COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Commercial and retail development along Interstate 25 in north Colorado Springs is booming, but what impact is that having on the city?
Most of the development is happening east of the interstate along a 3-mile stretch bordered by Interquest Parkway, North Gate Boulevard and Voyager Parkway.
Separate developments in the area are named Polaris Pointe, Victory Ridge, and the Interquest Technology Park.
An upcoming development is proposed outside the north gate of the Air Force Academy to include a new visitors center, hotels, restaurants, shops, and offices.
Among the businesses and offerings coming to the existing developments are the In-N-Out burger chain, the Scheels sporting goods store, and Field of Dreams, a youth sports complex designed to attract teams and families from across the country.
"All of this development includes hotels, offices, retail and even an indoor skydiving facility," said Bob Cope, the city's economic development officer. "I've heard there's a national hardware store going in there, and a Crush driving range will be going into that area, as well."
Cope said the area has an estimated value of $1 billion in projects for the area that should be finished by 2024.
"Ent Credit Union is building a new headquarters there," he said. "Penrose/St. Francis Hospital will build a new campus there. "
Cope said the area is hot economically because of growth in the city and the continued boom in tourism.
"In 20 to 30 years, we're going to be 1 million people and be the largest city in the state," he said. "We need the development to keep up with the demand. If we don't, it will go elsewhere, outside the city limits, and we'll lose out on a lot of sales tax revenue."
The area's proximity to Interstate 25 is helping to spur the development, but what truly links the separate developments is the long-discussed and long-awaited plan to extend North Powers Boulevard from where it currently ends at Interquest Parkway and Highway 83, 4 miles to Interstate 25.
That developer donated land on the north end of the route and built a bridge on Spectrum Loop, under which Powers traffic will eventually travel to connect to Interstate 25.
The entrance and exit ramps for the Powers extension will be built just south of the North Gate Boulevard exit.
"It will benefit not only the traveling public but help accommodate traffic volumes in the region," said Travis Easton, the city's public works director. "It'll also benefit the airport and the Air Force Academy visitors center."
Easton said the project will cost around $130 million, financed mostly through sales taxes generated by current and future businesses.
People who spoke with KRDO NewsChannel 13 said they have mixed feelings about the development trend.
"I just feel that it's too much for our community," said Lara Milton. "It's enough to make me want to move. I'm contemplating that."
"I just wonder if it will make traffic more congested than it already is," said Kerwin Griffin. "And I'd like to see more recreation, maybe build a lake nearby."
"It's nice to have more options for me and my family," said Leanne Sandoval. "But it's getting overcrowded with all the apartments being built around the development. It's causing some spikes in rent."
Watch "Northern Overexposure?" Thursday at 10 p.m. on KRDO NewsChannel 13 and afterward on KRDO.com.