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City of Englewood files lawsuit against owners of historic depot building

The historic train depot was built in 1915. The current owners of the building intended to turn it into a letterpress museum.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The owners of the historic Englewood Depot building are facing a lawsuit for not following through on restorations promised when they bought the building nine years ago. 

That's according to the lawsuit filed by the City of Englewood on Monday. 

Tom and Patti Parson bought the building, located near West Dartmouth Avenue and South Santa Fe Drive, in 2013 for $30,000, a release from the city says. They intended to turn the building into a letterpress museum.

As part of the deal, the lawsuit says, the Parsons had agreed to restore and update the building. In exchange, the city agreed to a "greatly reduced" purchase price for the depot.

According to the city, this was "because the Parsons' proposal dovetailed with the city’s goal to restore the centrally located historic building while creating a community museum and gathering place."

Since the purchase of the building, the Parsons have run into several unanticipated issues that slowed the progress of the restoration, according to a letter from the nonprofit Englewood Depot, Inc. to the city. The letter says that despite the slow pace, "there is a purpose and value in step-by-step deliberate development." The letter also says a timeframe for the completion of the renovations was never included in the contract.

Pictures posted on the Letterpress Depot's website show periodic construction updates, including the installation of an electrical pole at the end of September. 

Credit: Tom Parson

However, the city said they have found 21 promised improvements that have not yet been completed. These include:

  • Making multiple upgrades for ADA accessibility.
  • Connecting electrical, water and sewer, and gas lines.
  • Adding a heating system and water heater.
  • Adding additional restrooms.
  • Installing fire-resistant ceiling materials.
  • Correcting drainage issues.

The Parsons have also violated city code by hosting events without getting a certificate of occupancy or meeting building and fire codes, the city said.

“Filing suit was certainly a last resort, but the city and its citizens deserve the community space they were promised,” Englewood Mayor Othoniel Sierra said in a release. “We’ve worked diligently to negotiate a proposal that would be equitable to both parties. But unfortunately, those efforts failed so we were required to seek court intervention.”

Tom Parson said in an email on Monday that they "strongly disagree" with the accusations from the city and that there are numerous false claims in the lawsuit.

He said the Englewood Depot, Inc. board would be meeting Monday night to discuss the lawsuit.

The Englewood Depot was built in 1915 as a train depot for the Santa Fe Railroad, according to History Colorado. It was originally located closer to the train tracks, but was moved to its current location in 1994 by the City of Englewood. The building is on the National and State Historic Register.

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