Ivywild project closer to final approval

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The Ivywild revitalization project will receive final approval at Tuesday’s formal Colorado Springs City Council meeting.

The project, which involves buying and renovating the Ivywild Elementary School, will be developed using tax increment financing from both property taxes and sales taxes.

State law allows TIF to be used to finance projects in “blighted” areas.

Mike Bristol, owner of Bristol Brewing Co.; Joseph Coleman, owner of Blue Star Restaurant and James Fennell, owner of Fennell Group, are the masterminds behind the plans to revitalize the Ivywild school.

Bristol will move his brewing operation a few blocks southeast to the former school at 1604 S. Cascade. Coleman will open a bakery there and Fennell will move his office as well.

The city council approval caps more than a year of planning, negotiating and dealing with a myriad of city regulations and deals with the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority.

Once council votes on the plan tomorrow, the project will move forward quickly, said Bob Cope, an economic development official for the city. The sale of the school can take place in about 30 days, he said. The group has already hired Chuck Murphy of Murphy Constructors to handle the renovations.

Redeveloping the school is just the first phase of the project – and the most expensive. Once the school project is paid for, in 16 years, the rest of the sales and property tax financing will be used to redevelop the rest of the 5.3 acres included in the Ivywild project.