Allan Raver, a real estate pioneer in downtown Denver in the 1970s and 1980s, died in New York before the area became known as LoDo. He was 78 years old.
Raver was an architectural antiques collector and trader who had a warehouse in downtown Denver full of treasures, said John Imbergamo, a restaurateur who rented a space from Raver at 1515 Market Street to open Cafe Giovanni in 1980.
“He was a very pioneer in the lower city center. He actually lived there, ”said Imbergamo. “He was a shrewd businessman.”
As part of the Cafe Giovanni lease, Raver invited Imbergamo to comb the antiques warehouse and transform it into an upscale cafe that had operated for 11 years on Market Street. He recalled that Imbergamo had managed to furnish the front room of the cafe with floor-to-ceiling oak panels and carved columns. The warehouse was crammed with large items Raver had collected from historic buildings and rooms. Furniture and collectibles included art, stained glass windows, mirrors, gargoyles, lamps, wooden benches, and hundreds of doors.
At the time, Raver lived in a huge loft on Market Street, which Imbergamo described as “magnificent.” The loft, 75 feet wide and 125 feet long, was full of antiques, including a 25-by-25-foot shower stall with basket swing inside.
“It was wild,” Imbergamo said of the residence. “That was before LoDo. Then it was a completely different place. “
Bill Saslow, Reiver’s former real estate partner in Denver in the late 1970s and early 80s, remembered his friend as a creative person, educated in engineering, law and architecture.
“Allan was one of the most creative and vibrant people I have ever worked with,” Saslow said.
According to Saslow, Raver had the unique ability to gather materials from damaged or abandoned buildings, finding value where others could not.
“He had the ability to understand how buildings were built, and this allowed him to disassemble them in such a way that he could salvage material that proved to be very valuable,” Saslow said.
According to his former business partner, Raver was a visionary in real estate and development.
“He definitely saw some opportunities in some parts of the city that took quite a long time for others to realize,” Saslow said. “He was involved in the lower part of the city center. Allan has been there since the beginning. “
In the late 1980s, Raver ran into financial problems with his Broadway Plaza project. Raver and his successor Western Equities, which bought it out in 1988, invested more than $ 80 million in Broadway Plaza, which was renamed Denver InterPlaza, and property debts rose to $ 115 million. InterPlaza was full of vacancies, and in 1990 there was an exclusive sale that dismantled the $ 3 million penthouse River had built on the upper floors of the defunct Montgomery Ward building on South Broadway. The proposed office, retail and residential complex became the cornerstone of the unsuccessful project. Among the items sold were six elevators – still in crates – that Raver imported from England and never installed in the building. The elevators were valued at $ 400,000 upon purchase.
Raver and his business, development company Realities Inc., were named in more than 30 claims, reports The New York Times. He moved to New York to start over, and opened an antiques gallery, collecting treasures from abandoned mansions on Long Island. In 1989, he moved to a loft on Elizabeth Street in lower Manhattan. Here he saved an abandoned piece of land in Little Italy, turning it into a garden oasis known as Elizabeth Street Garden…
River died on May 17 in New York of cardiac arrest. He is survived by a son, Joseph, and a daughter, Jackie.