The Castle Rock Historic Preservation Board has recommended the town council approve removing a historic landmark designation from a building in the heart of downtown Castle Rock, which could make …
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The Castle Rock Historic Preservation Board has recommended the town council approve removing a historic landmark designation from a building in the heart of downtown Castle Rock, which could make way for current owners' hopes to redesign the building's street-facing exterior.
The Historic Preservation Board is only a recommending body. Its decision came in a 5-1 vote on May 1 with board member Carlos Salinas dissenting. Council will hear the issue, likely on May 21, to decide if the landmark status should be removed.
The property at 302-304 Wilcox Street, former home to the Castle Rock Bar and Grill, received its designation as a local historic landmark in 1995. The structure comprises what was once two buildings that were connected in 1997.
The older of the two buildings first functioned as a creamery and was built in 1939. Its storefront features brick-lined arches that are original, dating back to 1939. The newer building was built in 1951. Both are made of cinder block with a stucco finish.
In 1973, a car crashed into the older of the buildings and destroyed portions of its historic façade and windows. It is not eligible for the state or national registry.
The current owners and applicants for de-landmarking, Sarah Miles and John Egbert of Milestone Properties, purchased the building in 2018. They have already begun renovations to its interior. Their plan is to open a craft cocktail lounge in the building “as soon as possible,” Miles said.
The business partners are Parker residents who also own Milestone Computer Technology. This is their first venture into the restaurant industry, Miles said.
“We're not massive developers. We own a tech company,” Egbert said. “Our hope is to bring something special to Castle Rock.”
If the landmark designation is removed, they would then pursue the town's permission to redesign the storefront, which must be approved through a separate process from the landmark removal.
Design plans are only conceptual to date, but so far, they include completely removing the historic arches and replacing the stucco with brick. The arches do not span the length of the two conjoined buildings, leaving the roof mismatched.
Members of the downtown business community provided written statements of support for the proposal and spoke at the meeting. They included owner of 1 Stop Tire & Auto's John Manka, Chris Gill of the B&B Café, and Lou Scileppi of Scileppi's at The Old Stone Church, among others.
Lee Alexander of the Masonic Lodge, another historic property that neighbors the old Castle Rock Bar and Grill, wrote: “I like the brick façade much better than the old stucco (and the humps). It would certainly upgrade the appearance.”
“This property as it's proposed will be positive not just for the 300 block,” said Andrew Wasson, who owns the Wild Blue Yonder Brewing Company, “but for the downtown district.”
The most recent occupant of the building, the Castle Rock Bar & Grill, closed in 2018. The eatery was referred to numerous times by the applicant, board members and members of the public as the “Dirty Bar.”
Meeting speakers said the restaurant was well-known by the “Dirty Bar” nickname because of repeated instances of rowdy behavior from patrons.
Meeting attendees also said the business's reputation left a “stigma” on the building, one they hope will be removed by opening a new lounge and changing the building design. Miles and Egbert plan to put a martini on their menu called “The Dirty,” in reference to the previous establishment.
A Facebook page for the Castle Rock Bar & Grill, which appears to have last been updated in 2016, gives the restaurant a 4 out of 5 rating based on 95 reviews. Page administrators seemed to have embraced the “Dirty Bar” nickname. Posts include promotions like “A free shot to whoever is the first person who comes in and says the magic phrase 'Make it dirty'” and “Come on down to the Dirt tonight.”
Owners of the Castle Rock Bar & Grill could not be reached for comment or reaction to the Historic Preservation Board meeting.
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