Sam and Kathy Guadagnoli’s $75 million redevelopment project spanning South Nevada Avenue, Tejon Street and Cascade Avenue has taken off — the Colorado Springs entrepreneurs started demolishing homes in the area in March and continued work this week.
Rundown houses in blighted areas of the Ivywild neighborhood were cleared to make way for the Guadagnolis’ resort-style development. Plans include a four-story hotel, urban shopping center, residential units by Cheyenne Creek and an upscale steakhouse scheduled to open in roughly four months.
“The steakhouse [called Prime 25 and located at 1605 S. Tejon St.] will open first and The Ivywild Winery and Italian restaurant [at 1515 S. Tejon St.] will be second,” Kathy Guadagnoli said. “We have several projects occurring at once and are moving ahead of schedule.”
The couple’s Hilton Home2Suite hotel will feature 136 rooms, five penthouses, a hot tub, fire pits and both indoor and outdoor swimming pools with a swim-up bar. A rooftop grill and bar is also included in the design.
“Residents living in units adjacent to the hotel will be able to use its amenities,” Guadagnoli said.
The plans include cleaning up the area along Cheyenne Creek, and adding a pump-back station to control flooding and stormwater issues.
Sam Guadagnoli bought the 15 acres about 12 years ago; the residential units will be called The Urban Ivy Apartments and Canyon Creek Townhomes.
“We want to keep historic names because it’s all being built in a historical district,” Guadagnoli said.
So far, the couple’s biggest challenge has been getting all the houses demolished, and making sure tasks are done correctly and in a timely manner, she said.
“It’s quite the process, with asbestos testing and getting permits to tear everything down,” she said. “But things are moving fast, and I think the results are going to be amazing. The project keeps getting better and better, and the area is going to look beautiful.”
Since the beginning, Doug Comstock, an architect and president at Comstock+Associates Inc. has been highly involved in the hotel design. He said a challenge has been making sure the plaza is even with Tejon St.
“There are a lot of details in the plan, but I think it’s going to look fantastic and have a major impact on the area,” he said.
And the Guadagnolis are already taking reservations for the future residential units. Developer Ray O’Sullivan and independent Realtor Kay Moon Folan are acting as the Guadagnolis’ representatives.
The Urban Renewal Authority approved the 96-acre urban renewal plan, including the Guadagnolis’ area, last November. The city plans to repair and upgrade roads, bridges and sidewalks along Cheyenne Creek.
The cost estimated to upgrade the city infrastructure is between $25 million to $27 million and will be covered through tax increment financing at no cost to the developers.
Two other developers, Walt Harder and Danny Mientka, are also planning projects to revitalize South Nevada. While Mientka isn’t ready to talk about his project, Harder told the CSBJ earlier this year that he’s planning big things for his portion of the strip.
Harder owns the smallest parcel — 3.6 acres south of Navajo Street and north of Ramona Avenue — but he’s planning new quick-serve restaurants and a Natural Grocers to occupy the retail buildings that his company hopes to build by next January.
“I plan to turn a lot of nothing into something,” he said in February. “This is a beautiful part of town, so why shouldn’t the strip be attractive too?”
When he returned to his hometown of Colorado Springs two years ago from Salida, Harder said he was surprised to see the South Nevada Avenue area still was just as decrepit as he remembers it from the ’70s and ’80s.
“Growing up here, it was always a laughingstock part of town and known for prostitution, drugs and crime,” he said. “Being a gateway to main attractions, it should be cleaner, safer and nicer.”
Harder said he plans to tear down old businesses, including the rundown Cheyenne and Chief motels, to make way for two retail spaces — 15,000 and 9,800 square feet.
“We’d like to talk to a liquor store about relocating in the strip center,” he said.
“We’re looking for some high-sales-type businesses to generate some tax revenue.”
And while the Guadagnolis are planning upscale restaurants and retail, Harder says he’s focusing more on quick-serve restaurants.
“We tried to incorporate local as best as we could because this project is a keeper,” he said. “We’re not just building to flip it; we’re going to own the property and keep it.”
The Guadagnolis’ portion of the project is slated to be completed within the next three years. The couple envisions a 24-hour community offering creekside living, dining and shopping.
“People in the area have thanked Sam for what he is doing,” Kathy Guadagnoli said, “and [they] have said, ‘I’ve been looking at that eyesore for way too long.’”
On the Ivy
164 Canyon Creek Townhomes
6 high-end condos
136 rooms in Hilton Home2Suite hotel
3 pools — indoor, outdoor and infinity
An amphitheater next to Cheyenne Creek
260-space parking garage
Prime 25 Steakhouse
Ivywild Restaurant & Winery
7 retail stores
To inquire about reserving a future residential unit, email firstname.lastname@example.org.