Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Springs firm chosen to design downtown arts district

Fennell Group of Colorado Springs will serve as the architectural firm for Springs developer Chuck Murphy's proposed $18 million arts district, which is envisioned to be built as part of the southwest downtown urban renewal project. The district is planned north of Colorado Avenue and west of Sierra Madre Street.

“Fennell Group’s lead architect, Jim Fennell, is a longtime advocate of ‘green’ building and the principles of smart growth and he has utilized forward-thinking New Urban principles of neighborhood development in this project,” Murphy said.

The Downtown Arts District will include live-work lofts for 25 to 40 artists who will live, create and sell their work on site. The district also will be promoted as an artist’s market and tourist attraction. Fennell Group’s design focused on the theme of Colorado’s bull elk and proposes a pedestrian-oriented “festival” street as the central artery.
The district will be designed to include an observation tower with mountain and city views, a water/fountain entry, spaces for mixed uses such as a restaurant, bar, cafĂ©, arts and educational organizations, green space and a seasonal vendor’s park. It will also include a foundry for artists producing metal sculpture.
"Chuck and I want to give our area artists the type of support they often feel they don’t receive here locally, and to establish Colorado Springs as a major player in the state and national art market," said Steven Mullens, Murphy's partner in the development. “As a tourist attraction we see this rising to the level of our finest attractions, such as the Air Force Academy and Garden of the Gods.”
Members of an architectural selection committee that selected Fennell Group included Chuck Miller and Jim Rees, Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority consultants; longtime downtown activist, business owner and authority member Judy Noyes; Beth Kosley, executive director of the Downtown Partnership advocacy group; and Tim Siebert, a member of N.E.S. Inc. a Springs planning firm.

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