Item #5 – Executive Session
Commissioner Hente made a motion to move into executive session to discuss purchase and/or acquisition of property. Commissioner Olson seconded the motion.
Prior to moving into executive session Commissioner Hente withdrew his original motion to accept the condition study for Copper Ridge. He clarified that executive session discussion would not be about conditions study and he requested that no decision be made about the condition study and urban renewal plan until further discussion took place at a later date.
Commissioner Harman made a motion to come out of executive session. Commissioner Collins seconded the motion.
Commissioner Hente stated that the City had been in discussions with the developer for Copper Ridge for approximately 2 years. City Staff and some City Council members support this project and feel it a critical development to our community. He further stated that the extension of Powers Boulevard is an essential benefit to the City of Colorado Springs.
Chuck Miller stated that there were two issues to be considered:
1) Should CSURA do the Copper Ridge at Northgate project?
2) What will be CSURA’s role if the decision is made to participate in the project?
Chairperson Benson stated that he felt if City Council asked CSURA to be a part of the project then he would support CSURA’s role, once it is defined. Commissioner Wood-Ellis stated that her support of the project is not solid based on past experience with other urban renewal projects. Commissioner Kin stated that he is troubled by supporting this project as it does not fit the fundamental mission of CSURA.
Nancy Johnson, Assistant City Manager, stated that the critical piece of this project is the connection of Powers to Interstate 25, which is a cost of approximately $100 million. She further stated that Powers is a state highway; however neither the State nor of the City have the financial ability to finance the project now or in the near future
Commissioner Noyes stated she is not comfortable with building a road that supports economic development and not redevelopment. Commissioner Collins stated he wanted to hear directly from City Council, stating their support and reinforcement for the project and CSURA’s role in it.
Commissioner Olson stated that he felt this was a good project and that it will be successful but still feels it is not urban renewal; it is a Greenfield project. Commissioner Wood-Ellis asked if this project was really feasible considering the current recession. She then asked if Colorado Springs could support this type of high-end retail. She requested direction from City Council specifically asking for CSURA’s involvement.
Chairperson Benson commented that he is proud to sit on the CSURA board and realizes that the Authority members are taking this project to heart; making the appropriate decision is not an easy matter.
Mr. Gary Erickson, project developer, showed Authority members examples of grade issues that make for very difficult development in the project area. He then commented that his development was the best use of the property and would benefit the community in a tremendous way. The connection of the Powers roadway with I-25 will make this project area the most developable in the entire El Paso County for his proposed project.
Bob Cope stated that the City has already involved the school district and the county in negotiations and expects to have documents finalized in the near future.
Chairperson Benson suggested a special meeting be set to further discuss the Copper Ridge project. February 4th was picked as a tentative date for the meeting. CSURA staff to finalize details.
Item # 7 Project Updates – Jim Rees
This item was postponed to a later date.
Item #8 CSURA Presentation Update – Chuck Miller
This item was postponed.
Item #9 – Other Matters
Chairman Benson announced that he had been contacted by Mr. John Q. Hammons concerning the level of interest his company has in building a hotel in the Southwest Downtown Urban Renewal Area. Mr. Hammons stated that he is still very interested in the hotel site and will soon be wrapping up financing on another project and then will start working on developing a project for the Southwest URA. He even stated that he would make a trip to Colorado Springs to discuss the project in further detail in the next few weeks.
Item #10 – Adjournment
There being no further business to come before the Commissioners, motion was made by Commissioner Olson, seconded by Commissioner Collins, to adjourn the meeting. Upon unanimous vote, the meeting was declared adjourned at 1:35 p.m.