ReUrbanism development Watertower Place will eventually house three restaurants, a coffee shop and brewery 

click to enlarge MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
The historic former Nuckolls Packing Co. at 303 S. Santa Fe Ave. in Pueblo, which closed on Christmas in 1980 and fell into significant disrepair, has become a mixed-use development called Watertower Place (facebook.com/PuebloWatertowerPlace). It’s an effort at ReUrbanism and adaptive reuse, taking place inside a quarter-million square feet, with $30 million of capital headed toward the project in the next few years according to owner Ryan McWilliams, who comes from the tech side of the railroad industry.

CSU-Pueblo has opened a downtown satellite campus at the site, there’ll be coworking and event space as well as residential, and tenants ranging from health care and real estate companies to fabrication, manufacturing and makerspace entities. And, as it pertains to food and drink and agriculture, Watertower will host beehives and urban gardens on the rooftop, as well as a butcher and cheesemaker. Snack Pack Food Truck is already on-site as a permanent fixture, but plans call for three restaurants down the line in addition to a coffee shop and a brewery. While it may be 2021 until everything has launched, says McWilliams, “there will be iterative progress until everyone’s open,” meaning one or more eateries could see guests anywhere from six months to a year from now.

As a whole, picture something like the Springs’ Catalyst Campus meets Denver’s The Source Hotel + Market Hall: “Technology is being implemented into the old building in a way that honors the old architecture and gives character,” he says. “The goal is to take one of southern Colorado’s largest eyesores [in the last three years since purchasing the lot he’s removed 1.5 million pounds of trash from longtime homeless residents, he says] and turn it into one of southern Colorado’s most valuable quality-of-life destinations. ... We are sold out three times over.” (McWilliams says there are wait lists for living spaces, and businesses vying for acceptance.)

“We want to make sure it’s a village and community concept, where it’s sustainable and everyone thrives ... if an entity can assist their neighbor to the left and right, there’s value added. We’re choosing tenants based on ensured success.”

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