Gary Erickson, who owns Northgate Properties, isn’t just moving dirt around southeast of the Northgate Boulevard interchange off Interstate 25, though he has moved 600,000 yards of it.

He’s on the road to developing the last 200 acres he owns in the Northgate area and said he’s surprised with how swiftly plans are coming together now that he’s a secured an anchor for the retail development.

On Monday, Sept. 24, Erickson’s crews began installing the precast concrete walls of what will be a 117,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shop location.

Observers have said Bass Pro will draw shoppers to the area and will attract other businesses to the development.

A spokeswoman from Bass Pro said the company’s stores are the largest tourist draw in some of the states where the company operates. Bass Pro Shops have massive inventories of outdoors supplies and thousands of square feet of elaborate displays.

Bass Pro’s signing on has given new life to the development many in town said was dead.

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Erickson has proposed a 2.4 million square-foot retail center called Copper Ridge on those 200 acres. A lot of that development, including a proposed high-end mall, won’t be able to start until Powers Boulevard connects to the interstate.

But, Erickson said, the Northgate interchange is more than enough to get development started.

“I have eight to nine letters-of-intent for restaurants right now,” he said.

Erickson adds that he’s negotiating with another five or six medium-sized box stores. He says he has hired eight new people in the first half of September to coordinate development operations.

Once the walls go up on Bass Pro and everyone becomes more aware of what’s happening there, Erickson said he expects the letters-of-intent to begin transforming into contracts and construction.

Loaf and Jug has signed on for two gas station/convenience stores in the area, and Erickson sold an extra 15 acres to a hotel developer who already had a chunk of the Copper Ridge property. Erickson, in partnership with the hotel developer he didn’t want to name, plan to build a 400-room hotel and 50,000-square-foot indoor water park across from Bass Pro.

“This will be the first destination hotel for Colorado Springs since The Broadmoor,” Erickson said.

Erickson said they’re currently interviewing national architects with hospitality and water park experience to take the project to fruition. He expects to hire someone within a month and hopes to have plans ready for submittal by December. The project would be built in phases, starting with the water park and about 150 rooms, Erickson said.

He’s intentionally vague on details concerning the hotel developer and interested restaurants and retailers. He won’t say who the restaurants and retailers are until they sign contracts, and he adds that the hotel developer wants to make a big splash after plans are complete.

Erickson is building the Bass Pro Shops building with the plan to retain ownership and lease it to the massive outdoor goods retailer.

He’s also preparing to build an adjacent strip-retail center, which could house some of the restaurants and retailers interested in moving into the development, Erickson said. Those would also be leased spaces.

“This is the last 200 acres I own in Northgate,” he said. “I want to retain ownership of as much of it as I can.”

Erickson says he only has two residential lots remaining in his nearby 270-lot Grayhawk development, and he’s built up a lot of the Northgate area, including a shopping center at the intersection of Northgate and Voyager boulevards.

For now, plans are still forming and the only solid announcement he has is Bass Pro, but he said there is a lot of interest and enthusiasm about the overall project — more than even he anticipated at this stage.


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