By Dillon Thomas

LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4)– One of Northern Colorado’s most booked venues could soon be torn down. After 18 years of hosting hockey games and more, the Budweiser Event Center could be demolished as part of a property overhaul at “The Ranch.”

The arena, which sits a maximum of 7,200 people for events, is the most prominent venue on the 240-acre property in Larimer County that will undergo significant changes. The plan to revamp the entire property comes after voters in 2017 approved sales taxes for The Ranch.

(credit: CBS)

“It’s actually going to improve the entire campus,” said Chris Ashby, Director of The Ranch. “(Changes will) accommodate the growth of the county, the growth of the region, and some other projects we wanted to do.”

Ashby told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas the main goal of the overall project was to help the county attract larger events and shows to The Ranch, while also developing access to large-scale indoor sporting venues for youth athletics. Also, with 4-H having such a large presence in Larimer County, new equine and livestock facilities would be a prominent addition.

“We are looking at an expanded equine and livestock facility, that would let us change the dynamic of the shows we have here, and the capacity,” Ashby said.

The Ranch has two concepts awaiting final approval. The first would completely demolish the Budweiser Event Center and relocate it to the southeastern corner of the property, near The Summit Bowling Alley. A new arena could seat upwards of 10,000 people.

The new arena, which would still host the Colorado Eagles hockey team, would be located near the indoor sporting venues that would tailor to youth hockey, basketball and volleyball among other sports. A competitive swimming pool was also included in the design.

(credit: CBS)

A new convention center-like building would attract more trade shows by increasing square footage and access doors for larger items. Ashby said on-site hotels will help attract shows that have been turned away in the past.

“We do lose big shows because of (the lack of hotel services,)” Ashby said.

If private funding for the $150 million arena isn’t secured, a second plan would move forward. Nearly all of the other projects would continue, with the Budweiser Event Center remaining for at most 20 more years. A remodel of the current arena would take place, with more hospitality added, and seating on the north end of the bowl.

Ashby cited an increase in demand, and population, for the changes to The Ranch. If all goes to plan, construction on either options will begin in 2020.

The Ranch has been allocated $250 million for the project. Additional funding from private donors will determine the future of the Budweiser Event Center.

“(The Budweiser Event Center) is part of what makes the quality of Northern Colorado so great,” Ashby said. “With this expansion, we really will be one of the best in the country.”

Because the project is directly impacted by taxpayer dollars, Ashby said The Ranch welcomes full transparency to the public on their plans.

LINK: The Ranch Master Plan

Dillon Thomas


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