Sugar Beet District
Fort Collins, Colorado
Connecting the legacy of Fort Collins' sugar beet industry to a more environmentally balanced, craftsman-focused and community-scaled way of living and working.

Project Vision

The artisan movement originated with a grass-roots approach to crafting consumer products that are original, innovative, fresh, local, and human-scale. Imagine applying the artisan approach to community development: a community-driven project where synergy creates sustainability, a project that focuses on indigenous food, clean energy, a craftsman culture, and connections to the past, present, and future of Fort Collins, Colorado.

This non-traditional approach to fill-in development brings together community focused businesses working collaboratively to create jobs, design energy-efficient properties and sustainable outdoor spaces, maximize development incentives, and build enter
prises that will generate new start-up companies. It is
a development approach anchored within
a defined quality of life around
the specific community.

Development Overview

The project will build a new business ecosystem in an infill redevelopment area of approximately 127 acres just north of the Cache la Poudre River and adjacent to the former Fort Collins Sugar Beet Factory, within the area known as the historic roots of Old Town Fort Collins. The development site is also a Target Employment Area for the EB-5 Foreign Investment Program.

The project can accommodate approximately 3 million square feet of development, including commercial industry, retail, offices, residential, and artisan live-work spaces. The initial land development phase will design and build an estimated $60 million in public infrastructure that will generate more than 600 direct construction jobs. Building construction in Phase One of the estimated $400 million dollar development will provide approxi-mately 600 living wage jobs. While under construction Phase Two
will provide an additional 600-1000 new direct posi-
tions in manufacturing-related employment.

semi-enclosed bioswales

Rainwater and melted snow from the roof and parking spaces is fed into bioswales planted with local prairie vegetation to increase the purification potential for rainwater management.

retention ponds

Water squares are additional decentralized retention ponds that provide ‘visible water cleansing’ through a planted biotope help to make the rainwater flow away more slowly. Grade change in the pond not only controls storm water fluctuations in favor of stream bank stabilization, but also turns the retention basin into a sittable space with pedestrian access to the creekbed. As a result, this biotope becomes a place for restoration and contact with nature in all seasons.

flowing pavement

Flowing patterns in the different pavement materials correspond to the flowing movement of the water. The shallow water in small gardens allows for playing on the water ‘carpet’.

a social hub

The retail component of both brewery and distillery including the pub, store, tasting and outdoor dining are placed adjacent to each other and on two sides of a small plaza with garden and access to the creek bed. This experientially pleasant social hub also serves as the point of entry from the parking area in the back.
Sugar Beet District Site Plan

distillery, brewery & micro-malting

Not just a typical retail center, the Sugar Beet District creates a unique industrial/retail hybrid, anchored by new local distillery, brewery and micro-malting operations. The District creates an authentic sense of place in this historic location, connecting the sugar beet industry past to a more environmentally balanced way of living and working today.

community arts center

Adapting an existing building, the Community Arts Center will offer pedestrians scaled social spaces with attractive indoor-outdoor gathering spaces adjacent to the adjacent creek bed. Pedestrian and bicycle connections to nearby trails will make the complex accessible from throughout the city.

The existing Backstage Cooperative Arts Warehouse in this space today, will be transformed to support the mentioned artistic community within the District and city of Fort Collins.

the harmony project’s entertainment & lifestyle complex

Factory Town - The design shall be inspired by the former Great Western Sugar Company complex with an extensive array of external and internal brick, metallic structural and “factory works”. Defined by a 125 room hotel, 20 service-apartment, flex-theater, restaurants, bars, club, and a retail and spa wellness center features Art in Life throughout. The Harmony Project is the culmination of award winning hotel and resort projects based on authentic experiences and design in The Americas, Africa and Asia by Development Team member Bradford Zak.

new urban residences

Prospect, Colorado’s first New Urban community was developed by Kiki Wallace, a principal member of the Sugar Beet District’s Development Team. It is an award-winning, uniquely livable blend of traditional and modern planning concepts, built out in a broad range of architectural styles.

Like Prospect, the Sugar Beet District’s residential neighborhoods will feature narrow tree-lined streets connecting homes to numerous parks and public amenities, mixed-use shops and offices. Home types include detached houses, townhouses, courtyard houses, apartments, and live/work lofts — all within a few minutes’ walk to the District’s thriving Lifestyle Complex.

The New Urban planning movement proposes an antidote to conventional and sprawling suburban development, which is characterized by oversized front yards; wide, featureless streets; and inhospitable house fronts dominated by huge garage doors.

praxis marketplace

A new grocery marketplace will offer fresh fish and produce grown by the adjacent hydroponics facility. A seasonal farmers market and restaurant will also offer locally-produced food. This integrated approach to food production and distribution will provide jobs and healthy, affordable food options to a formerly underserved part of Fort Collins. The Aquaponic indoor vertical urban farm has a agriculture productivity equivalent of five acres indoor to 412 acres outdoors ground crops.

Integrating Nature and Development

An important part of the Sugar Beet District story is in demonstrating how restoration ecology, thoughtful stormwater management, commercial development and appealing public spaces can be holistically integrated into the new Factory Town setting.

The conceptual rendered view shows the rede- veloped community arts center more fully integrated into the natural features of the site. New indoor/out- door spaces become an extension of the original arts center, with performance and gallery opportunities now available in spaces ranging from fully enclosed to open air display.

Multiple building levels provide the arts center with a diversity of viewing and exhibition plat- forms. Importantly, the center is connected with life-style accommodations: retail, restaurants and Art-In-Life venues, adjacent pedestrian/bike trails creating a more inviting and accessible place for the community to come together.

The Sugar Beet District demonstrates how quality lifestyle, restoration ecology, commercial development, appealing public spaces and even stormwater management can be holistically integrated.

With the onset of industrial sugar beet production over a century ago the cry creek bed ecology of the Sugar Beet District site was dramati- cally altered, eliminating conditions suitable for native plants and wild- life, as well as impacting natural site stormwater flows.

This new develoment takes a restorative approach, seeking to recreate, as nearly as possible, pre-settlement ecological conditions. This approach offers improved stormwater management with reduced offsite discharge. The cross section, shown at left, illustrates how careful management of water depth is one strategy that can extend diversity of plant types in and along the dry creek bed, creating a more diverse ecosystem attractive to both wildlife and to humans.

From every vantage point visitors can enjoy the views, open spaces, and natural surroundings of the restored creek bed ecology.

The Development Team

NetZero Colorado, PBC development partners include Fort Collins-based Paradigm Real Estate Development, The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc., and Kiki Wallace of Prospect Newtown Development. The team’s broad development expertise, including project finance, public-private partnership creation, sustainable community design, and urban food production and distribution can help make this vision a reality.

Mickey Willis of Paradigm Real Estate Development is a development partner for award winning Fort Collins mixed-use and nonprofit projects including Mason Street North, Cherry Street Lofts and the National Association for Interpretation headquarters. He is also the development teams EB-5 Foreign Investment Program expert and EB-5 Regional Center principal.

Winner of two national AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects Awards, The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc. (TKWA) of Cedarburg, Wisconsin is renowned for their highly sustainable and creative approach to commercial and nonprofit projects including the Milwaukee Public Market, Iron Horse Hotel, Urban Ecology Center and the Leopold Legacy Center.

New Tourism & the Harmony Project LLC designs, builds and operates its proprietary concept of sustainable, international and authentic travel destinations in captivating locals for the “New Tourist.”

Project Location: 750 East Vine Drive, Fort Collins, Colorado 80524

Fort Collins Area Image Gallery:

Contact Us

Allen Washatko, The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc.Contact
W61 N617 Mequon Ave, Cedarburg, WI 53012
p: (262) 377-6039

Mickey Willis, Paradigm Real Estate DevelopmentContact
150 Fairway Lane, Fort Collins, CO 80525
p: (970) 690-9661