FORT COLLINS — Developers on Wednesday will go before city officials for preliminary design review of The Exchange, a mixed-use redevelopment of the east side of the 200 block of North College Avenue in Fort Collins.
Led by Fort Collins-based Brinkman Partners, the project could be characterized as more of a major renovation. Plans filed with the city recently indicate that the existing one-story buildings, running from Walnut Street to Jefferson Street, will be reused in the new iteration of the site.
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Josh Guernsey of Brinkman Partners, who estimates that the cost of the project will exceed $6 million, said on Monday that the plan is for a full gut and remodel on about 80 percent of the space in the buildings now. The buildings will also get completely new facades. And developers are planning to build a roughly 2,500-square-foot addition to the building at the south end of the site to bring total leasable square footage to 33,266 once complete.
The centerpiece of the project, though, is converting the parking at the center of the site into a public plaza, where Brinkman officials envision converted shipping containers housing vendor kiosks that serve things such as beer, cocktails and ice cream. Live music could also take place on the site if Brinkman attains proper approvals with the city. And more storefronts will be added to the buildings both north and south of the plaza to help activate the area.
“What we’re trying to create is a community element there,” Guernsey said.
Assuming the city’s approval process goes well, Guernsey said the plan is to begin the renovations this fall and complete them by next spring. In addition to restaurants and retail, Brinkman’s plan includes the addition of some creative office space.
Part of the goal of the project is to increase the number of storefronts at the site to eight to 10. Guernsey said Pateros Creek Brewing Co. and Copper Muse Distillery will be key components of the revamp and remain in place during renovations. He said it’s likely that some of the other tenants, including a pawn shop, tattoo studio and upholstery studio, would move to other locations, though he said Brinkman is engaging all tenants to explore what roles they might play in the future development.
“All of that is to be determined over the next couple of months,” he said.
Brinkman Partners led a group that last summer bought the site of The Exchange for $5.4 million. The site is bounded on the west by North College Avenue, the east by the alley, the north by Jefferson Street and on the south where Pine Street, Walnut and College all converge.
The Exchange name is in homage to the livestock exchange that inhabited the site in the 1800s, with the idea that Old Town remains a place for the exchange of ideas, community and commerce.
“There’s pretty cool history on this block,” Guernsey said.