Once upon a time, Fort Collins really was a fort.
Sure, that was more than 153,000 residents and 153 years ago — before Colorado became a state and before the Union emerged victorious from a bloody Civil War.
It’s difficult to imagine what the original 82-acre military camp looked like in 1864. By scant accounts it was pretty nondescript and life at the fort was pretty boring. The soldiers were probably happy the fort was shuttered after only two years.
The original site of the humble fort that hugged the Poudre River between North College Avenue and Jefferson Street has been slow to come into its own in the modern age until a recent surge of redevelopment began in what’s now called the River District.
Inside the old fort’s boundaries today are older businesses such as Ranch-Way Feeds, whose original mill dates to 1868, and the iconic El Burrito restaurant, which has been owned by the same family since 1960.
The old fort site also includes the Fort Collins Rescue Mission and former homeless hangout Jefferson Street Park, which is being turned into a restaurant.
The site includes Ginger and Jack Graham’s transformation of the 106-year-old Northern Colorado Feeders Supply building, where the couple is putting $10 million into renovating the historic building to the restaurant/coffee shop/food hub called Ginger and Baker, and a distillery planned by Blue Ocean Enterprises.
And then there are plans for the $10 million Confluence, a five-story office, residential and retail project by architects Randy Shortridge and Jason Kersley.
River District redevelopment that has already occurred includes the Mill House Apartments adjacent to Ginger and Baker, Wolverine Farm Letterpress and Publick House and Block One, which is home to Encompass Technologies, an events center and dozen apartments.
Article credits: Jacy Marmaduke, Coloradoan