The fate of a promising 16-acre parcel in eastern Colorado Springs is once again up in the air. But this time the developer is flying the plane.
After nine years of litigation, the Space Plaza Group Ltd. recently received approval to develop property on the corner of Peterson Road and Highway 24. The City Council had denied the development after Peterson Air Force Base officials objected to traffic problems the development would cause.
The $15 million masterplan calls for a 100-room hotel with convention facilities, a restaurant, and 70,000 to 80,000 square feet of office space.
When Space Plaza bought the land in 1986 for $1.44 million, it went to the Air Force and asked what kind of development they would like to see. The Air Force was interested in a nice hotel for visiting dignitaries, meeting space, and office space for Department of Defense contractors.
Now, 10 years later, with a zoning change from agriculture to planned business center accomplished years ago, the Air Force would like to see housing for its enlisted personnel on the parcel. The base is short approximately 280 housing units and the market in Colorado Springs is so tight that enlisted personnel are having a hard time find housing they can afford.
The 1996 Defense Authorization Book allows private entities to contract with the government to build housing. The government can supplement the project, guarantee the loans for development, make loans directly, or become a limited partner in the project.
Danny Mientka of The Equity Group, Space Plaza’s managing partner, said the partnership is now studying the feasibility of building housing for the Air Force, a $10 million to $12 million project, and receiving a long-term lease.
At the same time, the Air Force is studying the feasibility of purchasing the land from the partnership. Purchases of more than 100 acres or $1 million have to be in the approved annual budget. Mientka said the property is worth more than $2 million.
The partnership plans to move quickly to develop the land — as off-base housing or a hotel, restaurant, and office space.