Despite the Discovery of More Hurdles, Woodland Station Project Still on Schedule For Closure

Tava House Group Wants to Finalize Deal By Jan. 31

Bob Volpe

The Woodland Park Downtown Development Authority (DDA) heard another update last week  regarding the development of Woodland Station by the Tava House investment group.

A key representative for the Tava House  group, Mark Weaver, spoke once again to the board on the progress of the project. This project is comprised of a  multi-use development, including an events center, restaurant, tap house culinary school, and some housing.

DDA board leaders have expressed much optimism about the latest bid, which has progressed more than previous pursuits at the Woodland Station property.  More importantly, the group has offered a cash deal for 6.3 acres of Woodland Station for the development of the Tava House and other commercial and residential projects.

Weaver said, “We had a meeting with Woodland Park staff. We showed them what we’re proposing for phase one. There was a lot of feedback and action points that came out of that.”

Weaver described the meeting as “very productive.”

Weaver stated that phase one construction would be limited to the upper portion of lot two, which is located near the current parking area in Bergstrom Park.

Regarding the reported benzine plume, located beneath the soil on the property, Weaver said the state wants more data. This has been one environmental question mark that has posed challenges for previous developers at this site.

Weaver estimated the cost now to complete the study would be around $80,000, and stated they are willing to cut a check for that amount. The DDA is entertaining the idea that they may kick in $30,000 for the cost of the study.

Weaver also announced his group wants to close on the sale of the property on or before January 31, 2023. During last week’s DDA  meeting, Weaver, noted,  “The sooner the better.”

More government red tape?

Just as plans were moving along in a hunky-dory sort of way, Rusty Neal, DDA liaison, through a monkey wrench into the gears. Neal stated he discovered a state law that requires an entity such as the DDA “shall not undertake a development plan, unless the government body (city council) by resolution first approves the development.”

As a result, the plan must be submitted to the planning commission. This process will take an additional two meetings before the project can move forward. None of this, though, will hamper the disposition of the sale of the property. It is merely two more hoops the developer needs to be aware of to clear all possible hurdles. The  city only recently became aware of these laws.

Delays are not new for the Woodland Station saga.

The development of this property, which once served as the hub of rodeo action in Woodland Park, has been an ongoing process for the last two decades. A variety of developers have proposed plans for this site. A previous DDA board even mulled the idea of turning the area into a park.

When the DDA was originally formed, this site was considered the probable anchor of commercial growth in downtown Woodland Park. That vision hasn’t quite worked out.

The Tava House project, though, has appeared to gain  more support from the DDA board than previous proposed developments.