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The Cramer Group in The Denver Post

Two doors from the Phipps Mansion, A Belcaro Time Capsule from 1958

Mark Cramer with Coldwell Banker Previews shows the back yard of a 1958 home built by Allen Phipps, son of Sen. Lawrence Phipps.

In 1958, steel magnate and former U.S. Sen. Lawrence C. Phipps was passing on to his reward … the same year that son Allen Phipps built a sprawling ranch on 1.15 acres carved from the oval-shaped Phipps Mansion site. Coldwell Banker agents Mark and Lisa Cramer have that house on the market at $2.3 million.

The senator’s sons, Allen and Gerald Phipps, are best known for having saved Denver from an unimaginably ignominious fate. In 1964, they bought the fledgling Denver Broncos and Bears Stadium from an owner that was ready to ship the team east following its first lamentable years in the AFL.

This house deserves that kind of break, too. It has 4,650 feet on its ranch level and another 2,200 on a split around the garage,angled about a resplendent back yard. In a year when Sputnik was in orbit and cars had fins, this was a place with a space-age kitchen and a full master suite with dressing area and plenty of built-ins. All the more remarkable, nobody seems to have changed it since; it’s a time capsule of 1958 — the cabinets, finishes, all as they were then.

Logic, says Mark Cramer, points to scraping and building, in one of a very few high-end neighborhoods that shows year-over-year price increases now. If you follow Kentucky Avenue around the Belcaro oval (street names change to Adams, then Belcaro Drive, then Madison) you’ll pass numbers of residences with comparable pricing, including some scrape-n-builds that have gone well beyond (one house, Cramer says, is at $6.3 million). At $2.3 million, a buyer could spend $300/foot for even 8,000 new feet and still come in well under $5 million.
The Cramers hope this will go another direction, though. Buy the house; put, say, $400,000 into a makeover of the main ranch level, and then totally rebuild the old garage and servants’ wing into a new bedroom wing around a pool deck ($600,000?). That would yield a period showplace in a matching neighborhood, at $3.4 million.

… One that preserves the styling and the fun details, including a wet bar that has a pass-thru to the patio outside. 3481 E. Kentucky Ave. is 5 blocks west of Colorado Boulevard on Kentucky Avenue.