EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- Just a few weeks after a proposed extension of the Banning Lewis Ranch subdivision was announced, plans for another major housing development have been revealed.
A local homebuilder-developer has acquired the 5,400-acre Ververs Ranch property just east of Colorado Springs and bordered by Highway 94. Schriever Air Force Base, Enoch Road and Peyton Highway.
Plans are to turn the property into Flying Horse East, which would be similar to two existing upscale Flying Horse communities on the city's north side and in nearby Black Forest.
The proposal calls for building between 11,000 and 23,000 high-end homes, an elementary school and a high school, parks, commercial development, a business park, a golf course and a club. A luxury hotel and conference center could also be part of the development.
Completing Flying Horse East would take up to 30 years, but the actual timeline depends on two factors: Whether Colorado Springs becomes the permanent home for U.S. Space Command, and whether the city annexes the property.
The developer plans to submit an application request to the city next year. Annexation would provide water and other essential city services, and provide a significant tax revenue boost to the city.
However, Peter Wysocki, the city's director of planning and community development, said annexing the property will be challenging.
"By state law, we can only annex property that is connected to the city limits," he said. "This property is several miles outside the limits. We'd have to do what's called a flagpole annexation, in which we annex adjacent properties to get to the development site. But the law limits how quickly we can do that."
Wysocki said the city can do a voluntary annexation of property along Highway 94 without requiring private property owners to be included.
"Part of our evaluation will relate to regional development as this area continues to grow," he said. "We've found that there's not a significant impact to the city if development happens within the city or just outside the city limits. So the question is will the project be worth the cost of providing city services?"
Having Space Command permanently located at or around nearby Peterson Air Force Base would bring 1,400 troops and civilian workers to the area, and could draw contractors and high-paying space industry jobs as well as billions of dollars in private investment.
Space Command will be located at Peterson until 2026 but a decision on its permanent home is expected in January.
Without Space Command as a permanent home, Flying Horse East would be scaled back considerably.
KRDO NewsChannel 13 has learned that the developer paid nearly $7 million to purchase the Ververs Ranch property, and also borrowed $100 million from the property's prior owner.
As the Flying Horse East plan proceeds, the prior owner will get a cut of its residential and commercial land sales.
Two firms are currently working on a master plan and a fiscal impact study for the property.
Jessica Leonard and her family live in the area. She said her husband recently retired from Schriever Air Force Base and they are considering locations to build a home.
"We wanted to see what was happening out here, hoping the city would move out this way," she said. "It would bring more stores, more people, more services. But it's out in a quiet area, so I think it could be the best of both worlds."