The Copper Ridge at Northgate retail development is taking shape and attracting more investors as anchor store Bass Pro Shops finishes up construction, according to developer Gary Erickson.
Bass Pro anticipates the opening of its 117,000-square-foot store on Nov. 14, and Bourbon Brothers Smokehouse and Tavern is in the first phase of construction, Erickson said, adding that five more businesses have purchased property at the 200-acre site and others are showing interest.
“We’ve probably got 10 letters of intent with people we’re working with right now,” Erickson said in reference to prospective tenants. “I don’t have enough time in the day to call everyone back.”
Erickson said that Bass Pro plans to hire around 250 employees. Meanwhile, investor J.W. Roth said that his Smokehouse and Tavern should be completed by Nov. 20. Roth added that he will start construction in the next 90 days on a homemade ice cream and pie shop that should open around March 15.
According to a report by the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority, the five other companies on board for Copper Ridge are Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, Baldwin Liquors, Loaf ‘N Jug, an unnamed restaurant and the Colorado Grand Resort and Hotel.
Erickson said that the restaurant not named in the report is Roth’s third Copper Ridge venture: a high-end seafood and chop house that he had been planning to open 90 days after Bourbon Brothers. But Roth said there is not yet a timeline for the project: “It’s still on the drawing board and we’re still finalizing investors.”
Loaf ‘N Jug has purchased land for two gas station-convenience stores in the area, and Erickson said the company is planning to start construction in September.
“It’s coming along,” said Urban Renewal Authority Chairman David Neville. “There are just some pieces that need to come together.”
One such piece is a redevelopment agreement that Erickson is working on with CSURA to submit to the city for approval. The parties also must coordinate with the city on a method to share sales tax revenue generated by the retail center that must be made available for public improvements, according to the report.
“We should bring that before City Council in October or November,” said Mary Burnett with the CSURA. “It’s all the nuts and bolts of the agreement between the CSURA and the developer.”
Larry Larson, a city planner with the Colorado Springs Department of Planning and Development, said that all the plans that have been submitted to the city have been approved. The most recent of those — approved in June — were plans for two 9,000-square-foot retail strips that Erickson submitted earlier this year.
Larson also said that the land is zoned “mostly commercial with paths for multi-family residential,” because the project is zoned “planning unit development.” He said that this means Erickson could develop a variety of facilities on the site, including apartments and condominiums.
Although he has not officially announced the project, Erickson has said that he is also working on plans for a 400-room hotel and 50,000-square-foot water park for the area near Bass Pro Shops.
“This will be the first destination hotel for Colorado Springs since The Broadmoor,” Erickson told the Business Journal last September.
The development of what was originally almost 300 acres just east of Interstate 25 between Northgate Boulevard and Interquest Parkway began in May 2010, when Colorado Springs City Council approved the Copper Ridge at Northgate Urban Renewal Plan.
The plan’s approval designated the site as an urban renewal area and made tax increment financing made available to Erickson.
During early stages of the development, much focus was on the extension of Powers Boulevard from Colorado 83 to Interstate 25, which would supply the shopping complex with ample access. So far, no bonds have been issued for the Powers extension project and the Colorado Department of Transportation has said that the project will not be a priority until after 2035.
But while the future of Powers Boulevard is in CDOT limbo, Copper Ridge is progressing toward reality.
“Business is really good,” Roth said. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the development and the progress.”