Field of Dreams, Victory Ridge moving forward

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Craig Ochs envisions thousands of families from the Pikes Peak region and surrounding states coming to the Field of Dreams youth sports complex for tournaments and also visiting restaurants, retail stores and even a theater — all within short walking distance.

Field of Dreams is a major component of the 153-acre Victory Ridge multi-use development that is located on the southeast corner of Interquest and Voyager parkways.

Westside Investment Partners purchased the failed Colorado Crossing development in September 2016 for $22.1 million — it included partially constructed buildings covered with graffiti — and is moving forward with the build-out that is expected to include office space, a parking garage, townhomes, apartments, restaurants, retail shops and hotels.

“It’ll be a real gem for the city,” Ochs said. “It’s a well thought out project.”

Ochs is executive director of the nonprofit Scott Hall Foundation, which honors a former Colorado Springs youth coach who died of cancer in 2012. Ochs joined the group in 2014 to help bring a much-needed sports complex to the area.

“I’ve never done anything like this,” Ochs said, “but we have wonderful partners in Westside, the city of Colorado Springs and the Parks Department.”

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While Ochs works to bring fields to accommodate baseball, softball, soccer and lacrosse players, he’s also learning about patience. Field of Dreams was initially slated to be built near the intersection of Powers Boulevard and Ranch Road, but that presented various problems. It became part of a land swap with the city and will now be a centerpiece for Victory Ridge.

“Long-term, it’ll work out for the best,” Ochs said in regard to the change in location for Field of Dreams. “This gives us better visibility being so close to I-25 and the opportunity to be part of a broader commercial development. It’s better for the city that way, too. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something like this for the city.”

Ochs is selling the naming rights for the 55-acre Field of Dreams and looking for a three-year commitment. He hopes to have a deal done by the end of the year. Ochs said that Scott Hall will be honored within the sports complex in some way. He also hopes enough funding can be secured to eventually build an aquatic center and indoor facility.

It’ll likely be early next year before the city completes the land swap, said Colorado Springs Economic Development Manager Bob Cope.

Meanwhile, the 14-screen theater should open next week, said owner Sam Snell, who bought the cinema from Westside Investment Partners for $1.75 million. Snell poured in another $8 million to finish the theater.

Otis Moore, one of three principals at Westside, said work crews are finishing the final touches on the theater, including landscaping and pedestrian walkways from the parking garage.

“We’re excited about the theater opening and wanted to support that,” Moore said. “Next step in a couple of weeks is for GE Johnson workers to start removing the façade from the [110,000-sqare foot] office building. We’ve started pre-leasing the office building, with [real estate] brokers talking to [potential] tenants.”

Moore said the office building should be fully ready to accommodate tenants by April 2019, and that retail space should be ready to open in about a year.

“We’re talking with national, regional and local types of businesses,” he said.

He envisions a “restaurant row” of sit-down restaurants and also fast food and fast-casual restaurants mixed in with the retail stores near Interquest Parkway.

Ochs, the former University of Colorado and University of Montana quarterback, who also signed NFL contracts with the San Diego Chargers and Buffalo Bills, is excited about seeing Field of Dreams completed, especially since he has four kids of his own below the age of 10.

“This will help the kids in our community, because there aren’t enough ball fields,” Ochs said, “and it will also help bring teams in from out of state for tournaments and help the economy of the whole county.”

Read more about the Victory Ridge development project in the Nov. 17 Colorado Springs Business Journal.