Telluride Arts: Transfer Warehouse Project, Update & Call-to-Action

Telluride Arts: Transfer Warehouse Project, Update & Call-to-Action

A call-up of the Transfer Warehouse Project by Town Council is scheduled for Tuesday, March 29. Site walk at 1 p.m.; hearing, 1:30 p.m., Town Hall. To educate yourself, read the facts below, then please show up in support. Bottom line: The owner of the property is fully within its rights to develop the SW corridor as it wishes should Town turn down the current proposal for preservation of the Transfer Warehouse and the reinvigoration of the historic district. Would the community rather see starter castles or luxury condominiums in the district or a building in that context that would function for the common good? Would you want to see the historic Warehouse turned into an oh-so-cool garage (or something else equally offensively inappropriate)? Could happen. And please note: as property values have continued to rise, it becomes increasingly challenging to claim important sites for public use. Scroll down to bottom of the story for a video showing what Transfer Telluride would look like. The transformation is a thing of beauty. For more information call or email Kate Jones, or  970-708-8845.

Image, Molly Perrault of Telluride Arts

Image, Molly Perrault of Telluride Arts

Under executive director Kate Jones, Telluride Arts led the process to update Telluride’s Cultural Master Plan, originally produced in 1996. One of the key priorities to emerge out of the in-depth study was art space. Based on that mandate, Telluride Arts began serious conversations with the Town of Telluride, funders, developers, and others about long-term art space needs, conversations which culminated in the Transfer Warehouse Project.

What is the Transfer Warehouse Project?

Over the past three years, plans for the SW corner of Fir and Pacific have evolved to include more affordable housing than is required by town ordinances, smaller homes along the alley to help ease the transition between residential homes and the commercial warehouse district, and pathways throughout the project to facilitate pedestrian flow.

‘“The property owners, led by the Meriwether Group and the Lifton Zolines, are providing a very fair and exciting community benefit that will restore the Warehouse and convert it from private to public ownership in perpetuity,” explained Jones.

Why the need?

To preserve a piece of Telluride’s colorful history.

In the early 1900s, tracks for a narrow gauge railroad ran along the southwest corridor of Pacific and Fir, an area known as the Warehouse District. When the mining boom busted and Telluride became a ghost of its former lustrous self, the only two buildings left standing were the Stronghouse and the Transfer Warehouse. Over the years the Zoline and Lifton-Zoline families protected the structures and hoped and planned for a cultural and community future for the Warehouse.

To support the arts and an evolving cultural environment in the region.

Key nonprofits, the ones that drive Telluride’s cultural economy such as the Telluride Film Festival, Telluride Library, Telluride Mountainfilm, are clamoring for more work, meeting, and event space, a long-term need with a near-term fix.

And to secure a critical piece of Telluride’s core and dedicate it to community use in perpetuity.

Below is a summary of the project that appears in full on Telluride Arts’ website, including details about the Planned Unit Development or PUD and the land use code.


  • The Telluride Transfer Warehouse sits on a large property owned by a development partnership led by the Meriwether Group.

  • Telluride Arts is under contract to be the stewards of the Public Benefit, and convert the building to public use. The building has always been privately owned.

  • The Warehouse is a protected building within the Telluride National Historic Landmark District and in this proposal will be restored to its historic style.

  • There is no requirement of the owner to restore the building; the existing walls must be maintained as-is to avoid “demolition by neglect”.

  • The Warehouse was built in 1906. The roof collapsed in 1979. Telluride Arts opened it to the public for the first time in 2015.

  • The community vision for the Warehouse is a light filled community center for events and art exhibits, with flexible spaces for artist-in-residence and temporary studios.

  • The project received approval from Planning and Zoning, and now will be reviewed by the Town Council, who will determine if the project moves forward.

  • If the proposed development doesn’t get Town approvals, the restoration and deed restriction is off the table, and the property will be sold

Continue reading here.

Telluride is, no denying, a ski resort. But what snows folks around these parts is not just, well, snow. It is the richly diverse cultural life.

Telluride is a ski resort AND a cultural center.

But without the Transfer Warehouse Project, the region is a cultural center without a center.

“It is Pamela and John Lifton-Zoline’s vision and altruism that is making all this possible for the community,” added Jones.

Once the Project is completed – and with everyone’s support, we remain optimistic the development will move forward – Telluride Arts would function as the steward of the complex. And that’s a good thing: over the past few years, it has become abundantly obvious that Jones and Telluride Arts are capable of, and committed to the elegant execution and efficient management of the renovated space for the greater public good.

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