August 18, 2023

Larimer to issue RFP for new arena, youth sports training center at Ranch

LOVELAND – Larimer County wants help in developing and operating a new event arena and youth sports training center at The Ranch Events Complex.

The county next week will issue a request for proposals seeking partners for those projects and possibly an additional mixed-use development at the county-owned complex in Loveland, which opened in 2003.

Teams will be invited to submit proposals for the development opportunity, the operator opportunity or both. The RFP will be an open, competitive procurement through Larimer County, which is encouraging all qualified respondents to participate.

The proposed facilities outlined in the RFP are a product of the community-driven master plan. An expanded arena and additional ice sheets for youth hockey activities were identified as key facilities needed to support the growing area and stay competitive in the northern Colorado events market.

The proposed arena will offer increased seating capacity for ice hockey, concerts and other entertainment opportunities. The main arena will encompass approximately 250,000 square feet, while the attached youth sports training center will span roughly 150,000 square feet across three sheets of ice designed for youth ice sports. Supporting infrastructure will include professional team facilities, a kitchen, bunker clubs, a multi-purpose room, youth lockers and team spaces.

Both the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League and the Northern Colorado Youth Hockey League have committed to calling the new arena and training center home as early as 2027 through a signed letter of interest.

“This state-of-the-art facility will open the door for increased events and activities right here in Larimer County,” said Conor McGrath, director of The Ranch, in a prepared statement. “The goal is to give our community a place to access world-class sports and entertainment alongside youth activities and programs in our own backyard.”

In addition to developing the arena and youth sports center, the RFP also offers optional development rights on approximately 15 additional acres at The Ranch and the opportunity to repurpose the existing Budweiser Events Center. The county is open to development proposals on various mixed uses for these spaces, including retail, restaurant, hotel and other sports/entertainment purposes.

Larimer County intends to support funding for the project with proceeds from the 0.15% sales tax allocated to improvements at The Ranch, which voters approved for a 20-year extension in 2017.

The selection process will include two separate evaluations, one for the developer of the listed venues and one for the operator of the venues. Partners who are interested in either proposal are invited to attend a site visit at The Ranch in September before the proposal submission deadline for all respondents in November. Interviews for interested developers are anticipated to be held in December, and awarded in early 2024. Interviews for prospective operators are anticipated to be held next January and awarded in February. All dates are subject to change.

Additional details and requirements will be included in the RFP, to be issued next week officially on Bidnet.

BizWest Staff

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