Innovation and preservation in Colorado
The history of Stanley Marketplace, a preservation adaptive re-use project in Aurora, Colorado, is steeped in advances in aeronautics and aviation.
The project involved the re-use of a 1954 Stanley Aviation hangar 140,000 square feet in size as a redevelopment project. The building serves as a neighborhood commercial center hosting numerous specialty shops. Creative financing included the use of historic preservation tax credits for the $25 million renovation.
For contributions to aviation history, the property became a City of Aurora Historic Landmark in 2015. It is the subject of a Aurora History Museum exhibit, entitled “From Manufacturing to Marketplace: Innovation at Stanley Aviation.” Founder Robert Stanley was a groundbreaking test pilot, inventor and entrepreneur. He invented various types of ejection seats and escape capsules, as well as other aeronautic components.
The Stanley Aviation plant almost doubled in size with a 1957 expansion. The decidedly modern building gained iconic neon signs in 1961 and 1967, which have been preserved. Other architectural features are clean lines, ribbon windows, triple-height retractable hangar doors on the west elevation and a simple horizontal red stripe that encircles the building. Previously located strategically near Air Force facilities and Denver’s Stapleton Airport, the plant became a leader in aeronautics engineering, as well as one of Aurora’s major employers within two years.
Original building materials on the exterior and interior embody the history of the building and are prominently featured. The numerous restaurants, salons, shops, bakeries and galleries in the marketplace provide a popular gathering place.
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