Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

DU to sell Phipps estate

DU will sell the historic Phipps mansion.

It was home to a senator, the location of hundreds of weddings, and even hosted world leaders for the Summit of the Eight in 1997. But now the Lawrence C. Phipps Memorial Conference Center, owned by the University of Denver for 46 years, is entering a new chapter in its history.

DU officials announced this week that the University is selling the 6.5-acre estate located in Denver’s Belcaro Park. Proceeds from the sale of the property, which is valued at more than $9 million, will be added to an existing Phipps endowment. DU Chancellor Robert Coombe said that Phipps family members are being consulted on use of the funds for educational purposes.

Coombe noted that the decision to sell the property is consistent with the University’s focus on its core mission: education. Bookings at the Margaret Rogers Phipps House and adjoining Phipps Tennis Pavilion have declined due to increased competition from other Denver-area venues as well as the economy. DU now has ample on-campus meeting space, making an off-campus facility unnecessary.

Margaret Rogers Phipps, the widow of Sen. Lawrence Phipps, donated the pavilion, formerly used as an indoor tennis court, to DU in 1960 and the mansion in 1964.

Built between 1931–33, the 33,123-square-foot Georgian home has 14 rooms on the first floor and seven bedrooms on the second. It was built largely from local materials and contains antiques, paintings, tapestries, sculptures and rare books from around the world.

The tennis pavilion — topped by a 125-foot-high glass ceiling — has a living room, gallery and tennis court and is primarily used for weddings and corporate events.

Coombe says honoring commitments for the 110 events scheduled for 2010 will be a stipulation of the sale if it occurs this year.

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