(COLORADO SPRINGS) – City of Colorado Springs officials are expressing optimism about the future of the city’s downtown area.
“Really our downtown has been experiencing a renaissance over the last few years,” commented Bob Cope, economic development officer for the City of Colorado Springs.
New properties, more investments, and new businesses have started popping up recently.
“We have three cranes, we love to see cranes,” said Sarah Humbargar with the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs.
According to the Downtown Partnership, there was no progress on urban apartments a few years ago, but there are now more than 400 units under construction. That’s not including more projects still being planned and three new hotels in the works.
Of course, the southwest downtown urban renewal project will also shake things up.
“When we look at it in terms of the scope of the development that’s coming in, it’s almost doubling our downtown in terms of real estate,” continued Humbargar.
Officials estimate the project will cost $2 billion over the next 20 years, and will result in the creation of more than 5,200 permanent jobs.
Additionally there’s the Olympic Museum, which has the city excited about the possibility of more development in the surrounding area.
“What [that] will mean is tens of millions of dollars invested in downtown,” continued Cope.
Studies predict the museum would bring an additional 350,000 visitors to town each year after its scheduled completion in 2019.
“A lot of that impact is spread along smaller businesses,” Cope stated.
Speaking of small businesses, more are popping up downtown. The Downtown Partnership reports 21 businesses opened downtown from January 2017 to January 2018, with another 11 projected to open later this year.
01/01/2017 – 01/25/2018:
- Redoux Consignment
- Sportivo Primo at Antlers
- Dickey’s BBQ
- Picadilly Bar at Antlers
- Toni & Guy
- Oskar Blues
- IV By Brother Luck
- Roosters House of Ramen
- The Hive
- Pikes Peak Lemonade
- Cycle Gear
- Coco Crafted
- The Quad Partnership for Innovation
- Pikes Peak Market
- Zero Fox Given
- Martinez Imports
- Colorado Craft – Tejon St Social
- Honey Salon & Spa
- MX Market
Projected for 2018:
- Carter Payne
- KRCC radio relocation
- Mountain Valley Market
- USA Basketball
- Denver Biscuit/ Atomic Cowboy/ Fat Sullys
- The Bench
- Brass Brewing
- Cask & Cork
- Streetcar 520
- Frozen Gold Ice Cream
- Dos Santos
“Small businesses are opening and they seem to be doing very well,” said Doug Price, executive director of the Colorado Springs Conventions and Visitors Bureau.
A few years ago, the Downtown Partnership reports there was almost 50,000 square feet of retail space available.
“Today we have a vacancy rate of below 2 percent, which basically means we don’t have space,” said Humbargar.
But that could also be changing in the near future, as the race is on to provide more retail space.
“What’s great is that a lot of the new projects that are coming online are adding more street level retail and restaurant space so we’ll start to see more businesses coming in,” she continued.
Much of that development is happening in the area dubbed as the “new south end of downtown” near the south end of Tejon Street.
“But it still is downtown, and I think that if we can bring people into different areas, all areas will continue to grow,” Humbargar finished.