The City of Denver’s Board of Appeals Monday temporarily lifted orders to vacate the 101 Broadway building, paving the way for El Diablo restaurant and Sketch Wine Bar to be re-opened.
The city’s building department had shut the restaurants down July 10 with a “notice of unsafe structure” and corresponding “orders to vacate,” alleging building owner Jesse Morreale had failed to complete building improvements in a timely manner.
Morreale, and his attorney, Jack Reutzel, appealed the orders. Morreale told board members at a special meeting Monday morning the building should not have been closed and that it was not unsafe.
He presented a letter from an engineer, James R. Harris, with the opinion that “this building does not meet the definition of a dangerous building,” Morreale told board members.
With the temporary lifting of the “unsafe structure” and “order to vacate” notices until Oct. 1, the board ruled: “The appellant shall be ordered to obtain all necessary permits and comply with the work plan dated August 9, 2011.”
“They did exactly what I asked the city to do before we had to take it to the Board of Appeals,” Morreale said.
The main issues of contention between the building department and Morreale seem to center on improvements to the building’s structure to shore it up against huge wind storms and roof improvements to handle large snowfalls. The historic building is 106 years old.
“The board agreed that the repairs are necessary, and that the work plan must be completed,” a city spokeswoman, Andrea Burns of Community Planning & Development, said via email. “The city is ready to work with the owner to expedite plan reviews and permits. We believe that in the coming weeks we can achieve our dual goals of ensuring public safety and putting people back to work on a permanent basis.”
Morreale said crews would be “working over night” to get the businesses ready to re-open Tuesday.