Construction is underway to restore Stapleton’s historic control tower building into Denver’s newest Punch Bowl Social restaurant and entertainment complex expected to open November 2016.
CEO and founder of Punch Bowl Social Robert Thompson decided to re-purpose the control tower after City Councilman Chris Herndon approached him more than a year ago. “Councilman Herndon wanted a group to take care of the tower and preserve it. We’re treating it like the landmark that it is. Everything we’re doing is consistent with the building’s origins.”
Asbestos remediation is complete and work is beginning on the core infrastructure, including power, water, parking and expansion of the building.
Punch Bowl Social has an “eatertainment” concept that combines craft cocktails, diner-inspired food and entertainment, including old-school arcade games, pool tables and bowling alleys. Punch Bowl will serve lunch five days a week and brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. It will be adult-only after 9:30pm. As of now, it is planned to be open until 2am on most days, but that depends on what the community wants, according to Thompson, a Lowry resident.
The finished space inside will be about 15,000 square feet. Both indoor and outdoor spaces will be available for wedding receptions and corporate events.
Thompson figures the rehabilitation of the control tower building will cost around $7 million. “The asbestos abatement was a big deal, and also we need to replace the floors,” he said. “The building is OK structurally, but the concrete floors on top of the structure won’t pass modern-day code. So we’ll take them out and re-pour them.”
None of the historic building will be demolished. “We’re adding 5,000 square feet to the original building, increasing the building’s size by 30 percent. We’re preserving the mid-century modern and art deco design elements,” he says.
Thompson’s appreciation for historic buildings is evidenced in the Punch Bowl Social at 65 Broadway that was a grocery store in the 1950s. “We love old stuff,” he said. “It’s more interesting, and it’s also consistent with our brand identity of throwback elements, like old-school gaming.”
Forest City is also completing work north of the tower on the same lot. “That is the removal of concrete caissons that supported the former airport concourses prior to the start of utility work and the extension of 32nd avenue,” says Tom Gleason, vice president of public relations for Forest City.
The vacant lot next to Punch Bowl Social that abuts Central Park Blvd. will likely be used for new housing, according to Gleason. “We don’t have a specific project at this time but anticipate it will be a high-density residential development.”