LAFAYETTE, Colo. – The Lafayette City Council will decide Tuesday evening whether or not to designate a blighted century-old motel building and its property as a historical landmark to the chagrin of the property’s owner.
The city’s senior planner has recommended five buildings that make up the Circle Motel property and its neon sign, located at 200 W Baseline Road, be approved as historical landmarks to the council.
But the property’s owner, Mike Macinko, has opposed the proposed designation, which was filed earlier this year by a neighbor of the property who wants to save the property because of its connection to the old Lincoln Highway.
The Lincoln Highway was the main connector between New York and California in the early 20th Century, and Lafayette became one of the popular stops on the way to Denver or through the Rocky Mountains.
The property was first purchased in 1887 and was owned by several different people before it first became a campground for travelers in the 1920s. It became the circle motel in the 1960s after it was bought by Leone and Herb Lauthan.
The Lauthan family sold the motel in 1972 and built the Baseline Motel next door. Since then the Circle Motel property has gone through many changes – eventually becoming rental housing and vacant properties plagued by crime in recent years.
Vicky Uhland, who lives nearby, filed the third-party application to designate the property a historical landmark in September, though Macinko has fought it, saying – as many Lafayette residents do – that it is derelict and an eyesore downtown.
Others have accused Macinko of seeking to redevelop the property into either townhomes or mixed-usage housing, but he says the historical designation is subverting his rightful due process as the property’s owner.
“I feel that [it] has outlived its time and now it’s time to find a new purpose for that piece of land that brings some benefit to both the neighborhood and businesses up and down Baseline,” he told the Boulder Daily Camera.
Tuesday’s meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday at 1290 S. Public Road. The agenda and more background on the property and possible designation can be found here.