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11/28/2004

Lafayette trading post demolished by owner

By Quentin Young
Times-Call News Group

LAFAYETTE — The former Trott’s Trading Post, a Lafayette structure said to have been one of the few remaining commercial false-front buildings in Boulder County, was demolished this week.

An intense campaign to preserve the Old-West style building, at 254 S. Public Road, including a $70,000 incentive offer from Lafayette officials, proved unsuccessful.

Teri Ladwig, a member of the family that owns the property, has long said the building’s presence hindered efforts to attract buyers for the property.

Asked about the family’s decision to demolish the building, Ladwig said: “Basically, it was to try to find a buyer for the property and the liability of the building sitting there.”

Rich Barton, who is behind the Coal Creek Village residential development under construction to the east of the former Trott’s Trading Post, arranged to buy the property earlier this year.

However, he stepped away from the deal after city officials came down on the side of preservationists in May.

Lafayette Councilwoman Kim Andresky, who was active in the preservation effort, said the demolition came as a “total surprise.”

Lafayette leaders offered $70,000 in fee waivers to preserve the facade of Trott’s Trading Post.

Andresky said Ladwig’s family, the Newbolds, seemed seriously to have considered the offer, but in the end rejected it.

However, Andresky said she did not think family members ever told the city their next step was to proceed with demolition.

Still, Andresky said the city probably could not have upped the stakes.

“What we offered was extremely generous,” she said.

During the preservation negotiations, city officials indicated they would refuse to annex the property were Trott’s Trading Post demolished — it sits in Boulder County, surrounded by Lafayette.

Annexation to the city would increase its value.

Asked whether the city would follow through with this threat, Andresky said: “I don’t even want to speculate.”

She added: “I think the city is on record as wanting the trading post structure to come in with annexation.”

In May, Lafayette city administrator Gary Klaphake expressed his views on the issue.

“If they do demolish it, we’re not that interested in annexation,” he said. “(They’d be) shooting themselves in the foot.”

Besides its Western-movie look, the trading post was considered historic because of its association with the early development of commerce in Boulder County.