Plans to tear down the Golden Bowl and build a Natural Grocers store in its place passed the first of the two hurdles the city’s planning process requires.
At the April 1 meeting of the Golden City Historic Preservation Board (HCB), the seven-member group voted 5 to 1, with one absence to approve the demolition of the buildings at 525 24th and 2401 Ford streets, currently the Golden Bowl and Pedal Pushers bike shop.
Under city ordinance, any non-resident building at least 50 years of age requires a Certificate of Appropriateness from the HCB before it can be demolished.
HCB board member Laura McCall suggested the group delay a decision on the demolition for a month or more.
“I think it would give people time to think about this, and perhaps for another buyer to step forward,” McCall said.
The other board members disagreed that more time would necessarily be helpful, and voted to approve the demolition. The project developers from Equity Ventures, representing Natural Grocers, warned that a 180-day delay would be onerous enough to potentially kill the project.
“I know that the bowling alley is of a lot of benefit for a lot of people, but I think that Vitamin Cottage (Natural Grocers parent company) is exactly the kind of business we want in Golden.” HCB member Dixie Termin said before making the motion.
Both buildings were constructed in the 1950s. The buildings do not have any special historic designation, though they are adjacent to an existing historic district. The nearby 5th Ring Coffee Shop will remain.
The Natural Grocers’ plans showed a 15,000-square-foot neighborhood market. smaller in square footage than the current bowling alley. The space where Pedal Pushers is now would become a parking lot, and is considered unbuildable due to being inside the FEMA 100-year-flood map zone.
“We hope this will be a nice revitalization of what we call one of the gateway areas of Golden,” Equity Ventures spokesman Craig Lofton said, adding that the proposed grocery store design would aim to meet all the requirements of the city’s Central Neighborhoods Plan.
Several members of the public that spoke at the meeting were against approval of the demolition, based more on the cultural value of the businesses, than the structures themselves.
“It’s not necessarily that people don’t want a Natural Grocers in Golden, but that it’s displacing three businesses to do it,” Mike Keily, the current operator of the bowling alley said.
The Natural Grocers proposal can now present a site plan to the Planning Commission for approval, which could happen as early as June, according to the applicants.
If approved there, demolition could occur as early as this fall. Construction is estimated to take seven to eight months Lofton said.