Two years after Paul Tamburello bought adjacent West Highland churches, a Denver City Council committee forwarded a rezoning request for the properties to the full council without objection on Tuesday.
Pending approval, the churches located at 3401 W. 29th Ave. and 2954 N. Julian St. will switch from strictly single residential use to a two-story mixed use zone (U-MX-2X).
The new zone would allow for a general store front, small restaurant or residential space.
Tamburello, a Denver developer known for his Little Man ice cream shops, bought the churches for a total of $1.7 million in March 2021 from the Presbytery of Denver, BusinessDen reported.
The 29th Avenue church is 9,427 square feet. The Julian Street building is slightly smaller at 7,941 square feet and dates back to 1955, according to city records.
Both churches are in the Ghost Historic District, meaning any exterior changes require approval from the City’s Landmark Preservation Commission. But a representative of Tamburello at the committee meeting said there are no plans for major exterior changes.
Tamburello didn’t respond to a request for comment Tuesday on the expected uses of the property. But a covenant ownership reached with the West Highland Neighborhood Association places some restrictions on the property, limiting the total space used for food and beverage operations to 12,000 square feet, prohibiting the sale of hard alcohol and outlining allowable hours of operation.
“WHNA supports the Rezoning Application subject to the Covenants, but would not support the Rezoning Application without the executed Covenants,” the neighborhood association wrote in a letter of support.
One West Highland resident wrote a letter opposing the rezoning, saying it would increase traffic and noise complaints and decrease parking and neighborhood safety.
Tamburello’s real estate work, done under the name Generator Real Estate, has had something of a focus for years on the Highlands, as well as “old, cool buildings,” he previously told BusinessDen. Among his past projects is the building used by the restaurant Root Down at 1600 W. 33rd Ave, which Tamburello fashioned from what used to be an auto mechanic’s shop.