Denver's Bizarre Mayoral Home: Its Fate Now in Question

Denver Mayor HomeIn 1986 TV industry leader and the "Father of Cable Television" Bill Daniels built himself a sprawling mansion known to those in the area as Cableland. Daniels later donated it to the city of Denver, Colo. to use as the mayor's residence. The 19,500-square-foot home includes 88 televisions (64 of which are within the home theater -- each tuned to a different cable channel), 5 phone lines, 97 telephones, 14 bathrooms and 4 kitchens -- this clearly is not your average home.

Add to that the very "Miami Vice" like decor (it's mauve), the fireman's pole in the master bedroom and some other odd interior-design choices -- and you start to get an idea why no mayor has lived in the home. Cableland is often rented out for events, and used by charities at no cost to help raise money, but now Denver is looking to sell it.

And much like the home's decor, this sale is the subject of great debate.


Governor Schwarzenegger famously did not take up residence in the governor's mansion in California, saying he preferred to have his family stay put -- of course, his home is arguably nicer, so why would he want to move?

And New York City Mayor Bloomberg only uses Gracie Mansion for official events, preferring to live in his own home. A billionaire is not so easily impressed by a historical landmark when it's less impressive than his own home.

So it's not all that unusual that an official residence stands unoccupied; it's just that usually these types of homes are more "historic relic" and less "Vegas penthouse." So the 12-foot fireman's pole in the master bedroom, the tanning bed, the sunken bar, and pink baby grand piano remain unused. We're hoping the estate's outdoor squirrel condominiums are well cared for, though.

cableland mayor residenceCable pioneer and former Los Angeles Lakers owner Bill Daniels was a renowned bachelor who built this Denver home in 1986. The billionaire, who died in 2000, gave the home to the city in 1998.

The mansion is now used for private and public events, according to Tim David, board president of Cableland Home Foundation. But no one has resided there since the city took ownership. The website claims that non-profits have raised over $18 million dollars at events hosted here. A fitting legacy for Daniels, who often gave back to his community and was known for his humanitarian efforts.

Current Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper recently said in The New York Times that his wife "vowed that she would sooner live in the county jail" after staying a weekend at the Cableland mansion with their young son."

According to the mayor's website, his family lives in northeast Denver - not in the Cabeland residence. (Mrs. Hickenlooper is, no doubt, relieved.)

Hickenlooper decided that selling the home would be better for the city, so in accordance with the Daniels Fund, the money from both the sale of the house and the endowment will be used as a scholarship fund for Denver public school graduates. However, all this will happen only if the Denver City Council decides to do so. Hearings on this issue are expected to happen soon.

And there is a lot of debate around the sale and where it will go, especially considering Hickenlooper is on the board of the private organization he wants the money diverted to -- the Denver Scholarship Foundation.

Tim David disagrees with Hickenlooper's plan on several accounts. "I think selling the home and using the money for a private scholarship, the mayor's, is a huge mistake. The agreement was that if the city didn't want the house, it would go back to the fund. So keep it as Bill intended, but if you don't want it or to keep with the agreement, at least keep the money within the city for programs, especially with all the cuts. After all, Daniels Fund has programs for schools."

An opinion column in the Denver Post echoes this sentiment, "When the city council accepted the gift twelve years ago, it was conditioned on an agreement that the house and the endowment would revert to the Daniels Fund, should policy-makers decide the city no longer wanted the asset." The Post article goes onto explain that Daniels was clear that "if the city didn't want the house, both it and the endowment should revert to the Daniels Fund."

However, according to Daniels Fund spokesman Peter Droege, the fund is "fine with the home being sold and the funds being used for a school program to benefit students in Denver. That is keeping with Daniels' wish it benefits Denver. If low income kids in Denver get an education that's great with us."

Interestingly enough, this isn't the first time Hickenlooper has tried to divert funds from Cableland to fund his personal agenda.

The Denver Post reveals:
At the end of 2008, Hickenlooper decided the Grant-Humphries mansion would be a more appropriate mayoral manse, and he asked the Daniels Fund if they would transfer the endowment to that property. The Fund declined, saying to do so was inconsistent with the original gift. The issue was moot, as the Colorado Historical Society did not see fit to gift the historic mansion to Denver.
First Hickelooper wanted the funds for a mayor's home, now it's for a board on which he serves -- at least this new agenda benefits citizens of Denver.

mayor home cablelandAccording to a press release from the office of Mayor Hickenlooper: After two years of working together, his office and the Daniels Fund are coming to an agreement -- "Cableland could be put to better use in furtherance of Bill Daniels' beneficent purpose."

It is estimated that Cableland could fetch from $4 million to $6 million dollars.

The home is definitely a landmark home in Denver, first for its interesting style and noteworthy owner, now for the debate surrounding it's future. Though its "Dynasty"-like interior could soon be an inhabited residence, by whom and when remains to be seen.

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