New USOC deal nearing completion?

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By Becky Hurley and John Hazlehurst

 

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 city will issue certificates of participation through a public facilities authority to provide permanent financing for the USOC headquarters building at 27 S. Tejon St. and to complete the renovation of the city-owned building, adjacent to America the Beautiful Park, which will be used to house several national governing bodies.
  • LandCo will retain an equity position in the portion of the headquarters building that will not be occupied by the USOC.
  • The city will construct and finance a pedestrian bridge from the city parking structure on the corner of Nevada and Colorado avenues to the headquarters building.
  • The USOC will move into 27 S. Tejon, but will not sign a long-term lease for the building.

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.”

3 Responses to New USOC deal nearing completion?

  1. This town has no money for pot holes, parks, cops, firemen, and other community needs, but somehow there’s money to bail out a sorry developer and a project that, apparently, made no sense from the beginning.

    Issue the COPs and pay GEJohnson, the only ‘stand-up’ player in this deal .

    Lets hope the taxpayers (a/k/a voters) remember this fiasco at the next election.

    How does one get appointed to the city’s Ethics Committee? Sounds like working on the mayors election campaign helps……

    John Whitten
    June 11, 2009 at 2:30 pm

  2. That pedestrian crossing is the most butt-ugly thing I have ever seen. It will destroy the most recognized view of Pikes Peak from downtown. I can’t even believe this ridiculous eyesore was still on the table after all the other BS with the USOC was resolved. Who the heck made this a priority and who is running the show at City Hall??

    Moe DeLaun
    June 11, 2009 at 3:43 pm

  3. uh, Sir ……. i believe that the term ‘”butt-ugly” has already been used to describe a certain parking garage a couple blocks south of USOC corner.
    ……and as for why the Ped. Bridge is still on the table, …. hey, if YOU were a Beeg Shot Olympic type, would YOU wanna come down & cross the street like reglar folk to get to your parking space ?
    …… i didn’t think so.

    Like it'll matter .....
    June 11, 2009 at 5:42 pm