An endeavor first proposed in 2013 is finally coming to fruition as the City of Colorado Springs, Colorado announced plans to move forward with the fourth City for Champions project, the Colorado Sports and Event Center.
Made up 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 proposed downtown stadium 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.
“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.”
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. The combined project is estimated at $60 million dollars.
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 events.
Indoor Events Center
The indoor events center, named the Edward J. Robson Arena, will feature 3,000 permanent seats and capabilities to host ice-based and other sports, as well as entertainment events. The planned arena, which will have less than half the seats of the Broadmoor World Arena, is comparable in size to the arenas of colleges and universities that have similar numbers of students and Division I hockey programs. The arena will be built on the block bordered by Nevada Ave., Cache La Poudre, Tejon and Dale Streets, allowing the CC hockey team to play games on campus for the first time since the program started in 1938.
“Thanks to this partnership and the generosity of donors including alumnus Ed Robson, Class of 1954, the Lyon family, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services and others, the college is moving forward with this ambitious project,” said Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler. “We’re also thrilled to partner with the City for Champions Initiative, the Colorado Economic Development Commission, the Weidner family, and the Colorado Springs Switchbacks on this hockey venue, which will greatly benefit both the college and downtown.”
Initially planned as a practice venue, Tiefenthaler said that the city’s investment, through City for Champions, as well as commitments from a number of donors, will help the college create a multi-purpose state-of-the-art, sustainable venue that will benefit both the college and the city.
Economic impact of the Sports and Event Center project is forecast at $32 million annually and $1 billion over 30 years. The project is also estimated to generate $1 million dollars in new city sales tax revenue each year and is anticipated to generate over 650 new jobs.
This project impact is a vital part of the combined impact of the four City for Champions projects, which are forecasted to:
- Boost the region’s $1.35 billion annual tourism industry
- Attract about 1.2 million visitors each year
- Add more than 500,000 new out-of-state visitors annually
- Increase retail sales by $140 million each year
- Increase gross metropolitan product by $217 million annually
- Add $4.4 million in new sales tax revenue for the city annually
- Add $2 million in new sales tax revenue for the county annually
- Leverage a $120.5 million state tourism improvement rebate
- Allow 23 local TEAM USA National Governing Bodies to host Pre-Olympic and World Championship events here
City for Champions will brand Colorado Springs as Olympic City USA, and invite national/international sports performance and medicine entities to the city–to compete in events and do business.
The State RTA funding will be approximately $27.7 million over 30 years. Two-thirds of the revenue, approximately $18.5M, will be dedicated to the outdoor stadium and will support a bond of approximately $10M. One-third of the revenue, or approximately $9.2M, will be dedicated to the indoor arena and will be distributed to Colorado College as the revenue is received. Private investment from the project partners will make up the difference to complete the projects.
The cost of the outdoor stadium is estimated at approximately $20 million plus a mixed use development project costing approximately $40 million for a total of $60 million. In addition to the $10 million in state RTA bond funding, the Colorado Springs Switchbacks will be contributing another $10 million and Weidner Apartment Homes $40 million.
The indoor events center will cost approximately $39 million with $9.2 million funded by the state RTA bond proceeds. The balance (approx. $30 million) will be provided by Colorado College.