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City funds Pink Elephant Project

Posted: Friday, Oct 19th, 2012

This view from the Colorado Welcome Center-Alamosa at Sixth and State will be erased and replaced in the future. Courier photo by Ruth Heide

Courier editor

ALAMOSA — The Pink Elephant will likely become extinct.

Alamosa city councilors on Wednesday night unanimously approved $100,000 for the Pink Elephant Project, which will raze the buildings on Sixth Street formerly housing the Pink Elephant and other businesses. That corner at State Avenue and Sixth Street, also known as Highway 160 and Main Street, would then become home to about 16,500 square feet of retail space that would complement the Colorado Welcome Center across the street.

During a recent work session with the city council, Alamosa County Economic Development Corporation/Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Randy Wright sought the city’s assistance with the Pink Elephant Project.

He explained at that time that it would not be fiscally feasible for someone to buy the properties and demolish them and then start from scratch to begin development. However, he said governmental entities could acquire brownfield grants, which a private businessperson could not, and that would offset the cost of development.

He added that Alamosa County is willing to perform the demolition work as its in-kind share. Once the property was leveled, it could be sold to a developer who would work with the development corporation to put in businesses that would attract tourists and draw them into the downtown area.

It was City Manager Nathan Cherpeski’s position the city could provide $100,000 from its current fund balance towards this project.

Wright maintained that in a period of about three years the city would get its investment back through new sales tax revenue. He estimated the businesses going into that space would generate about $32,000 new sales tax per year.

Also during the work session two weeks ago Wright told the council most of the business owners are willing to sell, and he estimated it would cost about $365,000 to acquire the properties. The project site would include the properties formerly housing Trujillo’s on Tap, Pink Elephant, Guatemex, Sicc & Twisted and part of the parking lot owned by Oscar’s Restaurant.

Abatement costs for asbestos and lead paint removal are estimated at about $233,000 with demolition and disposal costs estimated at $173,000.

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