NOREEN: Motel awaits the wrecking ball

By: BARRY NOREEN
December 18, 2012
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photo - The Express Inn provided a new home to many of Colorado Springs' homeless residents starting in early 2010. (Gazette file) Photo by
The Express Inn provided a new home to many of Colorado Springs' homeless residents starting in early 2010. (Gazette file) Photo by  

It appears the boarded-up motel at the corner of Eighth Street and Cimarron Street may not remain standing for much longer.

The prominent eyesore motel, known as the Express Inn, has been closed for more than two years and soon will become the property of the Colorado Department of Transportation, said Rob MacDonald, director of the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments.

Reader Brian McCarrie asked, “Is that thing going to be torn down in order to rebuild

design that whole intersection?”

The answer is yes, but we can’t be sure when it will happen. Two big projects, each costing millions, will be built in that area.

First, MacDonald said, the I-25 interchange will be rebuilt. Second — and this is years away — an overpass will be built at the intersection of Eighth Street and Cimarron Street, which has been a traffic headache for a long time.

The hotel property went into foreclosure and CDOT was out-bid at a foreclosure sale, even though it was known the property ultimately would be needed for the overpass job.

“CDOT went into right-of-way negotiations with the owner,” said Les Gruen, who represents the Pikes Peak region on the Colorado Transportation Commission.

Wayne Trujillo of CDOT’s Pueblo office said the agency will own the motel sometime in January.

“I anticipate that once we acquire it we would raze it,” said CDOT’s Doug Lollar, who heads the department’s Colorado Springs office.

If CDOT didn’t tear it down, Lollar said, the motel “would tend to attract kids and whatever other elements.” Left standing, the motel could expose taxpayers to liability, he said.

Lollar said CDOT hasn’t had detailed discussions about timetables, but he expects after the motel is torn down the area would be re-seeded and fenced off until the overpass is built.

Near the end of its useful life in 2010, the motel housed 160 otherwise-homeless people on behalf of Homeward Pikes Peak, said the agency’s director, Bob Holmes.

Holmes said when the motel was shuttered, some researched what it would take to re-open it, but there was a looming cost for asbestos removal.

“After that there was a lot of talk about what to do with it,” Holmes said. “I could never make the arithmetic work.”

After the motel closed some homeless people stayed there occasionally by kicking in doors. Because of concerns about sanitation and safety of the squatters, doors and windows were sealed off with large plywood panels and a metal fence now surrounds the old motel.

Eventually a convenience store nearby also will be removed.

Listen to Barry Noreen on KRDO NewsRadio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM at 6:35 a.m. on Fridays and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Contact him at 719-636-0363 or barry.noreen@gazette.com

 

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