When Kum & Go abandoned plans last week to build on the Goodwill parcel in Old Colorado City, it turned planning for the property into a redevelopment race.
At least one developer plans to make an offer on the property next week, a second anonymous developer is piecing together a proposal and Goodwill now says its top priority is to sell the parcels, which total about 79,300 square feet, as soon as possible.
Developer Joe Rexroad says his company, Rexroad APG, has big plans. After final analysis of the property this week, he’s nearly ready to make an offer.
“We’ve walked the property, and we’ve made some rough assumptions, but we think it’s ideal for mixed-use development,” Rexroad said.
His preliminary plans call for a restaurant with a rooftop patio at the site of the existing one-story Goodwill building at the southwest corner of 23rd Street and Colorado Avenue.
Rexroad’s drawings also show a building that would stretch from the middle of the block west to 24th Street, replacing the existing West Side Cleaners and Laundry as well as Pikes Peak National Bank’s drive-through lanes and banking kiosk.
We’d rather not enter into another lengthy public process. We’ve been trying to move for two years and what we need to do is sell the property.”
– Bradd Hafer, Goodwill
The new building could be designed to include first-floor retail and restaurant space along with second-floor lofts.
Plans also show an open-air courtyard between the buildings, and one of the buildings has “OCC Public Market” written across the top.
Lots of interest
“There are all kinds of organizations that have approached us with an interest to move into the buildings,” Rexroad said, adding that those groups have included six restaurants, a brewery and public market proponents.
“It’s too early to say what could be there,” he said, “But as time goes by and things start to jell, we’ll be able to get a better picture, maybe in a few weeks.”
Robin Roberts, Pikes Peak National Bank president, said another group is working on a redevelopment plan, but she declined to identify the plan or the group.
Any redevelopment plan is likely to be a hot one, because Colorado Avenue has the Westside’s busiest retail corridor including Old Colorado City, a historic shopping and dining district that once was the territorial capital of Colorado.
The redevelopment also could be viewed as a first step of the “Westside Gateway” project, which seeks to link Old Colorado City and Manitou Springs to the west by redeveloping what’s known as “No Man’s Land,” a blighted, multi-jurisdictional area sandwiched between the two. Colorado Springs and El Paso County approved an intergovernmental agreement earlier this year to begin planning for the area’s improvement, and Rexroad has been a part of those discussions, which continued this week.
Several Westside stakeholder groups, including retailers, community groups and homeowners, have also begun work on a regional tourism plan that will market Old Colorado City and Manitou offerings in one package.
The residential groups proved to be a development-shaping force when they played a role in dismantling the proposal from Kum & Go, which cited negative community feedback as a main reason for retreating.
“I call that victory first phase of two of the operations,” said Welling Clark, president of the Organization of Westside Neighbors. “What we need to do now is harness the voices of the neighborhood to draw support for something that will really enhance the area. We’ve really got a golden opportunity here.”
Clark said he hopes to see a multi-use development that will engage the surrounding community, similar to Ivywild School, the former District 11 elementary redeveloped into a microbrewery, restaurant and bakery.
“We’ve heard a potential tenant could be Front Range Barbecue, and that a microbrewery from Divide or somewhere has shown some interest,” Clark said. “We’d like to help Goodwill find the right developer.”
However, the “right” developer might be the one who steps to the table first with a suitable offer, because Goodwill is ready to go.
“We’re looking at all prospects right now, but timeliness is a major factor for us,” said Discover Goodwill spokesman Bradd Hafer.
Goodwill has been trying to sell its buildings on West Colorado Avenue for two years in order to move to 2855 S. Academy Blvd., and it needs to liquidate its holdings before it can do that.
Hafer said a preferred offer would include intent to repurpose some existing infrastructure in order to avoid any delays a development review process might cause.
Rexroad’s proposal does just that, though nothing is certain at this point.
“We’d rather not enter into another lengthy public process,” Hafer said. “We’ve been trying to move for two years and what we need to do is sell the property.”