Developer Envisions A Bustling New “Downtown NOCO”
An average of 110,000 cars pass by a stretch of Loveland daily on Interstate 25.
If local developer Martin Lind’s grand vision comes true, a gondola will transport residents and tourists alike over the busy freeway to a bustling new Downtown NOCO.
The Colorado Eagles owner and developer of Windsor's Water Valley community envisions the area as the hub for the Fort Collins-Greeley corridor that currently boasts about 700,000 residents and continues to grow at a rapid pace.
The $500 million project known as “The Brands” would include retail, restaurants, sports venues, entertainment, tourist attractions, a new hotel and government facilities.
“This is about giving Northern Colorado something world class,” Lind said in a meeting at his Windsor office.
“We have a dynamic, young, family-oriented demographic that has a desire, money and ability to do things. Why make them drive to Denver?”
Larimer County voters approved a sales tax extension in 2017 to help fund the development of the area that currently includes the Budweiser Events Center and the Larimer County Fairgrounds.
The new approved funds kick in 2020 and the Larimer County commissioners are meeting to discuss the revised master plan later this month.
"There's no question that there will be an economic impact (from the project)," said Laurie Kadrich, head of Larimer County's Community Planning, Resources and Infrastructure.
"It will make more events possible. Attracting new events and larger events will be a big help to the community."
Infrastructure improvements part of the first phase of construction are scheduled to begin early in the new year.
A new arena to replace the current Budweiser Events Center is also being discussed. A new facility would increase capacity, improve security and allow the region to attract larger performers on a more regular basis.
The Budweiser Events Center built in 2002 currently fits more than 5,000 for hockey games and 7,000 for concerts. Sellouts are common for the Eagles.
The envisioned Downtown NOCO would include more than just pro sports. Youth sports facilities for hockey and swimming are also part of the proposed project.
Other entertainment would include The Great Colorado Experience — a 120-foot tall indoor amusement park designed by a former Disney consultant that celebrates all things Colorado.
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The plaza around the sports facilities and entertainment would feature a mix of shopping and restaurants.
“A project of this size, you are going to get the best of the best,” Lind said. “All of the national chains will want to be here.”
The final touch would be the gondola over I-25 that connects the east and west sides of the freeway. The proposed gondola would cover a two-mile radius that can transport 4,500 people per hour between the Northern Colorado Regional Airport, The Ranch and The Brands.
“The Eagles have proven a consolidated Northern Colorado market is a very dynamic and vibrant thing,” Lind said. “Downtowns have critical things like conventions, entertainment, transportation and government centers.
“Downtown NOCO will have all that and more. Northern Colorado should applaud the efforts of The Ranch and the Larimer County Commissioners to bring world class amenities to this world class area.”