right now on things that may not be used or may be demolished later on, I’m going to be patient and hold on for someone who knows what they want,” Shapira said.

He said the large space would allow a restaurant.

Shapira is familiar with refurbishing old buildings. Along with co-worker Erich Vogt, he remodeled the Midland Building and constructed the new Mercantile Building in Rifle, both of which Shapira also owns.

With those buildings he said it was his goal to retain the original historical architecture and that he will try to do that with the Grand Avenue Mall, as well.

“That was the original idea,” Shapira said. “We are going to put the efforts into it to accomplish that.”

But he didn’t know for certain if it could be done because the original brick facade has been covered with stucco, which is difficult to remove without damaging the bricks underneath.

Shapira also purchased and renovated the Taylor House at 903 Bennett Ave. in Glenwood. The project developed 11 small condominium units in the historic house.

The mall, located at 812 Grand Ave., has been closed since fire destroyed the building’s interior in March 2006.

An electrical short in one of the businesses’ copy machines reportedly started the fire.

Lundin, who owned the building at the time, said in October 2008 that he received a settlement from the insurance company – more than two and a half years after the fire. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed but Lundin at the time said that he had no immediate plans for the building in the near future.

A couple of months later the building was up for sale.

Most of the businesses that were located in the building have since relocated or have closed altogether.

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