Sometimes the hottest new locations aren’t new at all.
The El Jebel Shrine has stood tucked away on prime real estate for the better part of the last 80 years. Adjacent to the Willis Case Golf Course and boasting postcard-worthy mountain views, this grand dame has hosted countless weddings, proms, and of course, those Fez-topped Shriners themselves. But dwindling membership led to the charitable organization’s sale of the 65,000-square-foot building for $4.5 million in 2012.
Today, Golden’s Confluence Companies is spending $12 million to convert the building into 24 condominiums. The renamed Mirador at Tennyson’s residential units (one-, two-, and three-bedroom floor plans are available) range from the high $300,000s to $1.2 million, and all feature oversize windows and 10-foot ceilings, so even the garden-level units feel light and open. Most units feature outdoor access (either patios or decks). And just a mile from the blossoming retail strip of Tennyson Street, the location affords a quick walk to shops and restaurants paired with easy I-70 access.
To date, the project is 50 percent pre-sold, including the most and least expensive units. The Mirador at Tennyson is finding interest on a variety of fronts, but early buyers included empty nesters—for whom Walsh says the location and single-level dwellings were both big draws—looking to downsize (the units range from 1,050 to 2,700 square feet).
Landmark status protects the exterior of the building, which means the exotic window shapes and iconic roofline will stay the same. Yet inside those 24 units—each one a little different—will be state-of-the art new construction, slated to be ready for move-in this fall. “Taking an old, well-built beautiful building like this and redesigning it is a unique opportunity,” says Tim Walsh, CEO and founder of Confluence Companies. “The building has a lot of character; it gives us a lot to work with.”
The development team recently built the Residences at the Four Seasons, and Mirador’s units will feature similarly thoughtful design and high-end fixtures: Think KitchenAid appliances (with options to upgrade to Jenn-Air), Blanco sinks, Toto commodes, and Kohler faucets and soaking tubs. And those buyers under contract before May 1 have additional customization options. (Hot tub, anyone?) But major design choices keep the late-1920s time period in mind, says Walsh. Interior arches are rounded; plaster walls are hand-finished; and some units have pitched ceilings, echoing rooflines.
“Buyers get the best of both worlds: the character and charm of a 1929 building, but their units are brand new, everything from systems to finishes,” says Laura Wnorowki, managing broker for Clear Creek Real Estate, which is handling pre-sales.
Although many of the interior details from the Shriners will be covered up, one artifact will remain on the Mirador’s first level: a giant walk-in vault, which has already been purchased by an owner for storage. As they do now, at the building’s inception, the Shriners primarily operated charitable hospitals to provide health care to seriously ill children. “In those days, it was all cash,” says Walsh. “We’re pretty sure that thing was just filled with cash.”
Longtime Denver residents will no doubt be relieved to know that the outside of this landmark will remain the same—and the lucky few who get to enjoy a cocktail from the Mirador’s west-facing decks can toast the Shriners’ good works and smart real estate choices.