Student Housing Complex Plan Moves Forward

A plan to build a large student housing complex near the University of Colorado at Colorado at Colorado Springs got the OK to move forward in a 5-4 vote from City Council.

The apartments would go up where the closed Bates Elementary School stands in the Cragmor neighborhood right across Austin Bluffs Parkway from the UCCS Campus.

A group of Cragmor homeowners appealed the development of the apartment complex. More than a dozen showed up on Tuesday to see what City Council would decide.

No homeowners spoke in favor of the project.

The plan would be to demolish the old elementary school and construct a 621-bedroom apartment complex that would be built around a parking garage that would have 621 spots.

The Chicago-based contracting company, GG Land Group, said they designed the project to appeal to UCCS students but will keep them and traffic heading out onto Austin Bluffs instead of into the neighborhood.

UCCS is not involved in the project and has told city staff that they are "neutral" about it.

Many homeowners say the five-story structure is not a good fit for their neighborhood.

"We don't want this building to destroy the wonderful, scenic, quiet, peaceful, friendly neighborhood that we got," said Frankie Shake, a Cragmor neighborhood homeowner.

City Council denied the neighbors' appeal and chose to move forward with the project.

Council did add some changes to the original project, including: removing a proposed westbound turn lane on Austin Bluffs, a $40,000 account be set up to help with any traffic issues and a fence to be built in a center median of Austin Bluffs to make sure students don't try to jaywalk across the parkway to get to campus.

The developers will also have to do an extensive environmental study of the area before any construction takes place.