Published by The Gazette | November 4 2012 | Written by Rich Laden
When he proposed building homes in Gold Hill Mesa on Colorado Springs’ west side more than a decade ago, developer Bob Willard acknowledged one of his biggest challenges would be overcoming public perception.
The 210-acre site had been the former home of a gold and silver milling operation for nearly a half-century. By the time it closed in 1949, 14 million tons of gold, silver, arsenic and lead tailings were left buried in the soil; for years, the property’s rutted north hillside — a byproduct of the milling operation — was an ugly reminder of Gold Hill Mesa’s past.
An engineering study commissioned by Willard and his partners showed the site, southeast of U.S. 24 and 21st Street, could be developed without removing the tailings, and he worked for years with state officials to develop a plan to mitigate environmental fears. By 2006, he received regulatory approval to allow construction on the property.
But whether the public would accept the safeguards remained the project’s biggest unknown: Would the public want to buy homes in Gold Hill Mesa? Would retailers, restaurants and other businesses want to set up shop there?
Today, Willard says one of his biggest problems is meeting the demand on the part of homebuyers who want to live in Gold Hill Mesa.
“We’re actually having to accelerate lot development to stay ahead of the demand,” Willard said of home sites at the project, where 700 to 750 single-family homes and townhomes are planned. “We’re losing clients because people can’t wait.”
Since development began five years ago, Gold Hill Mesa has sold 153 home sites — 87 single-family homes and 66 townhomes. Two homebuilders are busy in Gold Hill Mesa and a third is about to start construction.
Next year, Willard expects to submit plans to the city that lay out an 82-acre commercial project on the site, which would include large retailers and an ambitious Main Street-like development of retail uses, offices and residences.
Read more on The Gazette: http://www.gazette.com/articles/gold-146759-hill-mesa.html#ixzz2BNVFacoV