COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The City of Colorado Springs today announced plans to move forward with the fourth City for Champions project; the Colorado Sports and Event Center. Comprised of two separate facilities, these will be state of the art, multi-purpose venues designed to host professional, Olympic and amateur sporting events as well as entertainment and cultural events. The outdoor downtown stadium will become the permanent home of the Colorado Springs Switchbacks while the event center will serve as the new home of the Colorado College ice hockey team.
Partnering and providing private financial funding in the venture are Colorado College, the Colorado Springs Switchbacks and Weidner Apartment Homes. The next step in the project is presentation of the business plan and finding of commencement of substantial work toward the project by the Colorado Economic Development Commission at its meeting in September.
“It gives me great pride to announce that the City of Colorado Springs is ready to effectively leverage $27.7M in State City for Champions funding to build a downtown sports stadium and events center,” said Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers. “Today’s announcement is the culmination of a lot of hard work and incredible collaboration between a number of private partners. While this project represents a significant benefit to our city’s economy and cultural and sports offerings, we have remained committed to the desire of our voters to accomplish this feat through private partnerships and investments and not with local general fund tax money. To that end, I’m incredibly pleased to announce that we have an excellent proposal and a plan to move forward on these facilities.”
The proposed downtown stadium will be located at the CityGate property bordered by Cimarron to the North, Moreno to the South, Sierra Madre to the West and Sahwatch to the east. The facility will be a mixed-use development which will feature a rectangular field of play and will serve as the permanent home of the Colorado Springs Switchbacks. The stadium, containing 10,000 spectator seats for sporting events, will be a multi-use facility which can accommodate a wide variety of sporting and entertainment events. Capacity for concert events will be 20,000.
“I am very excited to see the City of Colorado Springs get behind professional soccer like numerous other leading cities around the country,” said Switchbacks Head Coach Steve Trittschuh. “The downtown stadium will help us compete at a higher level and represent the City well.”
“Two key elements were considered in awarding the Ragains a USL franchise back in 2013, namely Ed Ragain's experience with sporting venues and the strong community support from Colorado Springs. The City for Champions downtown stadium project brings those two key elements together for the benefit of the community, the Switchbacks' loyal fans, and the future long-term sustainability of the USL franchise in Colorado Springs,” said Alec Papadakis, CEO of the USL.
“In 2013, when I was looking to start a professional Soccer franchise somewhere in Colorado, Colorado Springs stuck out as a City that had a passion for sports and a vision for growth,” said Ed Ragain, owner of the Colorado Springs Switchbacks. “It is amazing to be standing before you today announcing our plans to complete a long desired downtown sports stadium in this great City. In my professional career, I had the opportunity to be a part of designing and building some of the largest and most successful sports stadiums on the planet. It has been inspiring to witness the way that many of these facilities have changed the trajectory of neighborhoods and cities through lifestyle enhancement. While our stadium project is smaller in scale, we are committed to design features that bring forward a great sports environment.”
The stadium will be constructed together with a mixed-use residential and commercial development in partnership with Weidner Apartment Homes. Weidner will receive naming rights to the stadium and a minority position in the Switchbacks franchise. The combined project is estimated at $60 million dollars.
“On behalf of Dean Weidner and the 1,400 team members of Weidner Apartment Homes, I’d like to express our tremendous excitement at being a part of this downtown revitalization effort,” said Greg Cerbana, V.P. Public Relations and Government Affairs for Weidner Apartment Homes. “Weidner has been a part of the business community here in the Springs since 1993, but our roots in the community are much deeper as Dean Weidner himself grew up here. Our desire to elevate our level of support from that of a sponsor to now being a partner is based on the vision we’ve jointly developed regarding the new downtown stadium and it’s potential to help spur a sports and entertainment district in downtown Colorado Springs.”
The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, a United Soccer League franchise, will be the primary tenant of the stadium, and Ragain Sports, a separate business, will be tasked to operate and program the facility with additional long field and other Olympic type events.
The City for Champions project envisions this venue coordinating with the Sports Center being built at Colorado College 1.5 miles away and the US Olympic Museum 2 blocks away to be a catalyst in bringing more sports tourism to the State to visit the Olympic Museum, Olympic Training Center, and the many other amenities available here in beautiful Colorado Springs.
City for Champions:
On July 8, 2013, the City of Colorado Springs began its pursuit of supplemental funding with the Regional Tourism Act of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The Regional Tourism Act promotes diversification of the state’s economic base by providing a financing mechanism for attracting, constructing and operating large-scale regional tourism projects, which include tourism or entertainment facilities that will attract significant investment and revenue from outside the state. The application, appropriately named “City for Champions,” highlights four unique and extraordinary venues
that will strengthen and diversify the economic impact of our regional and state visitor attractions:
Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its approximately 2,100 undergraduate students study one course at a time in intensive 31⁄2-week segments. The college also offers a master of arts in teaching degree. In 2017 the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center became part of Colorado College, providing innovative, educational and multidisciplinary arts experiences for the campus and Colorado Springs communities. For more information, visit www.coloradocollege.edu
The Colorado Springs Switchbacks Football Club is a professional soccer team based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The team is a member of the United Soccer League, the second tier of the American soccer pyramid and one of the most successful professional soccer leagues in the world reaching a population of more than 84 million people across North America. The Switchbacks began play in 2015 at Weidner Field where it invested 3.5 million dollars to improve a City-owned facility. The franchise is owned by the Ragain Family and lead by Ed Ragain, the former owner of a Colorado-based international engineering firm. All matches are broadcast on ESPN+ and home matches are available locally on the CW & FOX. For more information, please visit SwitchbacksFC.com Weidner Apartment Homes: Founded in 1977, Weidner Apartment Homes is a privately held real estate investment, development and management company that owes its success to its most important resource – the more than 1,400 associates that make up their onsite and regional teams. Weidner is ranked #14 on the NMHC list of the 50 largest Apartment Owners, and as of July 2018, owns and self-manages a portfolio consisting of 257 multi-family communities representing just over 51,500 apartment homes throughout twelve states in the US, and four provinces of Canada. Headquartered in Kirkland, WA, Weidner’s commitment to delivering value drives its vision to distinguish itself as an industry leader in each of its markets. For more information, please visit www.weidner.com
Tag(s): Switchbacks News