As Discover Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado has expand throughout the region, talk of what might become of its Westside property fell silent.
Now, as the nonprofit has prepared to open three new locations and add 180 jobs, representatives say Discover Goodwill will retain the large processing plant on West Colorado Avenue.
On Tuesday, the nonprofit opened its new Retail Support Center (2855 S. Academy Blvd.), which alone is expected to create 60 jobs.
The 92,000-square-foot facility will “consolidate and enhance Discover Goodwill’s existing retail and donation operations,” and it will include an outlet for bulk sale of clearance items, a fleet transportation hub, donation processing facilities and recycling services.
“The RSC will help Discover Goodwill meet the community’s growing need to put people to work and expand its regional retail and donation operations, along with promoting economic growth and environmental sustainability,” Goodwill stated in a release.
Goodwill Spokesperson Bradd Hafer said that the center also will allow for the creation of two new retail stores in El Paso County, each employing 50 workers.
Discover Goodwill announced in 2011 its plans to relocate its administrative and support services from 2306-2320 W. Colorado Ave. to a new location on Garden of the Gods Road.
Last September, it sold the offices to Junior Achievement of Southern Colorado for $600,000 and started negotiations with groups interested in redeveloping the large processing plant across the street (2307 W. Colorado Ave.).
Gas station/convenience store-giant Kum & Go abandoned plans in September to purchase the property and expand into Old Colorado City. News of the chain’s change of plans — fueled in part by concerned residents — was followed by much hype, as local developers scrambled to take part in plans to redevelop the site. Plans drawn up by developers including Eddie Bishop and Joe Rexroad included a signature gateway, rooftop restaurant, cafe, courtyard, retail shops and multi-family housing.
Welling Clark, president of the Organization of Westside Neighbors, said he hopes something similar to that plan comes to pass.
“I would like to see it redeveloped into an extension of the Old Colorado City area,” he wrote in an email. “Adding more shops, restaurants, and residential units… Doing this would increase the business synergy of the area.”
Before the “Goodwill West Campus” was parceled out for the JA sale, NAI Highland Commercial Group LLC listed the entire 3.26-acre package on its website with an asking price of $2.32 million. Property included 81,176 square feet of special-use space and was described in the listing with “multi-family units, ground-level retail shops & structured parking.”
Clark agrees that this type of development would befit the neighborhood. But the parties failed to strike a deal, and Goodwill decided last fall to take another look.
“We’ve been doing our due diligence,” Hafer said, adding that the company owns the property and has been working with NAI “to see if we could repurpose that location for any other use.”
Since then, Hafer said the 33,000-sqaure-foot stucco building and the large lot on which it sits have been removed from the market completely.
“We are going to retain that property and continue business as usual,” Hafer said.
Most jobs at that location have been transferred to the new retail support center on Academy; only four employees remain on-site to operate the donation center, Hafer said. That site will also be used for occasional fleet maintenance, he said.
Hafer said the organization will revisit the possibility of repurposing the building for other uses in the future.
“Right now we feel like that will fill in the gaps,” he said.
The charity’s new center in Colorado Springs will support the opening of two new retail stores and lead to a 10 percent increase in Goodwill’s employment in El Paso County. The three new facilities will add 180 workers to the 1,079 people Discover Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado employs in El Paso County, according to Hafer.
“That is pretty substantial growth,” he said.
Expected to open in the fall is a 28,500-square-foot store at 4158 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., which will employ 50 workers and create another 10 jobs at the new support center. For that location, Goodwill is leasing an existing structure for which GE Johnson Construction Co. has been contracted to make tenant improvements.
The second site, a retail and community programs center expected to open in December, will be at the Creekside Commercial Center in Monument, near the intersection of Leather Chaps Road and Jackson Creek Parkway.
“After 18 years of serving the community with our Attended Donation Center, we are expanding our presence with a retail and community program center,” Goodwill stated in a recent release. The center will also employ 50 workers and create another 10 jobs at the new support center, Hafer said.
Colorado Structure Inc. is constructing the 23,552-square-foot building on a 3.33-acre tract (donated by Vision Development Inc.) alongside a new Colorado Springs Health Partners medical clinic.