Private funds start renovation of Pulliam Building in Loveland

LOVELAND — Private donors have raised $500,000 that will go toward renovating the Pulliam Community Building at 545 Cleveland Ave., in downtown Loveland.

About 30 individuals and private foundations have pooled that amount, the required match to secure a $1.5 million city of Loveland investment to start work on the first phase of a project to make the landmark Depression-era building a multipurpose community gathering place.

This artist’s rendition shows the Pulliam Community Building’s auditorium as it might be used following first phase renovations.

Loveland resident Norm Rehme led the push to save the Pulliam building since 2009 when he formed the nonprofit Pulliam Community Building Foundation.

City council members in December 2016 approved an agreement with the Pulliam Building Foundation specifying their 3-to-1 match for the project’s $2 million first phase, and an even split of costs for continuing Phase 2 work estimated at $5 million. The agreement spans five years, with all future expenses requiring city council appropriation.

The first phase of the project will refurbish the Pulliam’s auditorium, an event venue with a 4,500-square-foot polished wood floor, stage space, a balcony and a curved Lamella truss ceiling.

Rehme said the private contributions came from individual donors and from other charitable foundations, including the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado and the D. R. Virginia Pulliam Charitable Trust.

“This never would have happened without those two, or without another anonymous foundation gift that came to us,” Rehme said.

The Pulliam trust gift continues the family’s commitment to the building that began in 1936 when D.T. and Lillian Pulliam donated $20,000 to the city, a private match securing a Works Progress Administration project that led to the opening of the Pulliam Community Building in 1938.

The city’s Economic Development Department has worked with Rehme and his foundation for more than five years on plans for rehabilitation as a multiuse community center, with economic development manager Mike Scholl leading the efforts by city staff.