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Orpheum’s resurrection won’t happen soon

Brief by Central Staff

Historic buildings – May 1997 – Colorado Central Magazine

Orpheum’s resurrection won’t happen soon

Looking around Central Colorado, it’s apparent that a lot of old places are getting a new lease on life. But sometimes it’s not easy.

When we were trying to find out what happened to the Unique, a few people mentioned that the Orpheum Theatre in Buena Vista was being restored.

Owner John Cogswell would like the Orpheum to be a true theater for Buena Vista. The completed facility would be a second-story theater above street-level offices and the World Savings Association in a large, barn-shaped building on Main Street in Buena Vista.

For some years, the building housed a garage, and when clean-up began, little was left of the upstairs theater — no stage, no plaster, no heat, no power. But plans were made, an architect was hired, and the building garnered a $100,000 grant.

Now, however, it appears that the Orpheum won’t be opening any time soon.

Original estimates to restore the building came in at $150,000, but because of all the building code requirements, the current estimate is $550,000. (Code for assembly occupancy includes regulations regarding exits, restrooms, elevators, electrical components and load-bearing capacity of the structure intended to assure both safety and handicapped accessability).

Obviously, a considerable amount of additional funding will have to be found before the curtains open.