Art, history and affordability for Denver seniors

Tammen Hall is an age- and income-restricted historic building in the heart of Denver
Complete with gargoyles, terrazzo floors, a marble entryway, the eight-story building is an impressive landmark in Denver's Uptown neighborhood. (Photo: Enterprise Community Partners)

Located adjacent to the Saint Joseph Hospital campus in central Denver, Tammen Hall is an adaptive reuse project that is now home to 49 low-income seniors. 

Developed by MGL Partners and Solvera Advisors, with support from the city, state, Saint Joseph Hospital and SCL Health, Tammen Hall was designated a Denver historic landmark in 2005 and was vacant for the majority of the last 15 years. 

Originally built in 1930 as a nurse dormitory for Children’s Hospital Colorado, the art deco building was named after Harry Tammen, the first publisher of The Denver Post. The building was later converted to office space for Children’s Hospital Colorado until the hospital moved to the Fitzsimons Campus in Aurora in September 2007.

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Complete with gargoyles, terrazzo floors, a marble fireplace and vaulted ceilings in its formal entryway, the eight-story building is an impressive landmark in Denver’s Uptown neighborhood. Among the historic spaces revived within Tammen Hall are a theater, a community room available for neighborhood meetings and events, and a grand entry and foyer. A rooftop deck was added where residents enjoy Denver’s expansive mountain and city views.

Hanging above the fireplace in the foyer is a beautifully restored five-panel mural painted by Denver artist Allen True for the original building in 1932. True’s work can be found in Colorado, Wyoming and Missouri state capitols, the Hoover Dam and on Wyoming license plates. The Tammen Hall mural may have been lost had it not been for an art conservator hired by Children’s Hospital when the building was sold. The mural was stored at the Western Center for Conservation of Fine Art before being returned to its original home last year. 

Tammen Hall provides proof that art, history and affordability are all possible under one roof. The project came together through a combination of federal and state tax credits for historic preservation and low-income housing, a loan from the City of Denver, and an investment from SCL Health, which owned the historic hall, as well as the hospital.

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Thanks to the vision of Saint Joseph Hospital and a diverse group of committed partners, residents now enjoy a beautiful, affordable home in the heart of a neighborhood that is increasingly hard for seniors to find an affordable place to live.

Jennie Rodgers is vice president for Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit that improves communities by making well-designed homes. Learn more at enterprisecommunity.org.

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