Cost estimate to restore Colorado Springs City Auditorium jumps to $87 million

Courtesy Community Cultural Collective
A rendering of the outside of the Colorado Springs City Auditorium showing the planned addition on the back of the building.

The Colorado Springs City Auditorium will have a new 7,000-square-foot addition on its south side, as soon as funds are available. The Downtown Review Board gave the green light to the proposed project this week.

The four-story addition would provide accessible space for back-of-house support for the venue. Right now, that includes dressing rooms, a scene shop and a new loading dock. That's in addition to a major interior renovation.

A nonprofit called the Community Cultural Collective has been fundraising to restore the nearly 100-year-old downtown building for the last year. The initial cost estimate was $53 million, but after extensive testing within the building and the anticipated amount of time for construction, it's now $87 million.

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Linda Weise heads the organization. She recently told city council the cost increase doesn't scare her.

Courtesy Community Cultural Collective
An imagined view inside the Colorado Springs City Auditorium, once renovations are complete. Current cost estimates put the project at $87 million.

"I'm pleased to say that we've raised over $6 million and we have another $5 million in process, meaning they're sitting on people's desks waiting for approval," she said.

Of the cash in hand, $3 million is from Colorado Springs Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax (LART). $768,500 came from El Paso County through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Weise said she has identified an additional $25 million in potential funds, mostly from state grant opportunities.

"I think (this project) has more life than it ever has," she said. "I am very confident."

Per an agreement with the city, the Collective must have $53 million by March of next year, although a potential new agreement is under discussion.  The city of Colorado Springs has yet to decide if ownership of the building will be transferred to the group or if they will have a long-term lease.