The History of Kappa Tower

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    In 1978, Denver Alumni Chapter Polemarch Chris Veasey hosted a meeting to discuss the viability of building a fraternity house. Brothers attending the meeting were past Grand Polemarch Dr. Elbert E. Allen, Bertram Bruton, Earl Steward, Roy Gentry, Attorney Tyrone Holt, Felix Cook and Alonza H. Love. The topic of the meeting was to discuss the potential sale of land owned by the American Woodmen located on the comer of 22nd and Downing Street in Denver, Colorado.



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    During the course of the meeting, the discussion turned from building a fraternity house to building a facility that would be multi-purpose. The facility would house the Denver Alumni Chapter and serve the community by providing low-income housing to senior citizens. The dialogue of the meeting turned to strategy and identification of the roles that key people would play if the chapter were to acquire the necessary funding to make the low-income housing facility a reality. The committee decided that three key personnel would be needed to lay the groundwork for a new facility. Dr. Elbert E. Allen was the Supreme Commander of the American Woodmen organization, which owned the site that the housing committee would seek to purchase. Gerald H. Bradshaw, realtor and appraiser, was thoroughly knowledgeable on the Section 202 HUD regulations by which the committee would seek funding to complete the project. Bertram Bruton, Bruton & Associates Architects, would handle the design and development of the facility. The meeting concluded with the housing committee approving the motion to acquire the land at 2100 Downing Street.



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    In 1980, Denver Alumni Chapter members began looking at building a facility that could provide housing for senior citizens. The facility was to have space for a kitchen, a meeting room for the chapter, as well as storage for the fraternity records and supplies. The first hurdle was acquisition of the land at 2100 Downing Street. The facility would sit on six lots that were made available for sale by Brother E.E. Allen, who was still Supreme Commander of the American Woodmen, at less than the appraised value. Bertram Bruton took an option on the land. The land was purchased and the housing committee realized that there was still much to do. The help of Brothers Leonard Chadwick and William H. Coker, II was enlisted. Chadwick and Coker II had held management positions with the Denver Housing Authority and were knowledgeable in managing a low-income housing facility. Brother Tyrone Holt, an attorney, would handle all legal matters while Roy Gentry and his accounting firm had the experience and personnel to take care of the accounting needs. Bradshaw, with his extensive knowledge of federal state, and local housing regulations, consulted with attorney Holt to devise the structure by which the chapter could acquire the financial resources to bring the project to reality. The Denver Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity would sponsor the facility; Kappa Housing Inc. would own the facility and Kappa Management Inc. would manage the facility. On May 14, 1981 the nine members of the housing committee filed Articles of Incorporation with the Secretary of the State of Colorado as a not for profit organization called Kappa Housing Incorporated or KHI.



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    The officers of the newly incorporated KHI were Leonard G. Chadwick - Chairman, Columbus Veasey Jr. - Vice Chairman, Earl Steward -Secretary, and Roy W. Gentry - Treasurer. Members of KHI included William H. Coker II, Alonzo H. Love, James G. Mann, E. E. Allen, and Halcolm Holliman. A year later in 1982, Carl F. Dixon, Alfred C. Smith and Harold Jacobs incorporated Kappa Management. The framework was now complete and KHI would now pursue securing the loan to begin construction.

    The next hurdle taken on by Chairman Chadwick, Realtor Bradshaw and Architect Bruton was to apply for the HUD 202 Construction loan to build a six-story, 45-unit, one bedroom apartment facility for low-income senior citizens. The HUD loan was to pay for 100% of the construction costs of the project. The first application was unsuccessful, as was the second. In December of 1983, on the a third attempt the HUD loan was approved. Bids were sent out to several construction companies. The lowest bid came from the Pinkard Construction Company. The housing committee approved the bid and Pinkard was given the O.K. to start construction. Members of housing committee went to HUD to obtain a portion of the loan to begin construction but were dealt a cruel blow. They would need to come up with $25,000 for seed money before they could acquire the first installment of the HUD loan. Polemarch Arthur Varnado and the men of the Denver Alumni Chapter rose to the occasion and raised the seed money. It was a great day for Kappa, the Denver Alumni Chapter and Kappa Housing Inc. The groundbreaking ceremony was set for February 25, 1984 at 12: 30 p.m. Invitations were sent to the Governor, the Mayor, the State of Colorado Congressmen, the Regional Director of HUD and the Province Polemarch. The men of the Denver Alumni Chapter and many other notables were invited. On February 25, 1984 construction began on Kappa Tower. During the course of construction, Kappa Housing was called on to raise additional funds totaling $300,000. Leonard Chadwick along with Coker and Bradshaw raised much of the money by securing grants from the Piton Foundation, the Colorado Division of Housing and donations from the members of the Denver Alumni Chapter.



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    In May of 1984 the building began taking shape. Coker was appointed as the temporary manager of Kappa Tower, until a permanent one could be hired. He would visit the site almost every day and admire the sign that read "Occupancy November 1984: Managed by Kappa Management, Inc". By June of 1984, HUD notified Kappa Housing that $3000 was available to purchase furniture. Coker accompanied his wife Winnie to the local furniture stores and began purchasing the furnishings for Kappa Tower. Throughout the construction of the facility, Winnie was taking applications by phone from senior citizens requesting housing in Kappa Tower. At the time when Kappa Housing Inc. received the certificate of occupancy for Kappa Tower, one hundred twenty-five applications had been filed. On November 5, 1984 Kappa Tower had it's first resident and by November 27, 1984 all 45 apartments were rented. The focus of the project now shifted to having the building dedicated.

    Invitations were sent out to the local newspapers, officials and celebrities for the building dedication ceremony to be held on December 15, 1984. At the dedication ceremony a reporter was overheard to say, "I wonder why they built this beautiful building here? Near a bar and supper club, I'd like to see it five years from now". By the fifth anniversary of Kappa Tower the facility was good as new. HUD had given Kappa Tower and Kappa Management a superior rating for outstanding management.



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    The basement of Kappa Tower was not finished in the original construction. During the fifth year of operation, it was discovered that the facility was tax exempt and five years worth of taxes were refunded with interest. These funds along with donations from the members of the Denver Alumni Chapter were used to finish off the basement. A meeting room, several offices and a break room were constructed. A lighted case was installed to display trophies and historical documents. On March 13, 1992 Leonard Chadwick departed to the Chapter Invisible. To commemorate his efforts along with those of William H. Coker II, the Board of Directors of Kappa Housing Inc., voted to name the basement conference room the "Chadwick/Coker Conference Center". On March 22, 1992 Mayor Wellington Webb issued a proclamation naming that day Chadwick/Coker day and dedicated the conference room.



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    Today Kappa Tower is standing tall with its forty-ifve apartments fully occupied. It continues to receive a superior rating from HUD for operation and management. William H. Coker II served as the first manager of Kappa Tower from 1984-1988 followed by Robert P. Rogers, Executive Director of Kappa Management from 1988-1992. E. Dean Brown served as the Executive Director from 1992-2001, and was succeeded by the current Executive Director, James O. Deadwiler, in June of 2001.



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    In addition, Kappa Management is responsible for the management of two other senior citizen apartment complexes in Denver. The complexes are Shorter Arms with forty-one units and Allen Gardens with fifty units. This story is not only about the history of Kappa Tower but the men of the Denver Alumni Chapter who, because of their dedication, determination and willingness to sacrifice, achieved their goal.

    Written by William H. Coker II
    Edited by Charles Thomas, Jr. & K.C. Matthews