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Kum & Go backs out from Broadway & 21st site;
7-Eleven owner steps in

       The plot has thickened for the plot of land at the northeast corner of 21st and Broadway streets.
       Until late October, Kum & Go was eyeing the 1.77 acres for a convenience store/gas station, with a deal to buy it from Old Colorado City-headquartered Pikes Peak National Bank once its development plan was approved.
       Speculation was rife about what that might mean to the smaller, 44-year-old 7-Eleven store a few hundred feet north on 21st Street - especially
A file photo from 2012 looks north along the east side of South 21st Street toward the currently quiet intersection of Broadway and 21st streets. At the northeast corner is the former Pikes Peak National Bank drive-through facility. The site was proposed for a Kum & Go, but was recently bought by the owner of the 7-Eleven down the street (far left in photo).
Westside Pioneer file photo
since Broadway is slated to be the main access to the as-yet-unbuilt Gold Hill Mesa commercial area east of 21st.
       But when Kum & Go backed out of the deal in October, who was there to buy the land instead? 7-Eleven.
       Legally, it's a limited liability corporation (AHAG LLC) headed by Manjinder Singh, whose name is connected with the ownership of at least two 7-Elevens in town (including the one nearby at 1011 S. 21st), based on data from the County Assessor and Colorado Secretary of State websites.
       The sale price was $900,000, which works out to about $11 a square foot.
       The 1.77 acres technically consists of two parcels of nearly equal size. Kum & Go had proposed combining them into one lot for a 5,000-square-foot store with 10-pump gas station.
       The company at one time had simultaneous plans for two stores/stations in the older Westside. The other proposed location was in the 2300 block of West Colorado Avenue, but a number of people protested that idea as incompatible with neighboring Old Colorado City, and Kum & Go dropped the plan in September 2013.
       Singh's group has announced no plans. He himself could not be reached for comment, but a person identifying himself as a family member at the 21st Street 7-Eleven said he is not yet certain what he wants to do.
       Kum & Go also was tight-lipped about its decision-making process. Asked why it had backed out after more than a year of paying earnest money to Pikes Peak
A conceptual rendering for the Gold Hill Mesa commercial area includes vehicular and pedestrian travel routes that look like sun rays. (North is down.) The access from Broadway off 21st Street is at lower right. Going east, Broadway would connect with retail and office areas. The "rays" that appear to cross the highway are intended figuratively (they're not in the state's Highway 24 expansion plan). Note: "The Stack at the Plaza" refers to a public area that would be built around the historic gold-mill smokestack on the Gold Hill property.
Courtesy of Gold Hill Mesa and Collaborative Design Group
National - in addition to the city for the cost of its land-use requests - company spokesperson Traci Rodemeyer would say only that “this was the appropriate business decision for us to make, and we appreciate the opportunity to serve customers throughout our 11 stores in the Colorado Springs area.”
       As to whether Kum & Go is looking at other sites on the Westside, she said, “Unfortunately I'm not able to answer your questions related to our future sites or growth plans in Colorado Springs.”
       A local individual who is close to the matter offered some background, saying it marked a strategy change by the Iowa-based company. Over the past three years, Kum & Go has built 11 stores in the Pikes Peak region, but now it is backing off, and giving up 21st Street is part of that “sacrifice.”
       From the mid-1970s to the late '90s, Pikes Peak National Bank operated a drive-through at Broadway and 21st. The building is still there and has been rented in the past. The bank did not actively market the site, according to its CEO, John Georgeson. If prospective buyers inquired, they would be told a set price - take it or leave it - but in the past no one even came close. “People for years were offering us $2 to $3 a square foot,” he said in a recent interview.
       That changed with Kum & Go's interest. After the company took out a contract on the property (from summer 2013 to late October 2014), Georgeson said the bank “had three or four people calling us all through the process.”
       Then, after Kum & Go dropped out, the AHAG group put an acceptable offer on the table less than a day later. “We're apparently at the point where lot of people think it [Gold Hill Mesa's commercial area] is going to happen,” Georgeson said.
       Currently, Broadway is just a side street, with the westbound side going into a residential part of the Midland area and the eastbound side dead-ending after a block. But if Gold Hill Mesa's commercial area (east of 21st and south of Highway 24) develops as planned, Broadway will become its first access point south of the highway. A stoplight is tentatively planned to handle the anticipated increase in traffic.
       Regarding that future, Bob Willard, one of the Gold Hill partners, told the Westside Pioneer that they continue to talk to national companies about bringing in potential “anchor” stores to mix with smaller local businesses. So far, however, no nationals have been willing to downsize to fit the village-style concept that Willard's group envisions.
       Currently consisting of close to 250 homes (with more under construction), Gold Hill Mesa as a whole is master-planned on more than 200 acres east of 21st Street, south of Highway 24 and north of Lower Gold Camp Road.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 12/29/14; Land: Real Estate - General)

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