Plans for new businesses, expansions, acquisitions and the like are sometimes announced with great fanfare, then never materialize. Some deals come together quickly; others plod along. As we bid farewell to 2012, we takes a look at some stories and projects we reported on in the past year and where they stand today.
Copper Ridge at Northgate
A 117,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shops is under construction and targeted for a mid-August opening, making it the first anchor at the planned 200-acre Copper Ridge at Northgate retail center on Colorado Springs’ far north side, according to project developer Gary Erickson.
Bass’ store, which will be its second in Colorado, will have a gift and nature center, a boat showroom and a 15,000-square-foot, nautical-themed area that combines dining with a 12-lane bowling alley. The store is being built southeast of Interstate 25 and North Gate Boulevard.
In April, Erickson had said that details of a hotel and water park at Copper Ridge would be announced in 30 to 60 days. However, that announcement never came; Erickson now says ground should be broken for the hotel and water park in the spring.
He also said he’s close to announcing two sit-down restaurants for Copper Ridge, has several smaller restaurants signed and continues to talk with midsized retailers about locating at the retail center.
“It’s moving forward aggressively fast,” Erickson said of Copper Ridge. “I’ve never been so busy in my life meeting with people.”
Bal Seal Engineering plant
California-based Bal Seal began construction in June on a 155,000-square-foot plant in the InterQuest business park on the far north side of Colorado Springs to manufacture spring-loaded connectors that carry electric current for pacemakers and other medical devices.
The $45 million plant is 26 percent complete and is scheduled to open in December 2013 to house about 200 employees by the end of 2014. The company has expanded its local workforce to 60 from 45 when the building was started. The new plant could accommodate up to 400 employees within six to 10 years and replaces a manufacturing facility the company now operates in leased space off Garden of the Gods Road.
Bal Seal announced plans for the new plant in December 2011. The scope of the project has grown several times to more than double the initial 60,000-square-foot size since internal discussions began among company officials to handle a doubling in sales during the next five years.
Holiday Inn Express
An 82-room Holiday Inn Express, under construction at the First & Main Town Center retail complex along Powers Boulevard on Colorado Springs’ east side, is scheduled to open by the first week in July, according to developer RHW Management Inc. of Overland Park, Kan. The hotel, which will be the first brand-name lodging property along Powers between Platte Avenue and Woodmen Road, originally was scheduled to open in the spring. The hotel is being built just north of the Cinemark movie theater complex at First & Main, southeast of Powers and North Carefree Circle. Nor’wood Development Group of Colorado Springs is First & Main’s developer.
Carmike Cinemas theater
Georgia-based Carmike closed its 15-screen complex at Chapel Hills Mall on Oct. 26 and demolition of an adjacent former Kmart discount store and the existing theater was completed this month to make way for a 13-screen complex that will open in the fall of 2013.
The new complex will feature the company’s first “BIGD” auditorium in Colorado with 400 seats and equipped with a screen that will be 80 feet wide and 3½ stories tall, 7.1 surround sound and digital projection of two- and three-dimensional movies using equipment that produces higher resolution that high-definition. The new complex will include 2,800 seats and 55,000 square feet of space and will include additional parking adjacent to the theater and entrances that allow visitors to enter the theaters directly or through the mall.
Garrison Investment Group, which bought the mall for $71.5 million last year, made the deal possible by acquiring the former Kmart building in February for $5 million.
Mining Exchange Hotel
The Mining Exchange Hotel opened in May at 8 S. Nevada Ave. downtown under the Wyndam Grand flag after a $30 million renovation that took three years to complete. By May 2013, a spa, theater, television and film editing studio, additional meeting space and a private club are expected to open.
The hotel, owned by Perry Sanders Jr., opened 57 rooms in the former Mining Exchange building in May and 60 in the adjacent Independence and Freeman-Telegraph buildings in July. The hotel and the adjacent Springs Orleans restaurant employ between 120 and 200 depending on seasonal fluctuations. Sanders recently promoted Shelby Pywell-Yarborough to be the hotel’s first permanent general manager; Tyler Sherman and Mark Raydans had both filled the post on an acting basis earlier this year.
Construction is under way on the spa in the basement of the Mining Exchange building and a 330-seat theater, a television and film editing studio, additional meeting space and a private club are expected to open in an adjacent building formerly occupied by Colorado Springs Utilities. The theater, called the Gold Room, will offer live entertainment on a center stage with seating on both the main and mezzanine levels. The Mining Exchange Club, on the building’s second floor, also will feature live events and the third floor will include meeting space that will triple the hotel’s available space to 35,000 square feet, Sanders said. The hotel plans to add 50 people to its staff for the spa, theater, studio, club and additional meeting space, he said.
Building changes for two TV stations
KKTV/Channel 11, which announced plans to move to an 8,000-square-foot building on Colorado Avenue in downtown Colorado Springs from its 30,000-square-foot location on North Nevada Avenue, is on track to complete its move by the middle to end of the second quarter of 2013, said Nick Matesi, the station’s vice president and general manager. KKTV is moving its offices and studio to a building at 520 E. Colorado Ave.
Meanwhile, KXRM/Fox 21 expects to complete an expansion by April or May of a building that houses its offices and studio, northwest of Platte Avenue and Wooten Road on the Springs’ east side, said Steve Dant, president and CEO of KXRM.
The station is constructing a 5,960-square-foot addition onto the 9,000-square-foot building. The extra space will provide KXRM’s news personnel with their own work area and free up space in the station’s studio; the new personnel have operated out of the studio for the past few years.
Agilent Technologies expansion
Test-and-measurement equipment manufacturer Agilent completed construction this month of a 55,000-square-foot expansion of its Garden of the Gods Road campus to house data and technology centers.
The 20,000-square-foot data center and 35,000-square-foot technology center are scheduled to open in the spring, said Agilent spokeswoman Amy Flores. The company pledged to add 131 full-time employees and pay them an average annual salary of $74,000 as part of a 15-year agreement with the city of Colorado Springs in which Agilent will receive sales- and use-tax rebates on building materials and equipment it bought locally to build the centers as well as on personal property taxes paid on machinery and equipment in the building.
Agilent’s $121 million project is expected to generate an overall economic impact over 15 years of $711 million from construction, wages paid to new employees and taxes collected by local governments, according to city estimates.
American Furniture Warehouse
Whether American Furniture Warehouse, the furniture company based in suburban Denver, adds a second Colorado Springs location remains an unknown.
The company paid $8.3 million in May 2011 for about 34 acres southeast of Powers Boulevard and Woodmen Road on the Springs’ northeast side. A month earlier, Jake Jabs, American Furniture Warehouse president and CEO, had said the retail giant would construct a 120,000-square-foot showroom and a 100,000-square-foot warehouse on the site, which would open in early 2012.
American Furniture continues to own the property, but it remained idle throughout the year, and there are no signs of activity heading into 2013. Jabs couldn’t be reached for comment earlier this month.