Phil Long Dealerships CEO Jay Cimino is spearheading a $30 million development near downtown Trinidad that will include a classic car museum, brew pub, baseball training center, hotel, movie theater and shopping center that he believes will bring tourists to the area.

A partnership headed by Cimino plans to break ground by June on La Puerta De Colorado, a 60-acre development between the Purgatorie River and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line overlooking Interstate 25 in downtown Trinidad that will take up to four years to complete. Cimino said he and his partners plan to select a developer during the next few weeks to renovate the six buildings on the site, which they acquired from the railroad, and add several new structures that will look as if they were built in the early 1900s.

“I have been working to six or seven years to put this project together. We’ve had to be patient to buy the land from the railroad,” said Cimino, a Trinidad native who now heads one of the state’s largest dealership groups, based in Colorado Springs; Trinidad is about 120 miles south of the Springs. “I’ve always felt any rural downtown should be kept alive, but downtown Trinidad has not been vibrant. If we could buy land downtown and revive the area, it would really help the city. Trinidad is a beautiful, historic city, and we believe it is a town where it is easy for visitors to stop and see something.”

The first part of the project will be a classic car museum with more than 60 vehicles from a collection owned by Lonnie Shelton of Pampas, Texas, who also owns a home in Trinidad, Cimino said. The collection includes a 1948 Lincoln Continental once owned by Babe Ruth that Shelton bought last year. The first phase also includes a gift shop and 50-room hotel, with later phases including a brewery and restaurant named for Hall of Fame pitcher Richard “Goose” Gossage of Colorado Springs, a sporting goods store, fishing clinics and the theatre and training center.

“We estimate that La Puerta will attract 175,000 visitors during the first six months and 225,000 visitors during the first year, based on traffic counts that show 2.5 million people drive through Trinidad annually on Interstate 25. That will provide a $75 million economic benefit for the city,” Cimino said.

La Puerta De Colorado is Cimino’s second major investment in his hometown. He bought the former Mount Carmel Catholic Church in 2007 and helped turn it into the Mountain Carmel Health, Wellness and Community Center for both medical and mental health services that opened in late 2011.

Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234 Twitter @wayneheilman
Facebook Wayne Heilman