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Tennyson Street Development Drives Neighbors Out

Tennyson Street in the Denver Berkeley neighborhood has been home to Future Drawn oneLine Gallery for the past five years. Throughout his time in business, owner and artist Jonathan Applegate has learned to appreciate the community and embrace its continuous developments

“I really admire Tennyson because it has so many mom-and-pop shops, there’s a lot of character at every single establishment,” he said.

While living on the block, Applegate found the perfect space for his gallery near the corner of 44th and Tennyson where he quickly became part of the community by creating a hand-painted line mural that can be found in the alley between 41st and 42nd street. He’s also collaborated with other gallery owners in the neighborhood, like Michelle Courier from Westward

“I encourage more galleries to come to the street because I feel like we all have something different to bring to the table and I believe it’s our differences that makes us stronger,” Applegate said. 

However, much like others in the community, Applegate has watched the developments change the view outside his gallery doors. The main street has gone through many changes in its history, leading to the introduction of new businesses and farewells to some of its longtime residents.

“I have to remember that not too long ago my art gallery was that change,” he said. “I’ve been part of that change, both a victim and a positive contributor. Buildings are being completely destroyed and so now my house is going to become a new high-rise.”

Due to large developments occurring along Tennyson Street between 38th and 46th, including Applegate was forced to move out of his home, and out of the neighborhood, which has been the case for many businesses and residents of the community. The loss of Local 46 was a devastating blow when a whole block between 45th and 46th was acquired for apartments.  

“In a small neighborhood like this, if you get displaced, it is very unlikely that you’re going to be able to move next door. Most of the businesses when they do get displaced, have to close and go to a different neighborhood or town,” said Jimmy Funkhouser, owner of Feral and member of the Tennyson Berkeley Business Association.

Funkhouser has operated his outdoor store on Tennyson for seven years. He recalled a hyper-development that occurred after the city of Denver made an announcement changing the zoning rules for slot homes, banning any further development. Before they settled into their present location, Feral could be found further down the block in a bungalow they were forced to leave due to these rapid changes. 

“A lot of these projects that weren’t going to be on the books for four or five years got pushed forward and had to happen that year. That rule change by the city of Denver was what lead to the street changing overnight,” Funkhouser said.

Walking down Tennyson, you can still spot some of its old bungalows preparing to become home to new business chains like SkinCeuticals Skin Lab. Residents can also expect other chains like “Jew-ish” deli Call Your Mother and the development of The Lantern and high-rise buildings throughout the block.

“There’s nothing preventing them from knocking down buildings currently,” Funkhouser said. “I always say the sun doesn’t shine on Tennyson Street anymore from 44th to 46th because the buildings are so tall now.”

Although change is inevitable, business owners like Funkhouser say the shifts had to happen for its local businesses to survive. While he thinks development will continue to happen in the community, he hopes that Tennyson keeps changing for the better and at a slower pace. 

Applegate is currently working on finding his way back to the neighborhood to be closer to his gallery and the community. 

“I think to have a strong community it’s good to work and live in the same neighborhood because you’re saying hi to your neighbors when they walk by and spend your time there,” Applegate said.“ If it wasn’t for this community I wouldn’t have a storefront to help bring a fresh view to people’s lives.”

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