Community meeting Aug. 15 on proposal for former Champions Golf site
It's been 13 years since the Champions Golf & Games fun park southeast of Vondelpark Drive and Chestnut Street closed its doors. Since then, the 26.84 acres - on which Champions had offered a miniature golf course, driving range, batting cages and indoor arcade - have sat dormant.
A proposal to bring the property back to life will go before a community meeting Wednesday, Aug. 15, starting at 6 p.m. at the Springs Journey Church, 1250 Vondelpark Drive.
The informal gathering has been called by area residents and business partners Stephanie Milan and Anthony DeStefano, who want to renovate the existing, 10,000-square-foot main building for a western-themed lunch/dinner restaurant that includes entertainment. The latter will include “family-oriented comedy in the daytime” and burlesque shows in the late evening, according to Raul Corradini of Corradini Ventures, who is handling the management, development aspects and
The business' working name is Moonlight Burlesque.
“We want to put class back into the burlesque theme,” Corradini elaborated in an interview, adding that while the late-evening shows will be “more risqué,” there will be no nudity.
Vondelpark marks an unofficial line between the Holland Park neighborhood to the north and a large commercial/industrial area south from Vondelpark to Fillmore Street.
The former Champions site is zoned for a commercial use, Corradini noted. But to lessen the neighborhood impact, the owners plan to move the parking-lot access from Vondelpark, which is closer to homes, to Chestnut, a frontage road which parallels I-25 just to the east.
As for the rest of the property, plans are still being fleshed out, but the owners would like to develop at least part of the land to build about 80 apartments that would be earmarked for Moonlight employees. Their rents would be partially subsidized by the business owners, Corradini said, as part of a benefits package meant to encourage employee longevity.
Another idea is to convert the miniature golf area into a commercial-type haunted house, he said.
Open to anyone, the Aug. 15 meeting will start with a 25-minute presentation, “then we'll open it up to questions from the crowd,” he said.
Corradini emphasized that the partners “want to make sure the residents are happy” with the business plan before moving forward on buying the property
One aspect he thinks the neighborhood will like is that restoring business activity to the property “will get rid of the homeless problem there. The HOT team [which specializes in homeless issues for the Colorado Springs Police Department] is there about 3 times a week.”
Corradini said the building itself is secure, though trashed from previous break-ins. But structurally it is sound, he noted.
A Westside Pioneer walk of the property this week showed random signs of vandalism, metal theft and grafitti amid overgrown vegetation, but the basic layouts of the former miniature golf course and driving range are still evident.
The property owner has not changed from the Champions days - Denise Overhardt of Florida. The Pioneer has tried to reach her previously without success. Corradini said the Moonlight Burlesque group is in discussions with her about buying the land if the business plan works out.
In an article 10 years ago - three years after Champions had closed - the Westside Pioneer reported that the County Assessor's Office website listed the site (technically two properties) with a $2.7 million market value for land and improvements. Currently, the office shows that combined value as just over $725,000.
Also reported in the Pioneer's 2008 article was information from the city that the site's utilities were adequate for a sizable development, but there was a traffic concern because of the then-outdated Fillmore/I-25 interchange. That interchange has since been replaced, along with a realignment of Chestnut Street around it.
Westside Pioneer article