Press Release

How Brighton's Buddhist Temple Became the Big Choice Brewing Through Historic Preservation Efforts

History Colorado helps one community create a connection to our past with an eye towards economic development

DENVER – (Dec. 14, 2018) – History Colorado, the leading statewide cultural organization that helps Coloradans explore the complex and often untold histories of our communities, is showcasing the benefits of historic preservation and highlighting its tax credit program as a financing tool that helps turn ideas into reality. At an event at Big Choice Brewing in Brighton, Colo., History Colorado facilitated a robust discussion about the collaboration among business and property owners, municipalities, architects, developers and elected officials that is bringing new life to Main Streets across the state.

Originally built in 1940 by Japanese Americans as a Buddhist Temple, the historic wooden structure in downtown Brighton was preserved, rehabbed and opened as the new home of Big Choice Brewery in late 2017, thanks to the collaborative efforts and input of community members, and History Colorado’s historic preservation tax credit program.

“When I purchased the Buddhist Temple my priorities were historic preservation and community engagement,” said Carolyn Corogin, developer and architect at C2 Studio US. “I’m proud to see this vision realized today, recognizing our work with the City of Brighton, the Brighton Japanese American Association, Big Choice Brewing, Brighton Economic Development and History Colorado to gather input, create our plans and access the tax credit program, a critical financing tool that can be the difference between historic preservation ideas and reality.”

The Historic preservation tax credit program has been available since 1990 and was bolstered by a 2014 Colorado state law that established a $10 million annual fund for commercial preservation projects, and additional dollars for residential projects. The tax credit program was renewed during the 2018 legislative session. Since the 2014 law took effect, more than $20 million has been awarded in commercial tax credits, generating over $180 million in construction and over $14 million in sales tax.

History Colorado is particularly interested in hearing from rural business and property owners with economic development and revitalization ideas, a vision for historic preservation, and an interest in accessing tax credits to help defray eligible rehabilitation costs. Applications for the annual tax credit program are accepted on a rolling basis, and a new round of $10 million in commercial tax credits will be available beginning on Jan. 1, 2019.

History Colorado provides technical assistance to help navigate the historic preservation tax credit program and is especially interested in supporting projects that will create vibrant rural communities across the state. 

“We’ve seen a lot of interest in the tax credit program along the front range since 2015, and now we are making a concerted effort to tap into rural communities across the state,” said Mark A. Rodman, chief preservation programs officer and deputy state historic preservation officer for History Colorado. “The economics of maintaining vibrant and thriving small towns can be challenging, and the historic preservation tax credit program is designed to ease that burden.”

Two other recent examples of projects that have benefited from the tax credit program are the rehabilitation of the historic Fruitdale School in Wheat Ridge, into a 16-unit residential building, and the transformation of the Odd Fellows Building, built in 1890, into New Castle Dental on Main Street in New Castle, a small mountain town near Glenwood Springs on the Western Slope.

History Colorado is interested in hearing from business owners, farmers and ranchers, counties and municipalities, and other interested parties across Colorado with ideas about pairing economic development and revitalization with historic preservation. Contact a Preservation Program Associate today to start the process at or 303-866-3392.