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Golden City Council discussed the future of the Astor House on Nov. 14, but decided to put the conversation about next steps on hold once again.
“This is just going to take some time,” said Golden Mayor Marjorie Sloan, “and it sounds like everybody is willing to give it some time.”
The Astor House, 822 12th St., has a more than 150-year history in Golden. Seth Lake opened it as a hotel in 1867. It was rented to other proprietors for a period of time until Ida Goetz, a widowed German immigrant, bought it in 1892 and ran it as a boardinghouse well into the 20th century, said local historian Rick Gardner in a previous interview.
In 1972, Golden residents voted to save the Astor House, 822 12th St., from demolition, and that year, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The city purchased the Astor House for $31,488, restored it and opened it to the public as a historic museum. It operated as such until it closed in 2015 to undergo a major rehabilitation and preservation project, which cost approximately $500,000. The Astor House has been empty since.
In April 2017, consultants began a feasibility study on the potential of turning the Astor House into a beer museum but found that the roughly 3,000-square-foot building is too small to host any sort of stand-alone museum.
On Sept. 24, 2018, the city issued a public Request For Proposals, which is a formal solicitation for ideas, to help determine the future use of the Astor House. Five proposals came in and a special committee reviewed them.
Through the next year, the proposals were reviewed and eventually one proposal went forward in the process. However, it proposed a purchase of the Astor House and because the building is city-owned, a sale would require a citywide public vote.
On Aug. 8, Golden City Council decided not to put an Astor House question on the 2019 ballot.
A staff memo for the Nov. 14 city council meeting notes that local nonprofits and the Golden Urban Renewal Authority (GURA) board have expressed interest in the Astor House. In addition, the authors of the above-mentioned proposal — the Foster Group — said they are still willing to work with the city on next steps, according to the staff memo.
Suzanne Stutzman, chair of Golden’s Historic Preservation Board, spoke during general public comment on Nov. 14. She filled councilmembers in on the progress the board is making concerning archeological and historical studies being conducted. Stutzman said the board’s findings could possibly be presented to city council as early as February next year.
“The Astor House has been there for a long time,” said councilmember Jim Dale on Nov. 14, “and it’ll be there in the future.”
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