Biz Buzz:
Major renovation of McIntosh Building

      

Rex Peteet stands in an upstairs office hallway he redesigned/renovated in the McIntosh Building he's owned since 2015.
Westside Pioneer photo
Rex Peteet recalls visiting the Pikes Peak region as a child. “I fell in love with it,” he said.
       Nowadays, after spending some years in Texas, the design specialist owns the historic McIntosh Building in Old Colorado City's 2500 block and is nearing the end of a major renovation that lasted several months.
       The result is improved accommodations for the three ground-floor retail businesses - Running Wolf Gallery, Dat's Italian Restaurant and Jen's Place - as well as for eight office units upstairs.
       Jen's Place, a gift shop and boutique, is the newcomer to the 10,000-square-foot building, having relocated this spring from the 2600 block where it had started in 2015. Dat's (inside/outside dining) has been in the McIntosh since 2010, Running Wolf (specializing in jewelry) since 2014.
       Peteet estimates that the cost for the upgrades to the 1899 two-story brick edifice will approach $700,000.
       But despite some surprises along the way - not unusual with older buildings - Peteet has no regrets about buying the building two years ago. “It's got good bones,” he summarized.
       He had previously co-owned an even older structure (1833) at Sixth and Red River in Austin, Texas, selling his interest after that part of the city became commercially popular.
       Dat's Italian was expanded as part of the McIntosh renovation and is getting a new kitchen and more dining space.
       Overall, the building upgrade “kind of touched everything,” Peteet said, including the roof, floors, walls, gutters, brick walls (sandblasting and sealing them) and even a sagging parapet.
       One design choice was to open up the original 12-foot-high ceilings and expose the interior brick walls. He also went after the floors, removing layer after layer of tiles in one area to reach the loblolly pine - only to find it had been patched so much that he had to put a new wood surface over it.
       A major goal for Peteet with the McIntosh has been to preserve its historic style. Does he like the results? He's kept one of the offices for himself. “I wanted to feel when I walk into my office, that I'm walking into 1901,” Peteet said.
      
       Family-run jewelry store with CAD/CAM
      

Standing outside their store entrance helping Old Colorado City celebrate Mad Hatter's Day in April were (from left) Matthew, Bonnie and Michelle Flynn of By Design Gems.
Westside Pioneer photo

       By Design Gems is a recently opened jewelry store at 2520½ W. Colorado Ave.
       The family-run business is headed by owner/jewelry designer/gemcutter Matthew Flynn.
       He works with gemstones, fine jewelry and minerals, specializing in CAD/CAM (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing). Services include custom-designing jewelry, gemstone-cutting, 3D printing; casting and jewelry repair.
       The business is open Tuesday to Sunday.
       The Flynn family purchased the property in October 2015, then embarked on a remodeling effort. An aspect of that was to split the 3,429-square-foot building into two separate units.
       The building had been owned since 2004 by Keith and Bernideen Canfield. They operated the Bernideen's tea and gift shop in OCC for 21 years in all - including leadership in promoting the historic district - before leaving the area in 2015. For some years before that, the business location had been well known as Rogers Bar.
       For more information on By Design, call 634-7973 or e-mail support@bydesigngems.com.
      
       Director retires; OCCA considers next step
      
       Dave Van Ness, who had been executive director of the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group since 2011, recently retired.
       OCCA President Julie Fabrizio said there are no immediate plans to fill the position, but that's not because it isn't important.
       “We're trying to break it down, to see what we really need,” she summarized.
       When Van Ness was hired, it was meant to be part-time (20 hours a week), but he routinely put in extra hours, Fabrizio pointed out.
       His work included developing OCCA membership, supporting the OCCA's special events, attracting shoppers and collaborating with other area organizations.
       A former business owner himself, he also helped start the Old Colorado City Foundation in 2013 as a charitable nonprofit affiliated with the OCCA.
      
       New Schmidt Building owner as Lorig's leaves
      
       The historic Schmidt Building has a new owner.
       Harold Fong and Martha Bartz bought the two-story brick structure at 2611 W. Colorado Ave. from Scott Roney and Jo Nelson in March.
       Roney and Nelson own the 85-year-old Lorig's western-clothing business, which they had run in Old Colorado City since 2014.
       Dating back to 1904, the Schmidt Building consists of 5,732 square feet, according to the County Assessor's Office, with both floors taking up similar amounts of space.
       The Lorig's owners are seeking a new location.
       Fong said that he and his wife Martha have no immediate plans, although they are looking for tenants and considering renovations.
       The building is currently empty. In recent years, there have been various shops on the main floor, and a recording studio was on the second floor, Fong said.
       “I like older historic buildings,” Fong said, when asked about the purchase. For the Schmidt site, “there are some opportunities to get it into a little better shape and do some interesting things.”
       One possibility for the main floor, he said, would be a business that could bring “higher traffic” to the site, such as a coffee shop or brewpub, which could also lend itself to outside patio seating in a currently grassy area just to the east, in front of a newer (1971) one-story, free-standing building that's set back from the avenue.
       That property (technically 2609 W. Colorado) was part of the Schmidt purchase.
       The two addresses total 10,800 square feet.
       Fong and Bartz are real estate brokers; he's a former commercial appraiser. Also in Old Colorado City, they have owned the two-story Willard Building (dated 1900) at 2524 W. Colorado Ave. since the late 1970s, Fong said.
       The building at 2611 W. Colorado Ave. was initially a beer hall owned by Jacob Schmidt, during a time when Colorado City was known for its saloons. But Schmidt was forced to close when the town voted dry in 1913.
      
       Former firehouse transformed into tavern
      
       A new restaurant/tavern has started in the one-time Fire Station 3 building at 817 W. Colorado Ave.
       Called the N3 Taphouse, the business is owned by Johnny Nolan, who also owns the Navajo Hogan on North Nevada. He had started and run the Southside Johnny's bar in the early 2000s, but closed it last year.
       The two-story enterprise is open daily after 4 p.m., the website states.
       Nearly 100 years old, the firehouse's brick exterior remains, but Nolan gutted its 3,200-square-foot interior during a multi-month renovation to allow seating on both floors, he said in an interview while the work was going on.
       “I just like the Westside,” he said. “Colorado Avenue has a lot of energy and excitement.”
       The website is n3taphouse.com.
      
       To build new eatery, owner goes up, not out
      

A view from West Colorado Avenue shows a deck taking shape for the new Sopra Antipasto & Wine Bar this spring above the single-floor side of Paravicini's restaurant. The indoor part of Sopra has been built into what used to be office and storage space on the existing second floor.
Westside Pioneer photo

       At various times since starting Paravicini's 14 years ago, Franco Pisani says he's rejected suggestions that he duplicate his successful Italian restaurant elsewhere in town.
       Besides, he already had a better idea - to build a second eatery right upstairs.
       The current business is at 2802 W. Colorado Ave. The upstairs used to be just an open area for meetings and storage. Construction work began about a year ago. A May opening is anticipated for the Sopra Antipasto & Wine Bar.
       “I had the idea several years ago, and back then it seemed like an impossible reach,” Pisani recalled. “But the more I visited restaurants across the country, I said I'm going to do it.”
       Sopra will be complete unto itself, with its own kitchen and bar, plus a deck and separate inside and outside entrances. Unlike Paravicini's, the menu will not offer entrees; the focus will be on appetizers and shared plates.
       But it's not as if the two restaurants will be completely disconnected. The most obvious link is the owner, who, with his chef's “hat” on, has developed or invented all the Paravicini's entrees and is doing the same for Sopra. In addition, popular Paravicini's appetizers will be found on the Sopra menu, and their wine lists will be the same, he said.
       Another plus to the proximity is that diners coming to Paravicini's who can't find a table will now be able to go upstairs. There, Pisani explained, they'll be welcome to either eat and drink their fill or have a small order while waiting for a table to clear downstairs.
       The Paravicini's seating is 100 inside and 50 outside; Sopra will offer 60 seats inside and 40 outside. Open daily, the new locale will inititially be open at 4 p.m., continuing into the evening. Paravicini's is open for lunch and dinner.
       Originally from Connecticut, Pisani said cooking is all he's ever really been interested in. The business website tells about his first cooking mentor - his mother Mary - and later his graduation from the Baltimore Culinary College.
       He brought his experience, passion and classical training to this area in 1996, and started Paravicini's in April 2003.
       For those who may wonder about his businesses' names, Pisani explained that Paravicini “loosely translates to 'for the neighborhood,'” and Sopra means “on top of.”
      
       Owner, name updates for British-themed shop
      

Maria Uribe stands at the entrance to the tea room at the rear of her recently renamed British Pantry.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The British Pantry, owned since March 2016 by Maria and Rick Uribe, is the new name for the Old Colorado City store formerly known as Willy's Emporium.
       Specializing in British groceries/ chocolates and also featuring a five-table tea room with fresh-baked scones, the business is at 2403 W. Colorado Ave.
       It was started in 2013 by Peter and Susan Holdman, originally from Kent, England; they erected the British flag-styled awning over the front door.
       The Uribes also own the Another Man's Treasure store on Sinton Road.
       According to Maria, she had been a “Willy's” customer and jumped at the opportunity when the Holdmans put the business up for sale. It didn't hurt that she herself grew up in England (the seaside resort of Brighton, in Sussex County), moving to the U.S. in 1992.
       In a 2014 interview, the Holdmans had told the Westside Pioneer that their store name was inspired by their dog Willy, who was named after their homeland's Prince William.
       The Uribes changed the name so that “people would immediately know what we do without having to ask,” Maria explained.
       As for the Holdmans, they moved back to Orlando, Florida, Maria said. “Sue was not fond of the cold winters here, and they wanted to return to where they'd lived for 13 years prior to coming to Colorado Springs.”
       The British Pantry is open daily, with the tea room open Fridays to Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations for the tea room are suggested.
       The website is thebritishpantry.net. The phone is 473-6659.

Do you have any news about your business? Call the Westside Pioneer at 471-6776.