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The History of the Alliance Center

The Kennicott-Patterson Transfer and Storage building, also known as the Otero building and currently serving as the Alliance Center, was built c. 1908 with Denver building permit #1329. The building was originally used as a warehouse and has all of the architectural features typically associated with 20th Century Commercial buildings. All of these elements have been retained. This area was the center of the wholesale business activity in the early 20th century and the loading docks which allowed this commerce to continue, along with the rail spurs, are still visible.

By the early 1920s, Merchant Transfer and Storage Company used the building for warehousing. They stayed in the building until 1933. After about a year of sitting vacant during the depression, Gate Rubber Company took over the building until 1939. In 1936, Morey Mercantile expanded its business onto the site from its buildings next door, for three years sharing the space with the Gate Rubber Company. Morey continued to use the building through the years of World War II, until their sale to Consolidated Food Products in 1956.

In the early 1960s, despite the economic downturn in the area, the building at 1536 Wynkoop continued to be occupied by a variety of small businesses. From 1975 to 1983, no businesses were located in the building at 1536 Wynkoop Street. In the 1970’s BNC Engineers bought the aging building and began a major renovation to turn the building into office space. This corresponds to the date of the most significant changes to the exterior of the building, including a set-back elevator addition. It is assumed that the original windows were replaced with aluminum windows at this time.

In 1990, Joyce Meskis of the Tattered Cover purchased the building as a part of a larger purchase of buildings along Wynkoop and 16th Streets to be a part of her growing Tattered Cover Bookstores. From this warehouse location and the building next door, the Tattered Cover shipped, received, and warehoused their stock of books. Over the next several years, Ms. Meskis also leased space to a number of nonprofit organizations. The building was also home to the first offical offices of the Wynkoop Brewing Company.

In 2004, the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado purchased the building with the intent of creating the Alliance Center, a showcase and educational outreach center promoting sustainability and the reuse of historic structures to achieve sustainable cities. The building underwent major energy efficiency and high performance systems renovations in 2004 to provide a sustainable, collaborative office and meeting space environment for the community.

The Alliance Center has proven to be an award winning facility and a leader in sustainable design, receiving various awards for contributions not only to High Performance Buildings  but also in the field of education. To this date, the Alliance Center has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards and continues to advance as a model for sustainable commercial structures.

Awards received are as follows:

LEED: Existing Buildings Gold

LEED: Commercial Interiors Silver

EPA Energy Star Award

Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment: Environmental Leader Gold Award

National Leadership Award for Education by an Organization

City of Denver Mayor’s Design Award: It Ain’t Easy Being Green

Colorado Office of Energy Management and Conservation: Energy Champion

IFMA Award

2015 Colorado Facility Award of Excellence: Adaptive Reuse of a Building/Space

Other Awards:

  • USGBC Colorado’s Executive Director Award for showcasing innovative solutions in resource efficiency at The Alliance Center
  • Showcase Project with the White House Better Building Challenge
  • Denver Mayor’s Design Award
  • US Green Building Council National Leadership Award for Education by an Organization
  • Colorado Energy Champion award from Colorado Governor Owens’ Office of Energy Management and Conservation
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment’s Environmental Leader Gold Award