Berkeley mortuary gets a new owner — and another shot at historic preservation

The Olinger Moore Howard Chapel mortuary, Berkeley, July 10, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Olinger Moore Howard Chapel mortuary, Berkeley, July 10, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

A mortuary in Berkeley at the center of a preservation fight won’t be demolished after its new owner has agreed to save it.

Historic Berkeley Regis, a historic-preservation group that fought to maintain the mortuary, said in a release on Thursday the Olinger Moore Howard Chapel at 4345 West 46th Ave. has been sold to GM Development of Denver. The new owners intend to apply for landmark status for the funeral home, which was previously owned by SCI Colorado Funeral Services. SCI originally wanted to sell the land to a developer that would have built townhomes.

Last year, the funeral home received a unanimous recommendation for preservation from the city’s Landmark Preservation Commission, going against the owner’s wishes in a fight that mirrored the potential Tom’s Diner demolition.

Historic Berkeley Regis wants the building to be repurposed, and it already has a new tenant: Beginning in March, Redemption Church Denver will be housed there. The release said additional space is available in the structure, which was built in 1960 and was designed by local architect J. Roger Musick

The property sold for $4.5 million, according to Historic Berkeley Regis spokesperson Bill Killam. Property records show the plot was assessed at $2 million.

“We think it’s a win-win-win,” Killam said. “It’s keeping that corner from heading the way the rest of Tennyson is heading.”

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