The U.S. Olympic Committee and the city are near agreement on a renegotiated deal that would ensure the USOC’s continuing presence in Colorado Springs.
A high-ranking USOC official, who requested anonymity, characterized yesterday’s announcement that LandCo Equity Partners had dropped its lawsuit against USOC as “a positive step for future progress.”
On March 27, LandCo filed suit against the city and the USOC claiming that neither organization had fulfilled its part of a three-way economic development agreement signed March 31, 2008.
“It’s been our hope all along that these projects, including the new headquarters facility and the improvements at the OTC (Olympic Training Center) be completed,” the official said. “We’d like to stay in Colorado Springs.”
Local political and business leaders, who also would not comment on the record, said that the new city/USOC/LandCo agreement will be simpler, less ambitious and less complex than the original agreement, which the USOC withdrew from May 8 and the city withdrew from May 21.
Sources say that under the new deal:
The funding and construction of improvements to the OTC campus, including new athlete housing, will be deferred indefinitely, with all parties pledging to make their best efforts to move the project forward. Once funding sources have been identified, the USOC will execute a long-term lease of the headquarters building with the PFA.
Jim Johnson, president of G.E. Johnson Construction, which is the general contractor on the headquarters building, said he is optimistic.
“Now that the threat of lawsuit hanging over the USOC is getting worked out, it clears the way to work on a real solution,” he said, adding that work on the headquarters building is about 85 percent completed. “We’re in regular contact with LandCo, but haven’t been involved in any of the most recent City Council meetings.”
While Johnson acknowledged that his company is owed nearly $4 million for work it has done on the project, he said that he’s confident he’ll be paid. If necessary, Johnson said, his company could protect itself by filing a mechanic’s lien, but Johnson said he doubts that such a step would be necessary.
“The bank (United Western Bank) is working on a path to pay us, and we continue to work,” he said. “My rights are mechanic’s liens, and we’re so darn close. We hate to expose the building to the elements, so we feel that we have to go ahead and finish.”