A Colorado Springs development company that remodeled downtown's Trolley Building into restaurants and bars on South Tejon Street now plans eateries and luxury condominiums along North Tejon, where units could sell for upward of $1 million.

The project would continue a residential and commercial building boom in the Springs' downtown over the last five years, which has seen local and out-of-town developers invest hundreds of millions of dollars to bring apartments, hotels and entertainment options to the urban core.

Niebur Development of Colorado Springs plans to transform the former YMCA office building at 316 N. Tejon into two restaurants and office space, according to a proposal the company recently submitted to city planners.

A Niebur limited liability company paid nearly $2.2 million in April to purchase the two-story 10,978-square-foot YMCA building and parking lot, which sit on a little less than one-half acre, according to El Paso County land records. The property is immediately north of the El Paso Club and east of First Christian Church.

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The Mediterranean-style building — with a tile roof, arched windows and a gated courtyard — was constructed in 1956, land records show. 

A Colorado Springs development company that remodeled downtown’s Trolley Building into restaurants and bars on South Tejon Street now plans eateries and luxury condominiums along North Tejon, where units could sell for upward of $1 million.

The project would continue a residential and commercial building boom in the Springs’ downtown over the last five years, which has seen local and out-of-town developers invest hundreds of millions of dollars to bring apartments, hotels and entertainment options to the urban core.

Niebur Development of Colorado Springs plans to transform the former YMCA office building at 316 N. Tejon into two restaurants and office space, according to a proposal the company recently submitted to city planners.

A Niebur limited liability company paid nearly $2.2 million in April to purchase the two-story 10,978-square-foot YMCA building and parking lot, which sit on a little less than one-half acre, according to El Paso County land records. The property is immediately north of the El Paso Club and east of First Christian Church.

The Mediterranean-style building — with a tile roof, arched windows and a gated courtyard — was constructed in 1956, land records show. YMCA officials couldn’t be reached for comment about when and why they moved their offices from the building.

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Nieber CEO and founder Joe Niebur said he envisions a pair of high-end restaurants on the building’s first floor; grassy areas that are set back from Tejon would be turned into patios for outdoor dining and gatherings. The upper floor would continue as office space.

Niebur said he’s talked with potential restaurant concepts and office users, but he declined to identify them.

Echo Architecture of Colorado Springs, hired for the project, plans to retain the building’s Mediterranean flavor, Niebur said. Construction crews have started renovation work inside the building, he said.

The restaurants would join several dining, drinking and dessert options in the 300 block of North Tejon, including Poor Richard’s, Four by Brother Luck, Roosters House of Ramen, Louie’s Pizza, Tony’s downtown bar, the Odyssey Gastropub and Josh & John’s Ice Cream.

“A couple of restaurants in there should just add to the feeling there,” Niebur said. “That part of Tejon is neat; I love that part of Tejon.”

The potentially more visible component of Niebur’s project calls for construction of a five-story condo building in the parking lot immediately west of the former YMCA building.

The condo building would have ground-floor parking and four residential levels containing a dozen for-sale units, whose prices could range from $500,000 to $1 million, Niebur said.

In recent years, developers have opened, started building or proposed several downtown apartment projects with hundreds of units. But there have been only a handful of projects with for-sale residential units.

A few years ago, local developer Dan Robertson, who started remodeling downtown buildings with upper-floor lofts two decades ago, completed the nine-unit Bijou Lofts across from Acacia Park. Businessman Rich Guy, meanwhile, is turning the upper floors of the four-story Pueblo Bank & Trust building on Pikes Peak Avenue into condominiums.

“There’s still not very many choices of for-sale condos (in downtown Colorado Springs),” Niebur said. “There’s a ton of them in Denver.”

Whether buyers would pay $500,000 to $1 million is an unknown.

Yet downtown apartment developers and the area’s boosters have pointed to a strong demand by area residents who want a so-called urban lifestyle — the ability to live downtown and walk or bike to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, museums and the like.

And downtown residents have shown they’re willing to pay top dollar. The Mae on Cascade, one of downtown’s newest apartment projects, commands rents that start at $1,300 a month for studios and $3,000 a month for penthouses, its website shows.

“You build it, you never know,” Niebur said. “But we have a big parking lot in the back of that (YMCA) building and I think when you add the residential component to the alleyway there, with the views we’re going to create, the restaurants in front ... I think that feels like something that is a fun place to hang. It’s working well in Denver. I’m just crazy enough to try it.”

In a best-case scenario, Niebur hopes to open the restaurants next summer. He’s targeting construction to begin on the condo building in November or December, with completion in fall 2022.

The restaurants and condos would be Niebur’s latest high-profile downtown project.

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His company redeveloped the Trolley Building in the 500 block of South Tejon, which once housed a trolley car barn. That property now includes the Atomic Cowboy bar, Fat Sully’s Pizza, Denver Biscuit Co., the C.O.A.T.I food hall, Streetcar520 and the Pikes Peak Brewing Co.’s Lager House and Star Bar.

The Trolley Building complex anchors what downtown boosters call the New South End, a thriving multiblock area of restaurants, bars, hotels and other uses southeast of Vermijo and Cascade avenues and a few blocks east of the newly opened Weidner Field, a multipurpose outdoor stadium.

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