Denver-based ViewHouse, the sports bar and restaurant that mixes food and drink with music, games and other activities, is moving ahead with plans for a sprawling, two-story venue on Colorado Springs' north side.

ViewHouse aims to start construction in the fall on a nearly 15,000-square-foot building east of Interstate 25 and Woodmen Road, with an opening targeted for summer 2018, president and founder Francois Safieddine said via email.

It would be ViewHouse's fourth location; its first opened in 2013 near Coors Field in Denver's popular LoDo area, and a second opened the next year in Centennial, near the Denver Tech Center. A Littleton location is scheduled to debut in the spring.

ViewHouse - roughly two to three times larger than many chain restaurants that have around 5,000 square feet - bills itself as a "chef-driven, casual eatery, rooftop, and bar" and "an experience, not just a dining destination."

Besides offering Colorado grass-fed beef, local and organic fare and a large selection of Colorado beers and other drinks, the Springs ViewHouse will have outdoor lawn games, rooftop music and flat-screen TVs for sports viewing.

The Springs location will be similar in size to ViewHouse's Denver-area restaurants, with a 7,770-square-foot first floor, a 4,918-square-foot second level and a 2,075-square-foot terrace, according to plans submitted to the city's Land Use Review Division. It will employ about 150 full and part-time people.

"Our intention is for guests to have different experiences in every room of the venue - between our dining room, tavern, rooftop, courtyard with lawn games and private banquet rooms, guests can feel as they are traveling between multiple venues under one roof," Safieddine said.

Colorado Springs' economy and growing population appealed to ViewHouse, whose locations celebrate "Coloradans' love of sports, the outdoors, and healthy active lifestyles," Safieddine said.

"Colorado Springs is known for their scenic landscape, which makes for stunning rooftop views - another essential part of all of our existing (and, future) restaurants," he said.

In fact, ViewHouse officials spent a year looking for the right Springs location, Safieddine said. Besides what will be scenic views of Pikes Peak and the Front Range, ViewHouse chose its I-25 and Woodmen site because of a combination of accessibility, visibility from the interstate, a central location and large of amount of parking, he said.

ViewHouse paid $1.7 million in July for 3.7 acres previously owned by Ent Federal Credit Union, El Paso County land records show. The purchase included a vacant parcel and a building that houses Ent's service center on the site.

ViewHouse will construct its restaurant and sports bar on the vacant land, directly south of the service center. Ent, meanwhile, is leasing back its former building from ViewHouse and will continue to operate its service center for now. However, changes are likely.

Ent expects to vacate the I-25 and Woodmen service center site within five years, said Ent spokeswoman Victoria Selfridge. The area will be served by a service center that will be built at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, she said.

Ent's drive-through facility at the site also will be reduced in size, Selfridge said. But Ent will add a stand-alone, interactive, drive-through teller machine at the site, which will allow members to conduct business and even talk with an off-site teller via a video screen, she said.

The interactive teller machine is expected to remain on site even after Ent vacates its service center building, Selfridge said.

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Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228

Twitter: @richladen

Facebook: Rich Laden

Business writer, Colorado Springs Gazette

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