Regional Building looks to spread its wings to the north


Cash from the sale of this building at 101 W. Costilla St. will be used for expansion of the Regional Building Department into north Colorado Springs. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Cash from the sale of this building at 101 W. Costilla St. will be used for expansion of the Regional Building Department into north Colorado Springs.
The cash-rich Pikes Peak Regional Building Department has found a use for some of the millions of dollars it's amassed over the last several years: It plans to build a new facility amid the super-heated area of development in northern Colorado Springs.

In a news release issued April 16, RBD announced it's negotiating to buy 12.7 acres of land but didn't say where.

RBD spokesperson Greg Dingrando tells the Indy via email the Regional Building Commission has authorized staff to negotiate a purchase on the "north side" of the city and that, "As the purchase is subject to negotiations, the exact location cannot be released."

Nor would Dingrando give a rough estimate of what the project will cost, also citing ongoing negotiations.

"The Pikes Peak region has experienced significant growth on the north side, which is expected to continue," RBD's release said. "The addition of a satellite office will help meet community needs while ensuring Regional Building remains sustainable."

Regional Building Official Roger Lovell noted in the release the satellite office will be located "in the middle of the action."

It's expected to provide core services, including issuing permits, plan review, inspections and, possibly, contractor licensing for its members, which include Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Fountain, Manitou Springs, Green Mountain Falls, Monument and Palmer Lake. Details have not yet been finalized. The public can comment on the new site during the April 25 RBD meeting at 2 p.m. at RBD headquarters, 2880 International Circle.

The project will not lead to higher fees, Lovell said in the release.
That's probably because RBD has amassed more than $13 million in its reserve funds since mid-2016 from the thousands of building permits issued due to damage caused by hail storms, as well as the 2017 sale of land RBD owned in the downtown area.

Dingrando says the source of the money for the new project comes from the land sale.

RBD sold the properties — at 101 W. Costilla St., RBD's former headquarters building which also has been used as a sheriff's office, and its neighboring parking lot, and a vacant lot at 435 Sahwatch St. — to Nor'wood Development Group, master developer of the Southwest Downtown Urban Renewal Area. (In August 2016, RBD struck a deal with Nor'wood to partner in developing the two properties, but later backed away after the Indy reported state statutes specify what types of investments are allowed for a public agency, and private land speculation and development aren't permitted.) Nor'wood paid RBD $3,069,100, or 6 percent less than the appraised value, but significantly more than the $2.1 million the Assessor's Office said the land was worth.

Both parcels are a short distance from the Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame, which is under construction at Vermijo Avenue and Sierra Madre Street and forms the anchor for an ambitious overhaul of the lower downtown area by Nor'wood.

RBD gave away nearly $1 million in 2016 and 2017 to charitable causes or community projects, despite having no formal policy for such giving. Those activities were suspended, however, until a donation policy was adopted in December 2018.

RBD's headquarters on International Circle is a two-story, 74,202-square-foot building on 18.6 acres owned by the El Paso County Facilities Corp., which the Assessor's Office values at $16.4 million.

The Regional Building Commission is comprised of Green Mountain Falls Treasurer Tyler Stevens, Colorado Springs City Councilor Tom Strand and El Paso County Commissioner Mark Waller.

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