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Spa restoration is currently in progress

March 28 2006 at 12:30 PM

chicken_in_mole  (Login chicken_in_mole)
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Additionally, here's a good article from the Gazette...

Source: The Gazette
Publication date: 2005-11-12
By Wayne Heilman, The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Colorado Springs, Colo., Spa Will Become a Mix of Lofts, Studios and Eatery

Nov. 12--The historic but dilapidated Manitou Spa will become a mix of lofts, artist studios and a restaurant by next fall, say the new owners of the Manitou Springs landmark that was sold last week.

A company controlled by Colorado Springs contractor Chuck Murphy plans to spend more than $3 million to renovate the 85-year-old downtown building condemned by Manitou officials in 1999 and listed as one of the state's most endangered historic structures.

"This is a dream come true for me. I have always looked at this building and coveted it," said Murphy, who worked for more than two years to complete the deal. "The spa is the hub of Manitou. I remember going there many times with my father and drinking from Soda Spring."

Manitou Springs Mayor Marcy Morrison heralded the spa's purchase and restoration plans, along with plans announced this week by owners of the Cliff House hotel to buy the nearby Wheeler House for expansion and open a new day spa as evidence of a redevelopment boom in the city's downtown.

"This is really exciting news. Wonderful things are happening in Manitou," said Morrison, who said the new projects may have been spurred in part by a $6 million downtown revitalization program approved by voters in 2002 and slated for completion by 2009.

Murphy Constructors Inc. is slated to begin early next year cleaning up, restoring and converting the three-story building at 934 Manitou Ave. into space for retailers, a restaurant and nine artist studios on the ground floor and lofts on the second and third floors.

The project also includes building an attached parking garage with 34 to 36 spaces for loft owners, guests, tenants and their customers. Murphy also plans to restore Soda Spring, which flows into the building, but leave the rotunda unchanged.

Buyers already have put $1,000 deposits on five of the lofts and two of the artists studios, both of which will cost about $200 a square foot.

"It will be one of the most challenging projects I have taken on. But I enjoy those kind of challenges," Murphy said. "While there is at least two months of demolition work and a lot of plumbing and mechanical work that has to be done, it is a very solid building."

Murphy is still awaiting several approvals for tax credits and for balconies he wants to add on the second and third floor lofts. The balcony approvals are required because the spa is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. but he said he doesn't consider any of them "deal breakers."

Murphy owns 51 percent of Spa Lofts LLC with the rest of the company owned by developer Steve Shuttlesworth and attorney H. Lowell Moore. Spa Lofts paid $600,000, including $230,000 in delinquent taxes, to buy the building from Walt and Judy Sebring of Carbondale.

Murphy is known in the Springs area for his restoration work, including remodeling the Cliff House hotel, the Barker House motel and the Business of Art Center, all in Manitou Springs, in addition to several hotels, restaurants and Victorian homes.

The building had housed apartments, gift shops and a restaurant in the 1980s and 1990s but fell into disrepair because of a previous owner's financial problems and eventually was condemned for fire-code violations.

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