Initial plans call for a building of at least 30 stories.
Initial plans call for a building of at least 30 stories.

Perry Sanders doesn’t do things in a small way, and he doesn’t do things halfway.

With his latest project, he’s not only going big on style, he’s aiming high — as in a new high-rise, downtown apartment building.

Tuesday afternoon, in the resplendent lobby of the Mining Exchange hotel, Sanders unveiled plans for an unprecedented downtown skyscraper — as tall as 100 stories — and for renovations to the historic Antlers Hilton, which he is purchasing.

“My partner John Goede [of Florida] and I are considering half-a-dozen downtown sites for the new building,” Sanders said of the high-rise concept. “All the present landowners are aware of our interest and of our plans, and have agreed to hold off until we make our decision.”

As currently conceived, the building will be at least 30 stories, but Sanders and Goede are aiming higher — much, much higher.

“We intend for this to be the highest building west of the Mississippi,” Sanders said. “We’re looking at 100 stories. We’ve gotten extremely positive feedback from lenders and property managers regarding demand for such an ambitious project.”

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Preliminary drawings by Colorado Springs architect Doug Comstock show a slender, graceful spire soaring as much as 1,000 feet above the city.

“We intend for this to be the highest building west of the Mississippi.” – Perry Sanders

“We need rooftops; we need to give incentives to young people for a cool place to live,” Sanders said. “We’re interested in giving people a walking, rather than a commuting, lifestyle. We’re two relatively small guys trying to do something to the core of the city and to show that Colorado Springs can attract young, super-smart people.”

Can this really happen?

“We can’t guarantee that it’ll get done,” said Sanders, “but we’re giving it our best shot.”

Antlers project

Sanders also shared details of his proposed renovation of the Antlers Hilton, which he and Goede contracted to buy several weeks ago.

Unlike the Mining Exchange, which required extensive structural renovation and upgrading to become an upscale boutique hotel, Sanders anticipates that updating the Antlers will be comparatively simple.

“At the Mining Exchange, we had to do a lot of work that didn’t necessarily contribute to the value of the hotel,” he explained. “You have to have water; you have to have electricity; you have to have heat — we had to replace all those systems. The Antlers has had some renovation in the past, so it’s mostly cosmetic. It’ll be pure pleasure to refit it.”

Goede and Sanders plan to replace Judge Baldwin’s Brewpub with a hibachi-style bistro. They also plan a “really grand lobby bar where people can gather and have a great time.”

Noting that no public rooms in the Antlers currently have mountain views, Sanders promises change.

The project’s pièce de résistance, he says, will be the View, an upper-floor space with expansive views of the mountains.

“General Palmer picked this site for his original Antlers because it had the best views in the city,” said Sanders. “We want it to be a space like the Mining Exchange lobby, where you can just relax. John and I think we really have it dialed in.”

The renovated hotel will have an outdoor swimming pool, to be built on the first-floor deck. It will include cabanas and other amenities, “like something you’d expect in Beverly Hills. We spent a lot of time going through the property, trying to figure out ways to maximize the space,” Sanders said.

30 North Tejon

Goede and Sanders also own the building at 30 N. Tejon St. which houses The Famous Steak House.

They’ve leased the currently unoccupied ground-floor space fronting Kiowa Street on the east side of the building to Duca’s Pizza, a small chain that already operates two stores in Colorado Springs. The upper floors will remain offices, with much of the space occupied by Goede’s and Sanders’ separate law firms.

Why such frenzied activity? Why now — and not two years ago?

“Two years ago, I was on the verge of selling the Mining Exchange,” said Sanders. “We had a reputation as a business-unfriendly city. I couldn’t stand to show up at a City Council meeting and see such vile, weird stuff. It seemed to me that under the old City Council they did everything they could to stop progress. They would treat people with complete contempt and disrespect.”

But, he emphasized, Mayor John Suthers (Sanders, who gave Suthers’ campaign $10,000, was the mayor’s largest individual donor) and the current City Council have turned things around.

“There’s a real spirit of cooperation now,” he said. “For that reason, and that reason alone, we’re really going long on the city.”

23 COMMENTS

  1. I was told there is a CS city ordinance which forbids any building being so tall that it blocks resident’s view of the Rocky Mountains. I hope this ordinance exists and this gentleman take his plans for a skyscraper out to the prairie somewhere.

    • My partner and I are only considering locations that already have obstructed views from the east facing west, so we intend to take all precautions to not impact mountain views. Plus we intend to do a very needle like structure that does not impact any wide area of view. We will use a much smaller footprint than many current tall downtown buildings that obstructed views for decades. Finally, it was not mentioned that a main focus of the building will be to have an observation deck that will hopefully become the largest tourist attraction in the city, similar to The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, or some great buildings in Chicago. This one is a long ways from reality, but we have at least begun the process of design, funding, and trying to really put Colorado Springs on the map as a progressive place young talented people want to reside in….not move away from.

      Perry R.Sanders, Jr.

      • While I’ll believe it when I see it regarding 100 stories (which I think would be absolutely amazing!), I don’t think that complaints about the view should be taken too seriously. It’d make more sense for those complaining and suggesting to put a skyscraper in the prairie, to consider moving themselves away from an aggressively growing city. Downtown skylines are a defining characteristic of any large city’s downtown, and most residents view that as a source of pride, not shame.

        Good luck with your plans! I’m really pulling for this to come to fruition!

        • “Downtown skylines are a defining characteristic of any large city’s downtown, and most residents view that as a source of pride, not shame.”

          Not when one building completely destroys the rest of the skyline, they don’t. This must be a joke.

      • I know some people who can help you finance this deal if you actually believe the demand can be built for it.

      • as a fellow downtown property and business owner i share your view and i applaude your investment into downtown

      • Seems like a monument to ego, if you ask me. How about you work (as you did with the Mining Exchange) to compliment the existing community, not dominate it, Perry? This is ridiculous.

      • Ya can’t stop progress. Small towns won’t stay small towns forever as exponential population growth has, and will continue, to prove.

      • Im from colorado springs and have always been facinated with high rises and hope your building gets built mr Sanders and i would like to thank you for all the investements into our city i really admire your ambition and think our city is lucky to have people like you who go against the grain and move toward progress THANK YOU!!!

  2. Hope he’ll restore the once beautiful park on the west side of the Antlers, the classic double staircase entry to the park, the wonderful patio with views of Pikes Peak. Am sure you can share photos of the once magnificent Antlers with Mr. Sanders

  3. Is there really demand in Colorado Springs for a 100-story skyscraper? Seems all the biggest business is sponged up by the sprawling military bases nearby. The best use for that kind of development dollar would be to build a business incubator to create a new breed of commerce that would use that kind of structure, because a building like this just seems like dreamstuff.

    • Yeah, the 100 story thing seems like a stretch, but I’d move downtown if there was reasonably affordable housing. I could see a complex being more likely than a single 100 story skyscraper.

  4. Ready and willing to move there, just waiting on the economy there to catch up. It would be incredible to live in such a place! So far most of the good paying jobs there are already taken and not being added very quickly so it is hard to join the community there.

      • Unfortunately no, I’m best at manufacturing and distribution sales and management. I’ll have my MBA completed in a year, but will be keeping tabs on the economy out there to see if a good opportunity presents itself by then. My brother is a realtor there and loves the area!

  5. Where the hell is the demand for this thing? There just aren’t enough high paying, Yuppie friendly jobs to support this kind of thing in the town.

  6. This is absolutely exciting! I’m just a working class guy who has lived in the Springs since the late 80’s but one of the things I’ve always lamented is a lack of vision and investment from community business leaders. Whether or not it comes to fruition isn’t nearly as important as planting the seeds of possibilities. No one will build a grocery store downtown until people live downtown in higher densities than they currently do. No business headquarters will move downtown without balanced aspects of housing and quality of life factors. Thank you Mr. Sanders for simply being a visionary, I love the Mining Exchange and can’t wait to see the improvements on the Antlers and any other project you may undertake. Now maybe we can convince Mr. Anschutz to partner with you and bring one of his business headquarters to fill up part of that new building!

  7. If it does not pan out in Colorado Springs you should consider Pueblo. In downtown the area is rated for buildings of any height. Contact the Pueblo Economic devlopment Co for any questions you might have.

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