Colorado Springs developer Gary Erickson and city government economic development officials today will ask the City Council to transform a 200-acre “greenfield” parcel of land on the city’s far north side into an urban renewal site.
Passage was recommended by the City Planning Commission on April 15.
City support for an urban renewal designation would help the developer move ahead on plans for the 2.4-million-square-foot Copper Ridge at Northgate retail center. It also would help generate an additional revenue source to fund the 4.5-mile Powers Boulevard extension to Interstate 25.
The Colorado Department of Transportation estimates the cost to complete the roadway at about $60 million.
Proponents say completing the roadway would enhance the property’s value and marketability to national retailers – attracting names such as Nordstrom or Cabela’s, according to Erickson’s marketing materials and some industry experts.
Nordstrom officials told the Business Journal they have no plans to expand in Colorado, given soft consumer spending. And if new stores were to be planned, they will most likely be built in metropolitan areas with a population of 1 million or more.
John Castillo, who handles new business development for Cabela’s, said he’s surprised to hear his company’s name was being used to promote the new retail center.
“We’re opening a new, smaller-scale 40,000-square-foot Cabela’s in Grand Junction on May 20,” he said.
“We had a store in the planning stages for Wheatridge, but given the current economy, that’s on hold.”
No further stores are planned for Colorado at this time, he said.
In any case, those opposed to granting Copper Ridge an urban renewal designation have so far been unable to sway city officials.
Last month, the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority, which weighs in on public and private redevelopment projects, voted 6-1 against the designation.
Authority members questioned the project’s viability in the current economy and its effects on other nearby shopping centers. They also took issue with the Leland Consulting Group’s conclusions that the area was blighted and deserving of redevelopment, based on Colorado legal guidelines.
Downtown Partnership Executive Director Ron Butlin said he hoped that the City Council would at least ask CDOT for some concessions if it took the Powers extension off the state’s construction project list.
“We ought to at least ask them to move up another project like the Fillmore Interchange or other improvements,” he said.
Check back at CSBJ.com today for updates.