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The High (or Non-Existent) Value of the Coors Office Building

Golden Eye Candy – The Secret Garden, taken May 14, 2006 – Click to enlarge

Coronavirus Update

Public Health References
CDC * Colorado * Jefferson County * City of Golden

Jefferson County’s case count page says that as of 4:30PM yesterday, there were 1,925 cases in Jefferson County (up from 1,860). There have been 105 deaths (up from 101) and 321 are hospitalized (up from 314). There are 153 known cases in Golden (up from 152).

Cumulative Count of COVID-19 Cases by Report Date

The Safer at Home protocol is now in effect. Check the City’s site to learn more about what that entails. Everyone is still requested to wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth when leaving the house. City and County fire restrictions are in place. Clear Creek is closed to all recreational activities.

Virtual Golden

8-8:55AM Virtual Zumba
10:15-11:15AM Preschool Time with the Library
6:30PM City Council Meeting
City Council meets tonight. If you want to submit public comment, you have two options. First, you can send an email to by 5PM. Second, you can address them live using this link. You must register for the meeting by 5PM.

Tonight’s Consent Agenda includes a resolution that will raise the fees for development applications, rezoning to PUD, site plans, site plan reviews, special use permits, subdivisions, and preliminary and final plats. Subdivision sketch plan fees will be reduced.

The Consent Agenda also includes the contract to hire Martin Marietta for our 2020 street improvements at a cost of $1,381,156.

There will be proclamations regarding National Police Week and Golden Graduates Week.

Coors Property Debt
They will hold a public hearing and vote on an ordinance regarding the loan we took out to buy the Coors property. The property itself, including the Coors office building, were the collateral for the loan. Now we plan to demolish the office building, so the lender wants us to provide something else as collateral. Our “substituting property” includes the Golden Community Center and one of our fire stations.

I find this whole situation a bit baffling. When we were considering the purchase of the Coors property, one of the big draws was that large building, which would solve all of our space problems: it would allow the City government to consolidate in one building, with room to expand. The building would provide space for our history museum, Foothills Art Center, and the Golden Library. It would allow us to demolish our current city buildings and turn most of the creek front into parkland.

After examining the building, we decided that it was past its prime and we didn’t want it after all, but we still wanted the land it stood on and the adjacent parcels that went with it. Then we heard that the appraisal of the entire purchase never included the building–the $12.5 million was based exclusively on the value of the land, and the building was considered to have no value.

Now we’re learning that the building has so much value that if we demolish it we need to put up the Golden Community Center and Fire Station #4 instead. Which is it? Does the Coors office building have no value, or is it equivalent to the value of the Community Center and a Fire Station? What are the appraised values of the Community Center and the Fire Station? What would the lender do with them if we defaulted?

Since we haven’t finished the citizen input process for the Creek remodel, and since we’ve abruptly entered leaner financial times, should we postpone demolishing the building? What’s the rush?

Council will also vote on an ordinance to change to the 2020 budget to allow for an additional $2,496,133 in expenditures.

They will consider a request by a car dealership of Colfax that we de-annex parcels of land adjacent to their property, so that they can be in a single jurisdiction (Jefferson County) instead of two (Jeffco and Golden).

They will consider an ordinance that would allow City staff to issue civil citations for planning and zoning violations. This is a response to many citizen complaints about neighbors who are violating zoning codes (for instance, renting a house in an R1 zone to multiple Mines students).

The City Manager will describe a proposed Intergovernmental Agreement with Jefferson County that would provide us with some of their Federal funding to help us with COVID-19 expenses. If Council approves this agreement, the City will receive $1,616,444.

Golden History Moment

Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center, 2014

Yesterday, I wrote about the farm at the State Industrial School (now the Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center). Today I had planned to write about what happened to the farm in later years (and I still will, tomorrow), but I received an interesting comment from one of my readers. She said that during WWII, the school shared their farm goods with the townspeople to help offset food rationing.

This reminded me of something that strikes me when reading old Transcripts. For decades, the Industrial School was an integral part of the Golden community.

Industrial School Band in a parade on Washington Avenue – Click to enlarge

They had a band that gave regular performances at our public events and participated in our parades. The boys at the School repaired dolls to give away at Christmas during the Depression. They frequently helped us fight fires. The boys visited the Golden Gem (our movie theater) once a week. They attended the State Fair and won medals for some of their Farm Products. The Industrial School had sports teams and competed with other schools in the district.

Industrial School boys playing in the snow (building an igloo) – Click to enlarge

In turn, our community leaders used to visit the School on Christmas day. Our school choirs gave performances at the Industrial School. Women’s groups used to decorate the School’s dining room for holidays. The Golden Gardeners supplied centerpieces for their tables on holidays. Service clubs used to collect gifts to distribute to the boys at Christmas. During the 1950s, Golden children took swimming lessons at the Industrial School, because they had a pool and we didn’t.

So what changed?

When the School was founded, they accepted boys aged 7-16, and in some cases the kids were committed by their own parents. In 1968, the place was renamed to the Lookout Mountain School for Boys. At that time, it began to take on more responsibility for rehabilitating boys, with psychologists joining the staff of warders. In the 1980s, it was renamed again, this time becoming the Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center. At that time, it became a maximum security facility for offenders aged 15-21.

In my superficial study of the school from 1881 to the present, I have read of many philosophical swings over time, from providing harsh discipline to favoring a warmer, more encouraging environment. For a good summary of the current status of the school, read the Colorado Sun’s article from January 2020: A youth corrections center plagued by escapes, drugs and a riot is headed for a physical — and cultural — reorganization.

The Golden Transcript (originally called the Colorado Transcript) has been publishing since 1866. The Golden History Museum has been working on digitizing the historic issues. You’ll find old Transcripts online at