By Beth Dodd
A family entertainment center, the much-anticipated Woodland Aquatic Center, and residential lofts are all on the drawing board for possible construction in Woodland Station in 2015. While none of these projects have been finalized yet, Woodland Park’s Downtown Development Authority is negotiating with developers on all of these concepts.
Now that the funding of the Woodland Aquatic Center has been approved by local voters, a final decision will soon be made on its location. A spot in Woodland Station is desired by many, but the final word will come from the city council. An announcement of their decision is expected in December.
If the city gives a thumbs-up for building the pool in Woodland Station, the next step would be negotiating the price of the land so the city can buy it from the DDA. The DDA has a million dollar loan from the city, which is supposed to be repaid with money from the sales of land in Woodland Station. If the city places the pool in Woodland Station, they will recover part of what the DDA owes them.
A 21,700 square foot family entertainment center is proposed for Woodland Station on a spot just south of Woodland Hardware. It is being developed by Carol and Bob Korzekwa and would be built by Joe Butler of Hammer Construction, who also worked on the Dinosaur Resource Center.
The proposed entertainment center would have an entrance and patio on the southwest corner and windows facing Pikes Peak. Inside, the lobby would lead to fun for young and old alike with laser tag, an arcade, a twelve lane bowling alley, two party rooms, and a sports bar.
Preliminary cost estimates, a feasibility study, and the design concept for the family entertainment center are already completed. The final details of funding, including a tax increment financing agreement (TIF) with the DDA, are being worked out now. It is hoped that the project will break ground in early 2015 and be open by the holidays next year.
A proposal to build three story lofts within the Woodland Station area is more controversial. Although upstairs residential units above retail spaces are part of the vision for Woodland Station, the developers, Kip Unruh and Steve Randolph, have asked for a change of plans. They claim that the market in Woodland Park is not favorable for additional commercial space at this time. They would like to build residential units on the first floor that could be converted to retail or office use later if desired. The developers hope to start construction on a 3,456 square foot building in the spring of 2015.
If the DDA agrees to this concept, it would require another code amendment to the overlay district for Woodland Station. Changes to the code were already made to accommodate Woodland Hardware. If the DDA agrees to allow residential units on the ground floor, it could result in the loss of potential business tax revenue for the city. A DDA sub-committee is going to discuss the possibilities and will make recommendations to the full DDA board in December.