Dillon Town Council to discuss potential relocation of Arapahoe Cafe

The Colorado mountain town with waterfront access to the Dillon Reservoir does not own the Arapahoe Cafe building but plans to talk about its potential location

Robert Tann/Summit Daily News
Arapahoe Cafe & Pub is pictured in Dillon on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. The owners announced the restaurant and bar, a popular hang out space for local residents and longtime visitors, will close in October due to uncertainty surrounding proposed plans to redevelop Dillon's town core.
Robert Tann/Summit Daily News

The Dillon Town Council on Tuesday, Oct. 3, is scheduled to discuss a potential relocation of the existing Arapahoe Cafe & Pub building.

The Arapahoe Cafe, currently located at 626 Lake Dillon Drive, announced last month that it would be closing in October, citing uncertainty around proposed developments on the town’s waterfront.

But, at the Dillon Town Council meeting on Sept. 21, Mayor Carolyn Skowyra noted that she and Town Manager Nathan Johnson met with representatives from Arapahoe Cafe after the property owner declined to renew the business’s lease.

Skowyra hinted that the council in that meeting’s executive session would discuss a potential plan to “save A-cafe,” which she described as a “landmark in town.” Built around 1945 in the old town of Dillon, Arapahoe Cafe was moved up the hill to the site of the new town in 1960 to avoid being flooded with the formation of the Dillon Reservoir, according to the history chronicled on the restaurant’s menu.

Dillon Town Engineer Dan Burroughs wrote in a staff memo, included in the upcoming Oct. 3 council meeting agenda packet, that “there has been some recent interest in physically relocating the Arapahoe Cafe building to another property in the Town of Dillon.”

“The biggest initial obstacle to relocating the Arapahoe Cafe is the simple fact that the Town of Dillon does not own the building,” Burroughs wrote. “The building would have to be purchased from the property owner or given to the Town, two things of which, the Town does not have control over.”

The second complication is that the town would need to acquire a construction easement and agreement of some kind with the current property owner, in order to enter the property and remove the building, Burroughs said.

Moving the building would not necessarily be a quick or easy task, and the memo includes a list of mandatory steps and tasks that would have to be accomplished to successfully relocate the building.

Burroughs noted that the work comes with “a significant price tag” probably in the $2-4 million range.

“It will easily take 12-18 months to accomplish the physical relocation of an existing building,” he wrote.

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