History, river lures new owner of shuttered VFW post

vfw post

The shuttered VFW post at 2190 S. Platte River Drive sold for $530,000. (Thomas Gounley)

A shuttered Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Denver’s Overland neighborhood is set to be repurposed.

Platte River Drive Holdings LLC purchased 2190 S. Platte River Drive last week for $530,000, according to property records.

The site consists of a 5,740-square-foot building on a half-acre lot, according to city records. Tucked away at the end of a dead-end street, the site borders Grant Frontier Park and the South Platte River Trail.

The new ownership is comprised of Denver-based Pando Holdings, Chris Firman and Doug Gaddis, according to Pando Holdings principal Kiely Wilson.

Wilson said he’s a history buff who has gone to the area over the years because it’s the former site of Montana City, the first non-Native American settlement in Denver area.

About six months ago, Wilson said, he and business partner Lance Gutsch happened to notice the VFW had closed. He said the pair was looking to buy property for a new Pando Holdings office, and liked the idea of being along the river.

The new owners plan to renovate the building and possibly add a second story, Wilson said, adding it was too early to estimate the project cost. The space that Pando doesn’t use for its office likely would be rented out.

The new owners also plan to keep a VFW sign onsite.

The property was sold by Department of Colorado VFW, the statewide organization that oversees posts. MidFirst Bank provided financing for the buyer.

Win King of King Commercial Real Estate represented the seller, and said two parties expressed interest in the property before it was listed for sale.

“The condition of the property was a limiting factor on the value,” King said.

State VFW Quartermaster Bruce Dolan said the building was constructed around 1960 as a VFW post. It housed Ray Brannaman Jr. Post No. 3971 until July, when the national VFW revoked the post’s charter.

“They were not operating as a VFW,” Dolan said of the decision.

VFW posts are required to have elections once a year, Dolan said, and 3971 didn’t. They’re required to have meetings once a month, and 3971 hadn’t had a formal meeting in over two years.

Dolan said the place operated “more like a private club.”

“They had a bar in there and they had no liquor license,” he said. “They paid no sales tax.”

Dolan said the post had “several hundred” members, but only eight showed up for a special meeting called by the state organization to discuss the post’s charter. A majority of those eight then decided to disband, he said.

The state organization then put the property up for sale.

The building, like most VFW posts, features a kitchen and bar area and a large meeting hall, along with a handful of offices and bathrooms.

The closure of Post No. 3971 leaves four VFW posts within Denver city limits.

Dolan said that in the last four years, more than a half-dozen VFW posts in Colorado have had their charters revoked or turned them in. In several instances, that was because the post fell below the required 10 members.

AARP reported in 2016 that the VFW had lost a third of its members over the past 20 years, as the organization has struggled to attract veterans from America’s more recent wars.

vfw post

vfw post

The shuttered VFW…

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