Glenwood Springs’ Western Hotel completely gutted, but face should remain the same

Former Glenwood Springs' Western Hotel tries to carry the building's historic attributes over to new housing complex.

Cassandra Ballard
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
The historic Western Hotel in downtown Glenwood Springs sits gutted for eventual renovations that are to include 11 apartments.
Chelsea Self/Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Although the Western Hotel in downtown Glenwood Springs is currently just sitting as a facade, construction continues, and one day some residents should be able to call it home.  

The Western Hotel, 716 Cooper Ave., currently sits as a hollowed shell of the historical building it once was; not to say that the project did not try to keep the building’s integrity. 

“Our idea originally was to keep as much of the existing wall as possible,” said project developer Candace Whipple.

Whipple said she planned to keep the front masonry, along with the first 45 feet into the alley, to preserve the historical aspects of the building, but after demolition started, they found that the alley wall had been constructed with different types of masonry and brick, and was considered to not be structurally sound. 

The previous hotel space is slated to eventually be a housing complex with 11 studio and one-bedroom apartments. The plan also includes the addition of a third floor, but keeping the original facade of the hotel front. 

“Given the current condition of the wall, there was graffiti and there’s different materials used within that wall,” Whipple said. “We decided to take it down, and when we took it down, we realized that we had to change the foundation of it and that’s why we’re presenting the license.”

The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016. Changes to the structure require review and approval of a Landmark Alteration Certificate by the Historic Preservation Commission, according to a presentation on the city council agenda. 

The project was approved on March 1, 2021 with the applicant’s intent to preserve and restore the first 45 feet of the brick wall going into the alley. The back half of the building was constructed with concrete and not considered historic. Only the brick masonry was considered historic.

“What they did instead was proposed a new wall,” said Trent Hyatt, senior Glenwood Springs city planner. “Final specs will be determined by the Historic Preservation Commission, but that wall, to be structurally sound, includes a foundation with a footer that will encroach up to six inches subgrade into that alley.” 

It’s not uncommon for the city to allow right of way encroachment.

“I mean, we actually do these all over the core downtown,” City Attorney Karl Hanlon said. “You know, we even have some provisions for them depending on how big they are. We approved them administratively. It’s a zero lot line environment and so oftentimes, especially on subgrade footers, we have to do these.”