Husband-and-wife Bobby and Brooke Mikulas and colleagues Nate Grimm and Jason Phillips aren’t planning the typical hotel.
On Wednesday, before a crowd of dozens of city leaders, business people and supporters, the four Colorado millennials broke ground on Kinship Landing, an ambitious boutique hotel they say will provide a place to allow area residents and out-of-town travelers to come together and to pursue “outdoor adventure and city exploration,” Bobby Mikulas said.
Their four-story hotel will offer 80 beds in a mix of 27 private rooms, seven suites and six shared dorms when it opens in 2020 at 421 S. Nevada Ave. The building’s first floor will have meeting space, food and beverage options, a bar and a concierge.
Along with providing a new place for visitors, the hotel will add to the surge of commercial development underway in downtown Colorado Springs’ south end, which includes apartment buildings, traditional hotels, new bars and restaurants and a planned outdoor soccer stadium, area supporters say.
Kinship Landing won’t be a hostel, a type of accommodation typically found in Europe and Asia and that caters to travelers with shared spaces, Mikulas said.
Still, he and his wife were inspired after they visited 17 countries in 2016 and 2017. When they returned, Mikulas said, they were filled with “energy and passion” after encountering “hospitality, generosity and goodness” in the places they stayed and the communities they visited.
“We saw the effects that a welcoming arm can have on someone coming to a strange place, not just for the traveler, but for the community,” he said. “It was a really good thing to welcome visitors with open arms.”
When they returned from their trip, Mikulas, 30, said he and Brooke, 29, launched the idea of starting their own venue in downtown Colorado Springs.
The timing is right when it comes to capturing an audience of young people and out-of-towners, Brooke Mikulas said.
Waves of young people are descending on Colorado Springs; a year ago, a Brookings Institution study showed millennials are moving to town at a higher rate than anywhere else in the country. Meanwhile, 23 million tourists visited the Pikes Peak region two years ago and pumped $2.3 billion into the local economy, according to Visit Colorado Springs, the area’s convention and visitors bureau.
Mayor John Suthers, who attended Wednesday’s groundbreaking, said he could see himself staying in Kinship Landing; the mix of spaces planned is becoming a popular concept worldwide among all age groups, he said.
“I don’t think it’s going to be exclusively young people, and I certainly don’t qualify as a young person,” said the 67-year-old Suthers.
The Mikulases recruited friends Grimm, who has a hospitality background, and Phillips, an I.T. professional, to come on board; the four now are partners in Kinship Landing Ltd. Even though they don’t have experience operating hotels, the four have consulted with hospitality managers and trained under them and will tackle the job of running Kinship Landing themselves, Bobby Mikulas said. The hotel also will employ 8 to 15 people.
“We will be leaning on some resources of people to help us find our way the first couple of years, especially, but largely you’re looking at the operators when you look at the four of us,” Mikulas said.
Kinship Landing room rates will depend on seasonality and market conditions when the hotel opens in 16 to 18 months, but they will be affordable and competitive, Mikulas said.
As part of their financing, Kinship Landing’s partners secured a $4.6 million FirstBank loan in December, according to El Paso County land records. The group also received financial help from the Downtown Development Authority, the quasi-governmental entity that provides funding for downtown projects.
Kinship Landing also received a $1 million loan in October 2017 from John Weiss, publisher of the Colorado Springs Independent weekly newspaper, land records show. That money was used to help buy the South Nevada site that same month and has since been repaid, Mikulas said. The property’s price tag was $1.25 million, records show.
Kinship Landing will be built across the street from Blue Dot Place, the 33-unit apartment project constructed in recent years and one of several developments completed or planned in downtown’s south end.
Blue Dot’s co-developer also has launched construction of a 27-unit apartment building in the 400 block of South Tejon, where a 252-room, Marriott-branded hotel also is planned. A portion of the 500 block of South Tejon has been redeveloped with the Atomic Cowboy bar and restaurants Denver Biscuit Co. and Fat Sully’s Pizza.
A 184-unit apartment building is under construction at Cascade Avenue and Rio Grande Street. And, a 10,000-seat outdoor soccer stadium for the Colorado Springs Switchbacks minor league soccer team is envisioned southwest of Cimarron and Sahwatch streets.
Kinship Landing is helping to create a bustling neighborhood in downtown’s south end, said Susan Edmondson, president and CEO of the Downtown Partnership advocacy group.
“We can have a really thriving, active, vibrant urban environment that is seamlessly connected to our great outdoors,” she said.”And you can’t do that even in other cities in Colorado.”