HPC, Aspen discuss preserving Given Institute
June 29, 2010
ASPEN – The Aspen Historic Preservation Commission sought a resolution from the City Council Monday night that would support the protection of The Given Institute from demolition by its owner, the University of Colorado School of Medicine, which is looking to sell it this fall.
Mayor Mick Ireland said the HPC should draft its own resolution for the council to sign off on because it has a better sense of the historic value of the building; the site was donated to the university in the 1970s by Elizabeth Paepcke.
The HPC applied to get the Given listed with the National Register of Historic Places, but the university remains intent on selling it. The financial burden the building places on the school is too high given the recession, officials say.
They also contend that a potential buyer doesn’t want the property unless the building, a longtime landmark, is gone.
The university is trying to sell it to alleviate the annual burden of about $200,000 that operating the Given puts on the school’s waning finances, and anticipating nearly $20 million in revenue from its sale.
Ireland said before the meeting that it was up to voters to save the institute, as many policy measures have contributed to CU’s inability to fund facilities like the Given, which many say provides an essential community benefit.
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The building has served over the past three decades as a forum for science talks and has attracted some of the most prominent members of the worldwide scientific community to Aspen.