Members of Broomfield's City Council Tuesday night authorized a move forward with seeking bids onin 2024. City staff has been working on finding a re-use for the facility for several years, including re-purposing it as a convention space, retail or office space among other ideas, but does not believe there is any move that would work. The council voted to move toward demolition in May of this year.
Staffers Tuesday night brought drawings of potential re-use of the property as well as a nearby parcel, including mixed use development, but told the council such development will take time.
Economic forecasts have shown a downturn ahead in demand for office and retail space in Colorado.
"We were waiting and all the events to start and they, never started," said Tomas Zatloukal, co-owner of the Vinca wine bar and restaurant, which he opened in 2020. At the time, a 1stBank Center manager told him there were events that would put potential customers nearby.
"That would be every week if you have fifty per year," said Zatloukal. "But then the reality is different. But that's how it works in life sometimes."
1stBank Center was constructed in year between 2005 and 2006. Initially its backers claimed it would draw concerts and sporting events. A report prepared for the city council indicates, the arena was, "Underutilized, never realizing the estimated 180-190 annual events for which it was constructed."
Now, maintenance and repair continues to cost the city and county of Broomfield money. The bonds issued to construct it 17 years ago are still not paid off and staff reported Tuesday night that there is still over $40 million to pay off in addition to the costs of demolition which probably start in the range of $2 million. Staffers will seek estimates on disassembly as well as demolition. The former will take longer, but there may be recyclable materials that could be salvaged.
"It's never been really much of anything. Maybe a little bit of a nuisance during some of the louder concerts," said Trent Thompson who lives in a building directly across the street. "I've always said that my best hope would be some sort of a park."
City staffers told the council there was also interest in recreation on the land. No decisions have been made on what should replace it, but so far it has not been easy for council to undo what has become a failure of the past.
"Nobody ran on demolishing the 1st Bank Center," said Ward 1 council member James Marsh-Holschen.
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