Half-finished buildings sit with gaping holes, windows without glass, parking lots without cars. Classy signs announce the now-derailed development: Colorado Crossing, on the weeded byway leading to its skeletal remains off Voyager and Interquest parkways.
A nearly completed multiplex movie theater, flanked by a half-done office building and a parking garage, all sit vacant and unused, casualties of an economic downturn unparalleled since the Great Depression.
The fate of the once-promising Colorado Crossing — an ambitious project that would have created a mixed-use entertainment, office and housing development — remains in question, tangled up in lawsuits and bankruptcy filings.
Colorado Crossing was the vision of developer Jannie Richardson and her company, SRKO Family Partnerships. The project ran into cost overruns and lack of financing, and Richardson declared both personal and business bankruptcy in 2010.
But at least one business owner stiffed by nonpayment hopes the case will be resolved in 90 days.
Richardson declined to comment for this article.
Once dubbed “Colorado Springs’ second downtown,” Colorado Crossing was to include office, entertainment and retail space, multi-family housing and hotels — an entertainment mecca for families in northern Colorado Springs.
“We’re in the process of developing a reorganization plan to get it out of bankruptcy.”
– Jim Johnson, GE Johnson Construction Co.
At the time, Richardson was in a race to get started, trying to beat competitors building a similar — but much less ambitious — project in a close-by development on Interquest Parkway. Today, the Interquest Marketplace includes a Regal Cinema, a bowling alley, two restaurants and a Kum & Go.
Meanwhile, Richardson’s development languishes, buildings open to the elements and unprotected from vandals.
Of the 153-acre development, only 17.5 acres had been developed before SRKO encountered financial troubles in 2008, just as the bottom fell out of the banking and housing industries. Too much debt led to the bankruptcy filing. Denver trustee C. Randel Lewis was named to care for many of the assets.
Assessor records show Richardson still owns parcels totaling a little more than 18 acres at Colorado Crossing. Assessor records also show Lewis as the trustee of 126.5 acres adjacent to the Richardson property at Colorado Crossing.
Some properties that had been owned by SRKO and Richardson were sold at auction in June; several properties remain in their name, according to public records.
Properties that were auctioned included 75 acres of development land in Douglas County, off Interstate 25 and south of Yucca Hills; rental units in Manitou Springs; office buildings in Arizona and on North Academy Boulevard in Colorado Springs; condominiums in Denver, California and Florida, and single-family homes in Texas and Colorado Springs. Seven cottages at 15-27 Old Crystal Park Road sold for $225,777 to a Castle Rock firm.
According to the El Paso County assessor, several properties sold June 6. Many of the properties sold to Newgrounds LLC, which has as its registered agent Jeffrey R. Stinson, and the address is listed as 295 Via Linda Vista, Richardson’s home. Those properties include 109 N. Wahsatch Ave. and 410 E. Kiowa St., which sold collectively for $175,000. The 3423 W. Pikes Peak Ave. parcel sold for $25,000 in July, according to assessor records. Its owner’s address is also listed at 295 Via Linda Vista.
Other properties on North Academy remain in the hands of Jannie Richardson LLC, with one office building, at 5540 N. Academy Blvd., still listed under the direction of the court-appointed trustee.
On July 18, the bankruptcy court, under Judge Sidney Brooks, allowed SRKO Family Limited Partnership to sell the two pieces of Douglas County development property.
The judge determined the sale of one parcel to be encumbered by a lien by Concrete Management for $1.14 million and the sale of the other parcel to be encumbered by that lien as well as one for $1.5 million to the benefit of N.A. Rieger.
Ho Investments LLC, a company whose principal address is 295 Via Linda Vista, also owns multiple properties in El Paso County, assessor records show. Colorado Secretary of State records list Jeffrey and Jessica Stinson as persons of record for Ho Investments LLC.
In Colorado Springs, local businesses are still waiting to be paid millions they are owed for the early stages of the development.
“We’re in the process of developing a reorganization plan to get it out of bankruptcy,” said Jim Johnson, president and CEO of GE Johnson Construction Company. He said he hopes it will be completed within 90 days.
In 2010, Johnson and other lien-holders were planning to file a competing bankruptcy organization plan. However, the group was advised to not file it because of uncertainty regarding Richardson’s personal bankruptcy, Johnson said this week.
Richardson and SRKO owe the construction company between $2.1 million and $2.2 million, he said. In total, Richardson and SRKO owe between $18 million and $20 million to contractors and others involved in the development.
A March judgment by District Judge Gregory Werner ordered SRKO and Richardson to pay more than $17 million and closed the case, “pending the conclusion of SRKO’s bankruptcy action,” the judge said in his ruling.
“We never received payment,” Johnson said. “I think there’s going to be a plan over time to pay the contractors. It beats where we’re at today. Most of us want some certainty.
“We can plan around getting 75 cents on the dollar or 35 cents on the dollar. We just need something to plan around.”
“It’s up in the air,” said Jim Sorensen, chairman of Stresscon, a pre-cast concrete firm in Denver and Colorado Springs. Stresscon is owed $2.1 million plus interest for concrete work done on the parking garage, Sorensen said.
More than 60 other businesses and individuals are listed as lien-holders.