NewsLocal News


Five Points advocates fighting to get Casino Cabaret entrance back to original design

Casino Cabaret
Posted at 4:32 PM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-31 20:43:50-04

DENVER -- It's safe to say Denver's Five Points neighborhood has undergone a lot of changes over the years.

"Gosh, it has changed so much," longtime business owner Maedella Stiger said Tuesday. "Things people could not do [are] doing it now."

She and her husband have owned Franklin Stiger Afro Styling on Welton Street for half a century.

"I love Five Points. I walk it every day," Stiger said.

That's how she learned Casino Cabaret, a historic music venue just a block south from her barbershop, had gotten a new look.

download (1).jpeg
Casino Cabaret Original Entrance
download (2).jpeg
Casino Cabaret Original Entrance
download (3).jpeg
Casino Cabaret Original Entrance

Prior to changes made in February 2020, the venue had a single front door that was surrounded by blocks of glass. Now, three hollow metal doors are in its place, with no glass blocks in sight.

"The whole front part portion of it has been totally redesigned," Charles Foster said.

He's been helping Stiger fight to get the original design back. For them, the issue is deeper than the design of an entrance.

"If you start at one thing chipping off one day, then it could lead on to others," Foster said.

The two say they've received thousands of signatures from people who agree with them.

"We want to claim as much originality in this area as we possibly can because so much of it has been taken away," Foster said.

Denver7 reached out to the owner of Cervantes' Masterpiece Ballroom, which Casino Cabaret has been home to for nearly two decades.

Duncan Goodman, the venue's owner and operations manager, says the change was necessary as the original door frame was falling apart, making the door nearly non-functional. Security was a concern.

"It also wouldn't have been difficult to breach the door in that state," Goodman wrote over email Tuesday.

He admits, however, the design of the new entrance was a mistake.

"We made the mistake by not acquiring the proper permitting. It was negligence on our part and we take responsibility. The project was completed in February 2020 and immediately after, Landmark Preservation was in touch with us letting us know that the doors would have to be redone, this time in the style of Five Points and with Landmark overseeing the project from there on," Goodman wrote.

Goodman and Denver Landmark Preservation have come up with an improved version of the original design. It will have two doors instead of three, the panels will be wooden instead of metal, and glass blocks will once again surround the entrance.

download (4).jpeg
Casino Cabaret Updated Design Drawings
download (5).jpeg
Casino Cabaret Updated Design Drawings

"The front entrance will look as good as it did back in the 1950s when the Casino Cabaret was at its peak," Goodman wrote.

The construction permit was submitted in June 2021, according to a copy of the permit Goodman shared with Denver7. Construction will begin, he says, when the doors arrive.

Stiger and Foster won't rest until the work is complete.

"Whatever is in this area, leave it like it is," Stiger said. "They need to put [that original design] back."

Their goal now is to have Denver Landmark Preservation consider the building a "contributing structure," which means "it would have to follow the Five Points customized design guidelines for contributing structures for all future renovations, additions, alterations, etc.," the agency said.

However, that can only happen with the property owner's consent, and the agency says it hasn't heard from the owner.