Skye Barker Maa, owner of Neighborhood Music Stapleton, along with 13 other tenants, recently received formal legal notice of “eviction and condemnation” from their leased space on E. 25th Ave. in Aurora. Aurora Public Schools intends to acquire the property, possibly as soon as next March. The district commenced condemnation proceedings after efforts to acquire the property through good faith negotiations failed.
The tenants at Stapleton South Office Warehouse Park, 10255 E. 25th Ave., include the music school, a charter school, youth-serving programs and several light industrial users. Neighborhood Music is in the second year of a five-year lease. The property is owned by Stapleton residents Matt and Marti (Page) Hand. Hand is a pastor at the Grace City Denver church and has recently converted a portion of the 42,500-square-foot building into a community center available not only to his congregation but community groups as well.
Both Hand and Barker Maa commented on the irony of condemnation proceedings against a facility focused on school and community programs so that it could be acquired for school purposes. In fact, Hand used the same phrase to describe his facility—“bridge between two communites” —as Supt. Munn used in explaining his hopes for an academic campus along 25th Ave. Hand hopes he and tenants who have invested in the building improvement will receive fair compensation but notes that because no federal dollars are involved in the purchase, there is no requirement for relocation assistance.
Barker Maa holds out hope that tenants will be allowed to remain at the facility for some period after the district’s acquisition of the property. She says that even with a successful bond issue in November, it will be some time before the district could begin to operate a new school where the South Stapleton Warehouse is located. Barker Maa says she is in negotiations to move her school to Stanley Marketplace. She says Neighborhood Music Stapleton, with its 40 teachers and 300 students, “will absolutely survive.”