Adapt + Reuse

The Magnolia Hotel in Denver Made New Use of an Old Bank Building

First National Bank of Denver building, now The Magnolia Hotel, Denver, CO
(Wikimedia Commons)

Denver’s Magnolia Hotel – now one of several Magnolia-branded hotels throughout the country – came about as the result of a ‘90s adaptive reuse project.

The building, located at 17th and Stout streets in Denver’s financial district, first opened in 1911 as a new headquarters building for the First National Bank of Denver. The thirteen-story structure was designed in Chicago School style by Harry W.J. Edbrooke of Frank E. Edbrooke Architecture Company. Among other design flourishes, the exterior featured ornamental terra cotta wall plaques on its upper stories.

The First National Bank thrived for many years, with its financial holdings growing exponentially by the decade. By the late ‘50s, the bank had outgrown its headquarters building and moved onto a new one, built just down the street.

During the next few years, the building was renovated to be used by American National Bank. Local architecture firm James S. Sudler Associates helped to modernize the building’s interior; elements of the exterior design were also modified, including the addition of new window fixtures and covering up some of the original terra cotta plaques.

A five-story, 200-car parking garage was added next to the building, as was a drive-in banking facility.

American National Bank moved into the building in 1962, but it didn’t have the same luck that First National did. The company restructured in 1981 and ultimately left the building entirely in 1984.

The building then sat vacant for around a decade before a plan emerged to convert the building into a hotel.

Aided by $1.95 million in funds from the city’s Downtown Urban Renewal Area commission, Holtze Brothers Development Co. embarked upon a $21 million adaptive reuse project, collaborating with Allred Architectural Group and Guy Thornton Design to reimagine the old bank building as an independent hotel. Some elements of the original Edbrooke design, removed during the ’59-’62 remodel, were restored as part of the project.

The Holtze Executive Place hotel opened its doors in August 1995, featuring 246 rooms and 6,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places the following year.

The project was a financial success and prompted Holtze to develop similar hotels in historic buildings within major cities, beginning with Dallas in 1999.

The historic renovation hotel concept, now with locations in six cities, has since rebranded as The Magnolia.

The hotel underwent an additional $7 million in renovations in 2008, and today it continues to operate in the heart of Denver’s central business district.

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