A Marriott hotel is planned for just south of the Colorado State University campus near Prospect and College in Fort Collins. Courtesy MacMillan Development

Hotels propel Midtown Fort Collins vision

FORT COLLINS — Since the 1860s when Fort Collins was founded as an Army camp, the city has grown to a population of about 170,000 and just under 60 square miles in size.  As a regional hub for business, culture and recreation, it’s the home of Colorado State University and the 33,877 students enrolled.

Like all cities, Fort Collins grew from a single spot that took off in many directions.  Around 2012,  the city’s public and private sectors came together to create a vision for how to grow the area so both businesses and residents would thrive now and into the future.

A specific area of focus —  Midtown — which runs along College Avenue from Prospect to Harmony, continues to get attention as a primary location for creating a look, a welcoming atmosphere for  both locals and visitors, along with opportunities.  The intention of the Midtown plan, which continues to change with opportunities, includes developing and remodeling buildings that bring businesses into the area and supports sustainable growth.

Two real estate projects in the works now fit into the Midtown Plan, which area property owners, business owners and residents first developed in 2012 as a way of spotlighting the area as distinct and representative of Fort Collins. One real estate development application is focused on a single hotel and the other is for a hotel as well as residential buildings and retail sites. 

Saunders Commercial Development along with MacMillan Development and Les Kaplan, developer and president of Imago Enterprises, are heading up the single hotel project proposed for Prospect Road and College Avenue.  The land is currently housing Chuck E. Cheese with a lease that has been extended into 2020.

Brinkman Development is developer for the proposed hotel and retail space as well as residential apartments at Drake Road and College Avenue.

“Fort Collins has grown to the south for the last 40 years,” said Kaplan, who owns the land at Prospect and College.  “This area — Midtown — used to be south Fort Collins.  It developed with highway business, big boxes and parking lots, not with any plans for it to have sidewalks and to be a destination.

“Fort Collins continued to grow to the south so that the area that was considered to be south of downtown found itself in the middle of Fort Collins.”  The land-use characteristics that are there are an underutilization of what the property is, he added. 

Kaplan described the proposed six-story Marriott Hotel project at Prospect and College as a gateway to CSU.  A development application has just been submitted to the city of Fort Collins.

With the proposed hotel sitting across from campus, it will serve the needs of university visitors and professors as well as general Fort Collins’ tourism, he said. 

The hotel will have about 150 rooms and include a restaurant and outdoor patio, according to Stu MacMillan with MacMillan Development.  It will be a Marriott property but the brand, such as a Renaissance or Residence Inn,  hasn’t been decided yet.  If the process goes smoothly, building would start in the summer of 2020 with 12 to 18 months of construction. Stonebridge Cos. will come in as part owner and will operate the hotel, according to MacMillan.

The budget currently sits at $35 million for the completed project, according to Trae Rigby, Saunders vice president of development.

Brinkman Development’s hotel and mixed-use project at Drake Road and College Avenue is currently planned to include a 110-room hotel, 1,200 residential units and three retail buildings of approximately 18,000 square feet, according to Jay Hardy, Brinkman president.  Budget is about $80 million and is planned to be a Springhill Suites by Marriott with Renascent Hospitality as the operator.

The initial proposal described a four-story hotel and a five-story residential portion.

“Depending on incentive opportunity, we are planning a blended affordable housing opportunity,” Hardy said.  “This would be within the 200 units of housing.”

Brinkman submitted a formal development application for the project, also referred to as Spradley Barr Mazda Redevelopment, last summer.  It is currently in a process of review for tax increment financing, according to Clay Frickey, redevelopment program manager with Fort Collins Urban Renewal Authority. 

If the Urban Renewal Authority approves the site for tax increment financing, property taxes generated by improvements will help finance infrastructure costs.  “The city and the school district couldn’t come to terms on that sharing so we went to mediation in July and will hear back on it at the end of October,” Frickey said.  “The sticking point from the school district’s perspective is that they want the city to guarantee a back filling of any money that could be diverted from the school district [taxes] to this project.”

FORT COLLINS — Since the 1860s when Fort Collins was founded as an Army camp, the city has grown to a population of about 170,000 and just under 60 square miles in size.  As a regional hub for business, culture and recreation, it’s the home of Colorado State University and the 33,877 students enrolled.

Like all cities, Fort Collins grew from a single spot that took off in many directions.  Around 2012,  the city’s public and private sectors came together to create a vision for how to grow the area so both businesses and residents would thrive now and into the future.

A specific area of focus —  Midtown — which runs along College Avenue from Prospect to Harmony, continues to get attention as a primary location for creating a look, a welcoming atmosphere for  both locals and visitors, along with opportunities.  The intention of the Midtown plan, which continues to change with opportunities, includes developing and remodeling buildings that bring businesses into the area and supports sustainable growth.

Two real estate projects in the works now fit into the Midtown Plan, which area property owners, business owners and residents first developed in 2012 as a way of spotlighting the area as distinct and representative of Fort Collins. One real estate development application is focused on a single hotel and…