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Big Changes Coming to South Nevada

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Big Changes Coming to South Nevada

South of Downtown is the home to several rundown stores and businesses

South of Downtown is the home to several rundown stores and businesses

South of Downtown is the home to several rundown stores and businesses

South of Downtown is the home to several rundown stores and businesses

Isaac Ross, Staff Writer

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South Nevada Restoration Project

Colorado Springs, while beautiful, contains certain pockets which are more grimy and less safe than what we’ve come to expect from the rest of the city. South Nevada is the largest and most centralized of these pockets. The stretch is lined by run-down motels, pawn shops, payday loan agencies, fast food, tire shops and liquor stores. Beyond the retail, the area has a plethora of homeless communities because of the nearby Springs Rescue Mission, and some of the Springs’ seedier residents because of the motels. The poor pedestrian infrastructure and high number of pedestrians trying to travel on it leads to people stepping into the road and jay-walking across the six lanes. South Nevada, for most people, is just a stretch to travel through, with doors locked and windows up, on the way to the Broadmoor area. Clearly, there is a problem.  

Just to the west, a similar problem existed until just a few years ago. South Tejon was similar, lined with the same types of businesses and overrun with the same problems used to be a region just as unpleasant and desolate. Now, the road is quaint and thriving, thanks to the Ivywild School. When it closed in 2009, the historical building looked to be torn down and subject to the fate of the rest of the area, either developed with cookie cutter residential, or subject to the whims of the commercial market, which would have almost certainly sent the neighborhood further into the disparity the businesses occupying South Nevada suffers. Instead, Joe Coleman and Mike Bristol purchased the school and turned it into a cultural center housing Bristol Brewing, a bakery, coffee shop, farmer’s market, and scores of vitalizing cultural events each month which promote the arts and community. The Ivywild restoration was the first of its kind in Colorado Springs, but proved the concept attainable: “McDonald’s Deserts” can be revitalized and turned into bustling and prosperous community centers. Now, it remains to be seen if the same concept can be scaled and turn South Nevada from its current state to an extension of the Springs’ now thriving downtown.

The plan begins with repair of the decrepit infrastructure, which is being fast tracked by the city. The bill, estimated to cost between $25 and $27 million, will be entirely footed by the city, at no cost to the private developers. Most of the first improvements will be new sidewalks, roads and power lines, to pave the way for the new commercial properties.

Initially, the revitalization is planned to start with “The Broadmoor Shoppes on South Nevada” a shopping center on a 3.7 acre site at Navajo and Nevada. Businesses already planned for the shopping center include Natural Grocers, Chick-fil-a, and lesser known Zoes Kitchen and Mad Greens. Zoe’s Kitchen is based out of Dallas serves mediterranean southern fusion, and already has restaurants in Denver and Fort Collins. Mad Greens is more local, based out of Golden; the restaurant offers “healthy, fast, and fresh foods” like greens-heavy salads, sandwiches, and soups. Further north in the area, the group which owns the Ivywild school is developing a parcel with upscale housing, new retail, riverside restaurants and even a new hotel. The Broadmoor Shoppes will be built in place of the former Gray’s Tire and Cheyenne Mountain Motorsports, where the Ivy LLC Project is going to be built in place of the former Taste of Philly restaurant and Cheyenne Motel.

The two new developments are not all that is in store; other developers have been amassing property along the road and starting to demolish the old motels to make way for the same wave of new business and energy of the area, each hoping to build off the other’s success, and work together to completely turn around the area’s vibe. For now, all that remains is to wait for city infrastructure to be built, razing to finish, and to see if the costly plan will work.

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Big Changes Coming to South Nevada