Multi-Use Project to Feature Restaurant, Event Center and Culinary School
After months and even years of delays, ambitious multi-use development action, capped by an event center and culinary school, may finally hit paydirt at the Woodland Station property, in the heart of downtown Woodland Park.
The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) board voted 6-1 last week to award the TAVA group the right to develop a portion of this property, which once served as the cowboy/rodeo beacon of Woodland Park. For years, it was regarded as the future commercial anchor of Woodland, but that dream has not transpired with nearly 10 proposed ventures that have gone nowhere.
DDA leaders hope that scenario will change under a new proposal.
The latest group, headed by Derek Waggoner of Woodland Park, revived his proposal, originally made three years ago, to build the Tava House restaurant, culinary school and event center on Woodland Station. Waggoner has assembled investors and a development team that includes ECHO Architecture of Colorado Springs and David Weekley Homes for the residential component.
The Waggoner project will include a mix of residential and commercial space on 6.3-acres on Woodland Station. Among the mixed use, Waggoner’s vision of the TAVA house (steakhouse, tap house, culinary school, and event center.) will be the centerpiece of the project. The proposal will also include a bouldering gym, beer garden, coffee shop. Waggoner put his money where his mouth is, and offered the DDA $800,000 cash for the 6.3 acres with a target closing date of Aug. 31.
The other proposal from Mike Williams group (Forgeworks LLC) has been before the board for several months but has not made much progress where the rubber meets the road when it came to actually getting their project moving forward.
Williams and his investors proposal has been floating around in various shapes and configurations for three years. Williams has had several meetings before the board, but little progress has been made.
In November of 2020, Williams was granted a 90-day exclusive right to develop Woodland Station agreement from the board. In that 90-days they still were not able to come up with a plan to go ahead and begin construction.
DDA Board Chairman Tony Perry outlined the procedure to vote on which firm would be approved. Board Member, Al Born made a motion to approve the TAVA group and it was seconded by Matt McCracken. Each member of the board related their yes/no vote and why they voted as they did. With the exception of Board Member Jerry Good, the rest of the board voted to approve TAVA. Good said he voted no because he is concerned the taxpayers may potentially wind up getting stuck with a bill for the infrastructure improvements. He also opined on his belief that the board has not been fully transparent with the whole process regarding the Woodland Station situation. +
Every other board member was in agreement that TAVA is made up of local business people with a proven track record, and that their concept is best suited to the lot and the wishes and interests of the community. In his vote to approve TAVA, Born stated part of his decision was based on the Williams group dragging their feet through the whole process.
In his final thoughts, Perry stated that the $800,000 TAVA will pay for the 6.3-acre site will go a long way towards the DDA paying off the city’s million dollar loan to the DDA.
Perry also made it clear he is personally not in favor of the city/DDA funding any infrastructure costs related to the project as it did with the Woodland Hardware project. He did note that every effort will be made to seek funding through all other means, including grants from outside entities.
Board Members, Arden Weatherford and David Mijares recused themselves from discussion and voting on this issue due to conflicts of interest.