COLORADO SPRINGS — Record demand for housing, businesses continuing to relocate from out of state and huge tourism industry are just a few things local economic leaders say continue to grow the economy of Colorado Springs--and there’s no sign of stopping, even with a pandemic.
A recent all virtual roundtable of local developers, builders, architects, and economic stakeholders dubbed ‘the Changing Colorado Springs Skyline,’ aimed to reassure people.
“Despite the pandemic, there’s been a lot of construction, a lot of new developments that are still in the works in Colorado Springs,” said Tammy Fields with the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC.
Some key sectors keep pushing our city forward.
“The tourism industry is actually the third largest employment center in Colorado Springs,” said Jim DiBlaise, Director of Olive Real Estate Group.
The tourism industry just keeps growing, with additions like the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum, the new Pike’s Peak summit house, the Air Force Academy visitor center, and the new downtown soccer stadium.
“You're talking about 1.2 million additional travelers coming into El Paso County,” DiBlaise said.
Then there’s the giant elephant in the room--Amazon’s new 3.7 million square-foot fulfillment center going up at Peak Innovation Park near the Colorado Springs Airport.
“This is going to give us 2-3 thousand full and part-time jobs,” DiBlaise said.
But the fulfillment center alone is not what keeps him optimistic about the economic benefits from the project.
“That typically is a precursor that they’re about to start bringing prime air service into the marketplace,” DiBlaise said. “There are discussions going on internally about Amazon building a large data center presence to service the military here locally in town.”
Then there’s the actual skyline. Nor’Wood Development Groups’ Southwest Downtown Project aims to expand Colorado Springs’ urban core, creating a new business district in the blocks surrounding America the Beautiful Park.
“A strengthened core is vital to a vibrant community,” said Tim Seibert, Vice President of Nor’Wood Development Group.
Seibert said, get ready, because the group’s plan to transform the face of our city is still very much on track, in spite of the pandemic.
“This is a multiple decades-long project,” he said. “But it represents over a $2 billion investment.
There are some things leaders said the pandemic has affected. For instance, the opening of a new Marriott hotel downtown will be pushed back to 2022, when they hope hotel demand will have rebounded.
But in the bigger picture, they say the way they design things like offices and schools will forever be different, thanks to the fast advances made on the teleworking front.