‘Simpich Showcase’: Theater opening seen by December

       Plans are taking shape for the new Simpich family endeavor in Old Colorado City.
       Some renovations have already begun, and “It's looking promising” for his marionette theater to open with a presentation of “A Christmas Carol” around Thanksgiving, according to David Simpich; meanwhile, a proposal for four residential lofts upstairs in the two-story historic building at 2411 and 2413 W. Colorado Ave. has been submitted to City Planning.
       The envisioned art gallery and Character Doll Museum are also moving forward, with hopes that the former may be “partially installed by December” and the latter in “late winter or early spring,” Simpich said in a recent e-mail.
       The gallery, theater and museum are the main components of a new business to be called the Simpich Showcase.
       David is the son of Bob and Jan Simpich, who started and ran the Simpich Character Dolls for more than 50 years before retiring and closing the doors of the business in early 2007.
       A professional puppeteer who helped his parents in the business, David will discuss future plans as well as memories of growing up in a doll-making environment in a talk at the Old Colorado City History Center Friday, Oct. 10.
       The free presentation, titled “A Westside Family Business: Then and Now,” will begin at 11 a.m., with doors opening at 10:30. Owned and operated by the volunteer Old Colorado City Historical Society, the center is at 1 S. 24th St.
       The Simpich family's plans for the roughly 11,000-square-foot, two-story Colorado Avenue space call for four two-bedroom “loft-condominiums” on the second floor and, on the first floor, the Showcase's art gallery (including pieces by Bob and Jan), a diorama-style museum displaying the Simpich dolls over the years, a secondary market for people wanting to buy or sell Simpich dolls from each other, and a 70-seat marionette theater featuring shows that David has written and performs.
       The plan requires a conditional use permit from City Planning because of the mix of residential and commercial uses within a commercial zone. According to a project statement from the Simpiches, such a use “is consistent with the city's comprehensive plan in that it puts mixed uses together in the core of Colorado Springs. This reduces dependence on automobiles and helps to increase sales for restaurants and retail businesses in the area.” Other Old Colorado City buildings with such a mixed use include residential space above the Garman Galleries and Meadow Muffins buildings, the project statement notes.
       Another first-floor amenity in the project would be the addition of carports for the loft owners, accessible from the alley, according to the plans submitted to the city
       The project applicant is S&R Construction, a downtown company.
       The Holly Berry House business, in the front part of 2411 W. Colorado Ave., would not be affected by the Simpich remodeling.
       David and his wife Debby Simpich revealed the Simpich Showcase plan last spring. Debby is to serve as the showcase manager.

Westside Pioneer article