Two neighboring church buildings in the West Highland have new owners.
Paul Tamburello, the Denver-based developer who has become better known for his ice cream company in recent years, opened the churches at 3401 W. 29th Ave. and 2945 N. Julian St.
The structures are separated by an alley.
“There are just two really beautiful buildings that need to be kept and I think they have been made community good in the most creative ways,” Tamburello told BusinessDen. “What that means has yet to be found out and a conversation with the community.”
The 9,427-square-foot church on 29th Avenue is the older of the two and dates back to 1890. Tamburello, who was trading through an LLC, paid $ 935,000 for that church, according to public records.
He paid $ 820,000 for the other 7,941-square-foot structure built in 1955.
Both churches were sold by the Denver Presbytery, which is part of the largest Presbyterian denomination in the country, the Presbyterian Church (USA).
NAI Shames Makovsky brokers Todd Snyder and Joey Gargotto represented the sellers. Snyder said none of the buildings had recently hosted a community, although there had been some use as retail or office space.
The local church group “felt like it was a good time to be a salesman,” said Snyder.
The preservation of the buildings was not really in doubt. Both are located in the Allen AM Ghost Historic District, which means significant changes to the exterior will require approval from the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission. Tamburello said he did not want to add to the buildings’ footprint.
Not every old Denver church has the same level of protection, however, so new ownership approaches are often different. A mile away, the former Sloan’s Lake Church building at 2796 Utica Street, on a large lot, was sold last month to a buyer who plans to demolish it and build 10 single-family homes. In Baker, an almost 140 year old church is now being converted into six townhouses. And in nearby Lincoln Park, another church is being converted for office use and will not be named a city landmark until it is sold.
Tamburellos real estate work – under the name Generator Real Estate – has for years concentrated on the highlands and on “old, cool buildings”.
One of Tamburello’s previous projects is the building that houses the Root Down restaurant at 3300 Ave. Garage Doors – and it sold for $ 2.8 million last year.
Tamburello worked with the Denver-based Columbia Group, led by Fred Glick, on another church property at 4890 Zuni St. in Chaffee Park. The city approved the proposed reallocation of the property in 2018, but Tamburello said Friday that the couple “couldn’t get the numbers up” and eventually sold it on. The new owner wants to replace the church with townhouses according to a current development proposal.
Tamburello also owns Little Man Ice Cream, which opened a booth in LoHi in 2008 and now has multiple locations.
“We were definitely down last year, like any food company,” he said. “But we were able to keep our key management.”