Vacant since 2004, the century-old Fly’n B House in northwest Highlands Ranch may soon have its fate determined. Whether that will involve restoration or demolition remains to be seen.
The house, built by Matthew Plews in 1906, has seen its share of owners over the years, but since Erickson Living — owners of Wind Crest Retirement Community — bought it from longtime owners John and Katie Bowen, it has sat empty and boarded.
The building, along with the land for Fly’n B Park which it sits on, was conveyed by Erickson to the Highlands Ranch Metro District in 2006. The district began the master planning for the park — which opened in 2010 — the following year.
“We started some restoration work on the house when the property was conveyed to us but discovered our budget wasn’t big enough to deal with the structural issues that we weren’t initially aware of, primarily issues dealing with the foundation,” said Carrie Ward, director of parks, recreation and open space for the district.
After getting a Historic Structure Assessment from the state of Colorado, it was determined that it would cost $800,000 to bring the property up to standard.
“Some of us didn’t think that was probably the wisest way to spend money,” said Metro District General Manager Terry Nolan. “So we are now going through a process that will end in May with an answer on what the board wants to do with that house.”
Options, according to Nolan and Ward, include bringing it up to historical standards, doing enough renovations to make it usable without putting it on par with historical standard requirements, removing the house altogether, and doing exterior renovations now and completing interior renovations at a later date.
If the house is renovated, plans for usage could include renting it out for meeting space or gatherings, using it in conjunction with the existing outdoor education programs at the park, and/or creating a walk-through museum experience or other form of historical interpretation on site.
Other Metro District projects in the discussion stages include the renovation of the Chum Howe House adjacent to the Highlands Ranch Mansion, as well as the future historic park planned for 2020 on the Clough Cattle Ranch and nearby land.
“We are really looking at the bigger, long-term picture here,” Ward said. “Where does it make sense to spend money for historic building renovations? The Fly’n B House is part of that bigger consideration and discussion. I think it’s good that we have the opportunity to take a look at all the alternatives and get a solid understanding of costs and get as much community input as we can.”
A public open house is scheduled from 3-8 p.m. March 6 at the district building, 62 W. Plaza Drive in Highlands Ranch. For those who cannot attend, they can also leave comment by contacting Ward at email@example.com or 720-240-5950.