Round House redevelopment nearing completion

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Several restaurants and a bicycle retailer are among local businesses interested in joining Carmichael Training Systems at the Round House.

Several restaurants and a bicycle retailer are among local businesses interested in joining Carmichael Training Systems at the Round House.

When Van Briggle Pottery vacated its former headquarters at Highway 24 and 21st Street last year, the stage was set for Griffis Blessing to redevelop the 3.25-acre site.

With its first occupants scheduled to move in this spring, the $5 million redevelopment includes both the historic 30,000-square foot railway roundhouse and 10,000 square feet of retail on two pads.

“It’s probably the best retail site available today,” said Griffis Blessing President Steve Engel. “The combination of its location and the charm of the stone building are just incredible.”

Engel’s not the only one who likes the redeveloped structure.

So far, listing broker Manny San Fernando of Kratt Commercial Real Estate said, pre-leasing inquiries — especially from restaurants and retailers who might benefit from proximity to 10,000-square-foot tenant Carmichael Training Systems — have surpassed expectations.

“Right now we have a bicycle retailer, a restaurant that may take up to 6,000 square feet with an outside patio and several other businesses looking at it,” he said, adding that Carmichael has decided to build mezzanine-level offices as well.

The roundhouse, originally built during 1887 by the Golden Cycle Co. for the Colorado Terminal Railroad and its successor, the Midland Terminal Railroad, was completely gutted last fall.

New foundation pads were added under support columns, and new wiring and heating and cooling systems were installed, along with all new windows, improving the building’s functionality, San Fernando said.

Service Tek, headed by Marty Galindo of Griffis Blessing, is the project’s general contractor and is handling the tenant finish for CTS.

A new access point off Bott Avenue was added to the existing entry, along with a small pond and expanded landscaping. The improvements also will benefit the adjacent Ghost Town attraction owned by David Harris.

“They’ve been very cooperative through the whole process,” Engel said. “We’ve had numerous conversations — and they could be looking at some new uses for their building as well. The West side has been underserved — and this is a crown jewel. The site hasn’t been available for 50 years. It’s just a great location for retailers and for customers.”

‘Inspired’ marketing

Some of the Pikes Peak region’s land and investment brokers might want to take notes from their commercial real estate colleagues in the Aloha state.

Whalesong Realty broker and founder of Froyam Edel is selling land on the island of Maui, one square foot at a time.

He said he is following a vision in which a mythical female Menehune (pronounced Meh-neh-HOO-neh) advised him to “sell this land in Menehune size pieces. Allow people to become stewards of the land and keep it pristine.”

Prices per square foot range from $9.99 to $36.99.

“In this way, many could both fulfill the dream of owning a piece of the island and have a hand in its conservation,” he said in a story reported by the Long Island Business News, a sister publication of CSBJ.

Edel bought the land expecting to sell the scenic coastal property to individuals or developers — but did not anticipate the real estate market downturn.

“It was divine guidance that led me to purchase the land in the first place,” he said. “It was the magic of the Menehune that showed me the way to sell it.”

Who knows: If it works in Maui, could Flying Horse, Gold Hill Mesa or Banning Lewis Ranch be next?

Hilltop property still on tap

The Pinery at the Hill wedding and event center at 775 W. Bijou St. could open on the hill overlooking downtown during early 2010, pending confirmation of a “critical mass” of investors, according to Pinery Enterprises vice president and managing partner Eric Allen.

Ground breaking on the 14,000-square-foot former Fish Market restaurant is planned for this fall. The site will be used as a restaurant, corporate networking hub and special event/wedding center. Its sister facility located in Black Forest has been in operation for several years and will host between 80 and 100 weddings this year.

Allen said the property’s parent company, a local investment firm, will finance the project with $7 million from private investors.

“We’re in the process of talking to interested parties rather than finance our downtown location through a bank,” Allen said, adding that the same approach was used in opening The Pinery at Black Forest. “Originally we were going to begin construction this spring, but the economy slowed things down. Because it’s downtown, we want it to be a great place for networking. The food and service will also be four and five-star quality.”

The panoramic property was acquired by The Pinery Colorado Springs group during 2008 for $1.75 million.

Becky Hurley covers real estate for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.