Connoisseur Late Fall 2014 Final Review 7

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<ol><li> 1. 303.893.3200 | 7 ana Crawford is easy to spot. She walks into the bustling old market inspired eatery and people step aside as the woman wearing black Dior sunglasses and a bright purple jacket walks through. The general manager of the restaurant rushes over to greet Crawford and suggests the quinoa salad special for lunch. After making our purchases, ending up with a cheese board and croissant instead, we choose a quiet table in the back of the seat-yourself hall ready to begin our interview. Not a sip into our iced tea the general manager of the restaurant is back to introduce a colleague to Crawford. A moment later a man and his wife approach.I wanted to introduce my wife, said the man, we have always loved what you do. We are at Union Stations Mercantile Dining and Provisions, and it is clear Dana Crawford is a woman who is recognized. I reached out to Dana Crawford, iconic Denver preservationist and modern day visionary and asked her to tell me something people dont know about her. Dana made her mark on the city of Denver where shes lived for over 45 years during the early stages of Denvers urban development to Union Stations opening this year. Well, said Crawford, to start, I feel entirely over exposed. How could you not? During the 1960s the urban renewal movement was heating up across the country, with a mindset to erase the past and rewrite the future with function-first urban development. Crawford had a different idea. A founding member of Historic Denver, organized in 1970 to protect some of Denvers most historic districts from being razed, Crawford sought not simply to preserve and rehabilitate old buildings, but to define the heart of urban life-creating public spaces that promoted well being and happiness within them. In 1963 the Denver Urban Renewal Authority slated over twenty blocks in Lower Downtown (LoDo) for demolition. Recognizing the importance of the Larimer Street neighborhood to Denvers history, she organized the Larimer Square Associates, persuaded local bankers to help fund the undertaking, and won her battle to preserve Larimer Square through creative repurposing. In 1971 Larimer Street became Denvers first historic district and a model for other cities. Back then, I was pushing Larimer Square, said Crawford,but Larimer was pushing me. The success of Crawfords work inspired more preservation work in LoDo, and she continued to select, preserve, and adapt significant buildings, from the landmark Oxford Hotel, in which shes still involved, to the Hungarian Flour Mill, where she lives. Crawford was credited for bringing the popular loft style to Denver, an idea borrowed from SOHO lofts in New York City.They told me, no one would ever want to live in downtown Denver, said Crawford. We couldnt get a single bank loan to build. Now, my friends tell me they want to be where the action is. People tell me theyve lived in the suburbs their entire lives and have never known their neighbors. Still making headlines, the Crawford Hotel, indeed named after Dana Crawford who worked for nearly thirty years to see Union Station reach fruition, opened in July. My mother told me youre supposed to be in the paper three times; born, marry, die. It hasnt really gone like that, she said. The building faced demolition and development proposals were repeatedly turned down. Crawford teamed up with Walter Isenberg, CEO and president of Sage Hospitality Group, and together they opened the doors. I didnt just join a team, I put a team together, she said. Showing no signs of slowing down, Crawford is working on a mixed-use building project along the Platte River in the up and coming River North (RiNo) area. Were looking for a name, she says with a wink, leading me to believe she wouldnt tell me if she had one. The development will feature residential and retail space, restaurants, galleries and studios with attention to public amenities like riverside parks. Ive always been a woman of firsts, said Crawford. As if taking on another decade long development project was as simple a decision as where to go to lunch. For more than thirty years, she has been the catalyst for Denvers urban revival and continues to inspire the return of vibrant activity to LoDos streets, naturally garnering quite a bit of public attention. Crawford has been honored with the Louis du Pont Crowninshield Award, the nations highest award in historic preservation, but how does she feel about having a building named after her? Im not used to it yet, said Crawford, but Ill get used to it. OUT to LUNCH with Dana Crawford By BRITTANNY HAVARD Brittanny Havard is Editor of Connoisseur magazine and Public Relations Manager at Fuller Sothebys International Realty. Have a local innovator in mind for Out To Lunch? Email My mother told me youre supposed to be in the paper three times; born, marry, die. It hasnt really gone like that. A WOMAN OF FIRSTS Denvers urban placemaker just wont quit. D </li></ol>