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The Famous steakhouse to expand beyond Colorado Springs; owners also buy iconic Taos hotel

January 2, 2018 Updated: January 3, 2018 at 6:17 am
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Patrons dine at The Famous Steak House on Thursday, April 21, 2016. Photo by Stacie Scott, The Gazette.

Local attorney Perry Sanders Jr. and a partner, who own two prominent downtown Colorado Springs hotels and a popular downtown restaurant, are expanding their portfolio with additions in Castle Rock and New Mexico.

Sanders and Florida attorney John Goede, who've owned the upscale Famous steakhouse on Tejon Street for nearly two years, plan to open a second Famous in Castle Rock in the summer.

The restaurant will occupy 10,000 square feet on three levels in a building northwest of Interstate 25 and Meadows Parkway, on the south edge of the Outlets at Castle Rock. The 8,800-square-feet building, which Sanders purchased several years ago, will be expanded to accommodate a kitchen preparation area, meat aging room, walk-in coolers and other facilities.

Sanders said he and Goede have mulled an expansion of The Famous for some time; the pair bought the restaurant in April 2016 from Tony Leahy and Cindy Gough, whom Sanders credited with establishing The Famous' popularity through their top-notch food.

Over the last few years, some Denver-area customers have suggested that Sanders and Goede bring the brand north.

The Famous Steak House on North Tejon Street Thursday, February 2, 2012.Mark Reis, The Gazette 

"A lot of people from the (Denver) Tech Center come down to Colorado Springs and we've gotten to know a lot of them," Sanders said. "We've had a significant demand from people saying, 'Boy, if you put one of these up in the Castle Rock area, where we have a lot of stuff, but we don't have much high-end stuff ... we'd guarantee you we'd come.'"

In addition to the demand, Sanders said the building's location should be a boost. It's close to thousands of rooftops, a nearby hospital, shopping and other restaurants.

"The traffic count at that exit is huge," he said.

Work on the building's expansion is expected to start this month, and Sanders said he's looking at a June opening.

Last month, Sanders and Goede also purchased the 156-room Sagebrush Inn & Suites in Taos, N.M., where artist Georgia O'Keeffe, President Gerald Ford and actors Gene Hackman, Paul Newman and Robert Redford have been among its many guests. Sanders declined to disclose the purchase price.

 

The hotel, which opened in 1931, is known for its Southwestern flavor, traditional kiva fireplaces, hand-carved furniture, and wood ceilings and wood beams, among other historic touches, according to Sanders and the Sagebrush website.

While attending college and law school at Louisiana State University about 40 years ago, Sanders said he spent several fall, winter and spring breaks in Taos and at the Sagebrush - often playing his guitar at the hotel.

"The Sagebrush was always the most iconic of everything for me in Taos," Sanders said. "I always loved it. It's just got a magical feel."

Sanders described himself and Goede as preservationists; they look for older properties "that need a little love and care and attention to maintain their historical integrity."

The Sagebrush, he said, is in "fabulous condition." Still, the pair plan to add an Olympic-length pool, about 300 beds, tennis and pickleball courts and an improved food and beverage service, among other upgrades. They also plan to buy nearby property for a possible expansion.

"We're going to really try and turn it into a really nice resort," Sanders said. "A ton of people from here go there."

Sanders has been a part of several high-profile deals in Colorado Springs in recent years.

He became familiar with the area when he represented clients in property-damage lawsuits against local employer Schlage Lock several years ago. A celebrity attorney of sorts, his clients have included the family of slain Los Angeles rapper Notorious B.I.G. and Michael Jackson's mother after the singer's death.

Sanders moved to the Springs a little more than a decade ago. One of his first projects was to buy the Mining Exchange office building at Pikes Peak and Nevada avenues and transform it into a 117-room, upscale hotel. The Mining Exchange, A Wyndham Grand Hotel & Spa, as it's now known, opened in 2012, and it's now owned by Sanders and Goede. The hotel includes meeting and event space, a lobby bar, private courtyard and the Springs Orleans Restaurant.

In 2015, a limited-liability company formed by Sanders and Goede bought the five-story building at 31 N. Tejon that houses The Famous. And in October of that year, another limited-liability company formed by the pair paid $23.2 million for the 292-room Antlers hotel, the iconic downtown property at Pikes Peak and Cascade avenues opened in 1883 by Colorado Springs founder Gen. William Jackson Palmer.

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Contact the reporter: 636-0228

Twitter: @richladen

Facebook: Rich Laden

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