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SunWater opens, Sanders buys Antlers, and more 

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SunWater opens in Manitou

Customers are already waiting at the door at 8 a.m. when co-owners Don Goede and Kat Tudor arrive to open SunWater Spa for its first official day of business.

Actually, the Manitou Springs business has been open since May. But the "hot springs" pools for which it is named opened Aug. 14. SunWater uses a mix of regular and solar energy to heat spring water from one of Manitou's natural springs, creating relaxing soaking pools. Creating SunWater forced Manitou to get clearance to use spring water without violating water laws — a change that could open the doors to other businesses.

Aside from being an inventive business model, SunWater is something of a local spiritual mecca. Over the past couple months, SunWater has been undergoing final preparations for its opening, including a Beltane (or Gaelic May Day) celebration, Ute and Mayan blessings, and Indian Kirtans (a musical blessing).

"There is a prophesy about this place," Tudor says. "Black Elk prophesied this, as well as the Mayans, as well as the Egyptians. That mountain [Pikes Peak] is considered a huge sacred point in America, and there was a prophesy that at the base of that mountain, Sun Mountain, Tava, there would be a place of healing where people would come from around the world and would use the sacred waters."

Tudor and Goede have built SunWater with great attention to its spiritual significance. Every detail of the three-story building is carefully laid out, from crystals inlaid in the top floor's two-sided fireplace, to colors on the walls that mirror the chakras, to the mural on the side of the building that is meant to show Manitou's geography, including underground springs. A second-floor shop, decorated with local artists' work, offers food from Adam's Mountain Cafe, health and beauty products, and even handblown glass pendants that contain spring water.

On the first floor, a large indoor warm pool is flanked by two smaller pools — one hot, one cold. An outdoor area includes a gathering space, waterfall and stream. The second floor is a yoga studio with three cedar pools on the outdoor deck. The third floor is also a studio space that can be rented with three outdoor pools, including one that is clothing-optional. A path leads to a second building where healers can be accessed, or one can follow it the other way, through a wooded area, past a waterfall, and into a hobbit-like structure that is a steam sauna. It's called the "bear cave," in honor of one animal who tried to make a home of it while it was being built.

SunWater has classes and services from massage and yoga to more obscure offerings like a Tai Chi Yang Style class and vichy services. A basic day pass to the pool is $30 and a quick soak is $15. Manitou locals get half-price soaking on Tuesdays.

Goede says he hopes SunWater will have a healing influence on Manitou. After all, "spa" doesn't have to mean manicures and Brazilian blowouts. A spa was a place to soak in healing mineral waters.

Goede says, "I like to think we're bringing that back." — JAS

Facelift for Antlers

About three years ago, a friend came to visit and stayed in the Antlers Hilton. What a disappointment, she reported. The rooms were terribly outdated.

Now the Antlers will get an overhaul at the skillful hand of Perry Sanders, the attorney who transformed the Mining Exchange building at Nevada and Pikes Peak avenues into an elegant hotel.

"The public spaces are fine, but the rooms haven't been touched for years," Sanders tells the Colorado Springs Business Journal. "We're going to transform the hotel, just as we did the Mining Exchange."

Sanders says he and a partner bid against some of the biggest hoteliers for the Antlers, which town founder Gen. William Jackson Palmer first built in 1883. The hotel has been rebuilt a couple of times, most recently in the 1960s. Owned by MSCI2007 – IQ16 Cascade Lodging LLC, which acquired it in a foreclosure in 2013, the hotel is valued at $24.4 million by the El Paso County Assessor's Office. — PZ

Manitou race heating up

Officially, no one is running for mayor of Manitou Springs — no candidate has completed the necessary paperwork.

But three people have taken out that paperwork, suggesting they intend to run. The would-be candidates for the November election are Mayor Pro Tem Coreen Toll (Ward 2), City Councilor Nicole Nicoletta (Ward 3), and health advocate and speaker Keith Ahrens. Current Mayor Marc Snyder is term-limited. — JAS

Durham new Ed leader

Former state legislator and longtime Republican operative Steve Durham of Colorado Springs has been named chairman of the Colorado State Board of Education. Durham received unanimous board support for his appointment, which goes through 2016. — JAS

Supertanker flies in

Colorado Springs Airport has been selected by Global SuperTanker Services LLC as a base for its mega-firefighting airliner. The company plans to convert Boeing 747-400 aircraft into aerial firefighting apparatus able to travel worldwide.

The SuperTanker is capable of carrying more than 19,000 gallons of retardant. Global is resurrecting the SuperTanker after an Evergreen company, which held the patents, went bankrupt, according to fireaviation.com. The site reports the aircraft first attacked a fire in 2009 and had "call when needed" contracts in 2013 with California's state firefighting division and the Forest Service. — PZ

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