Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Colorado Springs EDC tabs new board chairman

The Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp. has a new board chairman. Scott Bryan, president and chief executive officer of Bryan Construction Inc., will begin a one-year term Oct. 1 and serve through Sept. 30, 2009. The private, non-profit EDC is the Pikes Peak region's primary jobs-generating organization. “We are experiencing very challenging economic times and EDC is laying the groundwork for results," Bryan said. "An aggressive marketing effort has netted over 192 prospective companies and we are poised to recruit more companies as the economy shows signs of improvement. The board and staff are intensely focused on turning this corner.” Other new EDC board members include Bill Berenz, American National Bank regional president; Scott Blackmun, a partner with law firm Holme Roberts & Owen; Mike Faricy, president of Faricy Boys Chrysler Jeep; Kevin Patterson, broker-owner of the Patterson Group, a residential real estate brokerage; George Swintz, asset management vice president for Maryland-based real estate company Corporate Office Properties Trust; and Bill Hodgkins, a senior executive with the Boeing Co. Pam Keller, executive vice president of home builder Keller Homes and who served as EDC chairwoman for the past year, will serve as an ex-officio member of the board. More information: www.coloradosprings.org/.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Two Colorado Springs residential brokerages merge

Two Colorado Springs residential real estate brokerages, Keller Williams Premier Realty and Hope Realty, have merged to create Keller Williams Hope Realty. “The merger helps us better serve our agents as well as our clients,” said Robert Edgin of Hope Realty. Said Gary Keller, founder and board chairman of Keller Williams International: “We view the Colorado Springs market as a market with a tremendous amount of growth potential…The union of these two companies is a step in the right direction.” Rick Guthire, team leader of the new Keller Williams Hope Realty, said the group's ownership plans to "develop and train agents to a high state of professionalism in Colorado Springs. " Guthrie added that the new Keller Williams Hope Realty plans to open a downtown office to better serve agents and clients. More information about the merger or the new downtown location, call Guthrie or Edgin at 576-5432.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Survey: Coloradans support domestic oil development

Coloradans are concerned about the price of gasoline, and the majority support increasing the nation's supply of oil and natural gas resources, according to a survey commissioned by API.

The July telephone poll of 501 registered Colorado voters showed 67 percent somewhat or strongly support increased access to domestic oil and natural gas resources; 20 percent said they oppose increased access. And 95 percent said they are somewhat or very concerned about the price of gasoline.

"Despite these numbers and the recent wave of public support, Congress remains in the way of creating a comprehensive energy policy with all options on the table, including development of domestic resources, more conservation and energy efficiency," said Stan Dempsey, president of the Colorado Petroleum Association. "Now is the time for Congress to ease restrictions on non-park, non-wilderness federal lands out West and lift the ban on offshore drilling."

For the complete survey, go to www.energytomorrow.org/colorado.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Alzheimer's and memory care center opening

Loyalton of Broadmoor will open a 40-suite building for Alzheimer's and memory care patients in mid- to late September, adjacent to its assisted living center at 615 Southpointe Court.

"There's a tremendous need for memory care everywhere and specifically in Colorado Springs," said spokeswoman Dana Gardiner. "The population of people with Alzheimer's and dimentia in the city is astounding and growing."

Shared and private suites will be available in the new building, she said. Called Broadmoor's Join Their Journey, the program will offer activities, medical and personal care and family support. Residents also will have social areas, a community cafe, a beauty salon and other amenities.

Loyalton plans to form a support group that includes specialists in the field who can answer questions and provide coping mechanisms for caregivers.

Loyalton of Broadmoor has been owned by Emeritus Senior Living for two years and has been in Colorado Springs for about a decade. Emeritus is one of the largest operators of free-standing assisted living facilities in the U.S.

Call 579-5000 for more information.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fountain commercial center expands again

The Markets at Mesa Ridge shopping center in Fountain, south of Colorado Springs, is continuing its expansion. A groundbreaking took place Wednesday, Aug. 13, for the addition of an Ent Federal Credit Union, Little Caesars Pizza and Papa Murphy’s Pizza. Construction should be completed in February. The Markets at Mesa Ridge, at Mesa Ridge Parkway and Fountain Mesa Road, is a joint venture between a California-based real estate investment company and members of the Janitell family of the Pikes Peak region. The development started in 2001 with construction of a Safeway grocery, and will include more than 500,000 square feet of commercial space when completed. Other existing tenants include Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse, Walgreens, Advance Auto, Sonic, Subway, Wells Fargo, Chase Bank and Carl’s Jr. Project developers and Fountain officials say the Markets at Mesa Ridge will serve city residents as well as thousands of additional troops that will be stationed at nearby Fort Carson in the next few years. More information: Tammy J. Gilbert or Richard Walker of First Properties Inc., 576-2288; Lisa Cochrun, Fountain Economic Development Director, 322-2056; http://www.firstproperties1.com/.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Get on board for Manitou EDC fundraiser

The Pikes Peak Cog Railway is being transformed into a fund-raising vehicle -- literally -- for the Economic Development Council in Manitou Springs. A fundraiser for the organization starts with a social hour at 4:15 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, at the Cog Railway Depot in Manitou Springs. At 4:45 p.m., participants will board the last Cog Railway train of the day, travel to Pikes Peak and return at 7:50 p.m. For $50 per person, participants will be treated to hors d’oeuvres and refreshments from The Cliff House and on-board entertainment and wine provided by D’Vine Wines, both of Manitou Springs. Door prizes also will be awarded during the train ride. Reservations for the train ride are required; call the Manitou Springs Economic Development Council at 685-9741. The council works to revitalize Manitou Avenue through streetscape improvements, while marketing those improvements to attract new businesses and to strengthen Manitou Springs’ economy, said Kitty Clemens, the Economic Development Council's director. More information: www.manitouspringsahead.com and www.cograilway.com/.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Home prices fall in Colorado Springs area

Median single-family home prices fell to $200,922 in the second quarter in Colorado Springs, a 3.7 percent decline when compared with the same period a year ago, according to a report released Tuesday, Aug. 12, by Zillow, the Seattle-based Internet home-appraisal site. For all of El Paso County, which includes the Springs, second-quarter median prices fell 3.8 percent to $200,295. In Teller County, second-quarter prices declined 5.1 percent to $199,301 when compared to the same period last year. By comparison, prices in Denver dropped 5.4 percent in the second quarter, while Pueblo prices fell 0.4 percent. Nationally, median home prices fell 9.9 percent in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Zillow estimates 37.2 percent of Colorado Springs homes saw a drop in value in the second quarter, while 26.1 percent of homes sold in that period were sold for less than the previous purchase price. Of homes sold in the second quarter, 4.6 percent were foreclosures. More information: http://www.zillow.com/reports/RealEstateMarketReports.htm

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Garman's son says he'd like to keep the business

We weren't able to reach Michael Patrick Garman while working on today's story on the plans to close the Michael Garman Gallery early next year, but we spoke with the younger Garman this morning.

He said he'd love to carry on the family business, which he ran for five years before having a falling out with his father last December.

"It was always my dream to run the company and continue on the legacy," Garman said.

Michael Patrick Garman said he still talks to his father, but not about the business.

"My No. 1 concern is my relationship with my father," he said. "I still love the man, he’s still my father. If he doesn’t have too much longer on this earth, I don’t want to create a big rift."

Michael Garman, 70, said on Monday that he's been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and his doctors say he likely has only a couple years to live.

His daughter, Vanessa Garman, now oversees the gallery. She said the business would be too expensive for any of Michael Garman's three children to buy on their own and that her brother hasn't made an offer.

"He’s never discussed this with my father at all," she said.

Michael Patrick Garman said he still sculpts and plans to teach classes at the Business of Art Center in Manitou Springs this fall.

USAA offers members online car-buying service

USAA insurance, a Fortune 150 financial services company that caters to the military and their families and has about 1,000 employees in Colorado Springs, has launched an online auto loan and car-buying service for members.

The new services allow members to handle all the steps of car buying -- from selecting a vehicle to financing and obtaining insurance -- electronically and without having to leave home.

The program is being done in partnership with Zag.com, which established a network of participating dealerships in 70 cities across 28 states.

To get started, members can go to www.usa.com/auto.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Garman offers gallery closure details

“I never had any idea it would get this far,” sculptor Michael Garman said, “I guess that’s why it got this far.”

Garman, 70, flew into Colorado Springs on Monday for a press conference making official what fans of his work have been talking about for a week: Michael Garman Productions will stop making reproductions of Garman’s sculptures this winter and the gallery in Old Colorado City will close once the remaining inventory is sold — probably in spring or early summer 2009.

Garman said his health is the problem. He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and doctors have only given him a couple years to live. It’s time, he said, to focus on other things.

“It’s too personal a business for me to sell it,” he said.

His son, Michael P. Garman, ran the business for five years and had planned to take it over, but he decided to strike out on his own, Garman said.

“I’m not a good manager,” Garman said. “He doesn’t want to manage. Hell of a good sculptor, though. He’s decided to go out on his own now, find his own place.”

His daughter Vanessa Garman will run the business until the end. The company’s 15 employees should stay on until the business wraps up, she said.

“We’re going to need everybody until the end,” she said.

The big question is what happens to Magic Town, Garman’s series of street scenes that have become a tourist attraction. Magic Town could be sold and moved, or it could stay put and be run by whoever buys the gallery building.

“The last thing we would want is for it to end up in storage,” Vanessa Garman said.

Losing the gallery will be a blow to Old Colorado City, said Jim Heikes, owner of Thunder Mountain Trading Company and president of Old Colorado City Associates.

“It’s really a sad thing,” he said. “He has been a cornerstone for years and years and years. It will be a tremendous loss.”

Because of his health, Garman is trying to limit the time he spends in the thin air of Colorado Springs. He plans to return Sept. 6 and 7 and Nov. 22 and 23 to appear at the gallery and sign his work for fans.

Garman doesn’t plan to sell any new works, but said he won’t stop sculpting.

“It’s been everything to me,” he said, brushing back tears.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cliff House expansion approved by Historic Preservation Commission

The Manitou Springs Historic Preservation Commission on Wednesday approved the Cliff House’s proposed $15 million expansion around the historic Wheeler House by a 5-2 vote. The expansion will go before the city council on Aug. 26.

"This puts us in a position to go to city council in pretty good shape," said Paul York, general manager for the Cliff House.