Developers wanted to build a skyscraper in Colorado Springs. So where is it?

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Dan Boyce/CPR News
The site of a proposed skyscraper in downtown Colorado Springs is now a parking lot.

More than a year after splashy headlines detailing a proposal to build Colorado Springs’ tallest building, the project has yet to break ground. 

The developer, Colorado Springs-based the O’Neil Group, had intended to begin construction for the 25 story apartment building last spring. The project piqued the interest of 17-year-old Colorado Springs resident Noah Klimek. He has lived in the city since he was a toddler and said the skyline has remained essentially unchanged in that time. 

“Not much has happened,” he said. “I don’t know, that could be pretty significant to Colorado Springs to get a new … skyscraper.”

He wrote in to Colorado Wonders:

“About a year ago, CPR wrote a story on a new high-rise in Colorado Springs. I thought it was intriguing…So far, there isn't any construction, and there aren't any updates on the project. I would love to see more!”

And, it turns out, the project remains  in limbo, stymied by a host of economic factors. City planners have received no formal submissions on the project, though they say “pre-application” discussions with the company have taken place. 

Courtesy Tryba Architects
A rendering of what a proposed skyscraper in downtown Colorado Springs could look like.

“I am a believer that the project is still on the drawing boards and may actually come to fruition,” said Ryan Tefertiller, the urban planning manager for Colorado Springs.

Andy Merritt, the O’Neil Group’s chief strategy officer said many reasons are behind the lack of progress. 

“Rising construction costs, interest rates going up, supply chain issues that delayed the project a bit,” Merritt said. “When you had multiple factors come into play, that's what made it difficult and requires you to look at all aspects of the plan and try and figure out how to keep it on a budget.” 

While Meritt says the project no longer has any firm timetable for construction and may end up looking different than initially proposed, he insists the developer is not abandoning it.

The proposal for such a building has split Colorado Springs residents. Many don’t want tall downtown structures, preferring the city’s classic, almost “anti-urban,” identity. That’s not how Klimek feels. 

“I don't think that really takes away from the identity. I think that helps Colorado Springs grow, maybe modernize a little bit,” Klimek said.