“Build it and they will come.” -Dan Lee, Full House Resorts CEO, owner of Bronco Billy’s Casino.
Let’s hope he’s right.
Since I rarely find the need to use a hotel room in the town in which I live, I guess I’m surprised that we’re lacking that many rooms; it really doesn’t seem that this city is all that busy, except during promoted events.
In case you haven’t heard, the proposal is to build a six-story hotel (199 rooms, a parking garage and other amenities) between Bennett Avenue and Carr Avenue and part of that hotel will span Second Street requiring a vacation from the city. (Meaning the city will give up that portion of the city street so that the hotel can be built on it; not that someone would be taking a vacation.)
The Cripple Creek City council meeting began as usual Wednesday evening (April 18, 2018) at 5:30 p.m. What was unusual about this meeting was that it was standing room only, as the council heard from applicant Full House Resorts, Inc. owners of Bronco Billy’s regarding a new hotel and parking garage proposal.
The primary argument against the project is that it appears to violate a number of Historic Preservation requirements. This project requested a Certificate of Special Merit under the guidelines of Project of Special Merit per the City of Cripple Creek’s HISTORIC PRESERVATION ORDINANCE
ORDINANCE NO. 1991-2. I have provided the excerpt of that portion of the ordinance below:
SECTION 8: PROJECT OF SPECIAL MERIT
(a) Where alteration or new construction is proposed which cannot comply with the requirements of any other provision of this Ordinance, but provides significant compensating benefit to the City, the Council may authorize issuance of a Certificate of Appropriateness as a Project of Special Merit at the request of any Applicant for a Certificate of Appropriateness, including the City itself. A Project of Special Merit shall meet all the requirements of this Ordinance not specifically waived by the Council.
(b) A project shall not be designated as a Project of Special Merit unless the Council determines that:
(1)The project will provide significant public and civic benefits, including, without limitation, social and other benefits which are significant to the community, and particularly desirable at the location proposed. Such benefits must substantially outweigh the loss of the affected portion of the Historic and Business districts, historic landscape district or landmark;
(2)The project is of exceptional design, utilizing the highest quality of exterior materials in a manner compatible with the surrounding area, including, without limitation, any remaining landmark, district or any portion thereof;
(3)If demolition of a landmark or contributing structure is required, reasonable efforts have been made to relocate the structure.
(c)A project shall not be designated as a Project of Special Merit unless the following procedures have been complied with:
(1)Commission has made a recommendation, after notice and public hearing; and
(2)A majority of Council members approve such action after public hearing conducted not more than sixty (60) days after the Commission has made its recommendations.
(d)Notice of hearings before the Commission and Council shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the City not less than seven (7) days prior to final action, and notice shall also be sent to all persons who would receive notice in the case of an application for a Certificate of Economic Hardship to demolish a structure on the Property.
(e)The Council may attach such condition as it deems appropriate, including, without limitation:
(1) Prior to issuance of the demolition permit, that a new replacement building be proposed, that its plans be approved by the Commission, the Planning Commission and Council, and that the developer demonstrate binding financial commitments, including, but not limited to, the providing of performance guarantees or of a bond to ensure that the specified development is completed.
(f) Failure to comply with any conditions thereof shall be a violation of the Ordinance, and the owner, owners, developer or developers shall be subject to the same penalties as provided in Section 12.
About four and a half hours later, the city council approved the project unanimously, excluding Councilwoman Melissa Trenary, who was asked to recuse herself, as she is employed by an opposing casino.
I’ll admit I’m not especially crazy about part of the design. The glass part of it is my main concern, as it was for most of those opposed to it. It just doesn’t seem to fit with the historic charm of Cripple Creek. It seems out of place. Imagine if you will, John Wayne riding into town in a Tesla. However, in my humble opinion, the rest of the design is beautiful.
You can watch the entire Public Hearing here to better understand the proposal and it’s opposition.
Also, here is a pre-hearing article from The Gazette: Competitors fight Cripple Creek casino’s ambitious hotel plans about the concerns.
And here is the Gazette’s report after the vote: Cripple Creek approves $70 million expansion, hotel for Bronco Billy’s Casino
The approval of the Bronco Billy’s new hotel appears to open the door to other “projects of special merit.” It will be interesting to see other proposals as time goes on.
After all of this back and forth, here’s hoping the project actually gets built.
What are your thoughts about the new Bronco Billy’s hotel?