Major retail development in the works at Chestnut-Fillmore

       A major new motel/retail presence is in the offing at the northwest corner of Fillmore and Chestnut streets, with a development company's purchase of the old Palmer House on Chestnut, a car lot on Fillmore and the ongoing acquisition of three adjacent, vacant properties.
       Plans for the 13.24 acres are being drawn up by Crestone Development of downtown Colorado Springs, doing business as Bella Fortuna LLC.
       The Palmer House, a 149-unit, 100,000-square-foot, three-building complex on 8.65 of the acres, was a cutting-edge motel and conference facility some 40 years ago, but of late had become “antiquated” next to more technologically advanced “business-type motels,” said John Gatto, Crestone's president.
       With new development in mind, he shut down the motel after purchasing it (along with a vacant 1.75-acre parcel just north of it) for $4.65 million last summer. The car lot, bought for $375,000, is on about a half-acre at 770 W. Fillmore.
       Demolition is expected to start in early December.
       Remaining in business, separate of the Crestone project, will be a convenience store/gas station that's right at the northwest corner, Gatto said.
       On his property, “I can see a new, more updated 100-room motel, with restaurants, banks, retail stores and possible a grocery store,” he said.
       The site appealed to his company because it's near I-25 “in the core of the city,” Gatto explained. “There is no other site like that.”
       Also, expanded shopping opportunities will be needed, as a result of Colorado Springs Health Partners' future medical campus on the mesa about a half-mile up the Fillmore hill (off Fillmore at Centennial Boulevard), and the several hundred new homes that are to be built in the mesa's Kissing Camels area, Gatto said.
       Complicating Crestone's development plans are major, future roadway expansions in the vicinity. An approved (but currently unfunded) I-25 interchange upgrade will include rerouting Chestnut Street slightly north for about a block on either side of Fillmore, while a Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (RTA) project (also unfunded at this time) will widen Fillmore to six lanes from the interchange up to Centennial.
       Gatto said these plans will be reflected in his company's concept plan for site development, which he hopes to submit to City Planning by January or early February. “I hope for resolution of the issues by spring, with construction to start by summer,” he said.

Westside Pioneer article