World Trade Center…In Red Rock Canyon

In one of the series of In Red Rock Canyon Land books, John S. Bock and his brother Richard described the plans they had in 1975 for the development of their Red Rock Canyon property, a plan which they called the RED ROCK CANYON PROJECT.

One key element of their proposed development was a World Trade Center. Compared to the New York World Trade Center, the tragic destruction of which has dominated the news lately, this was planned to be a relatively small facility of only 180,000 square feet housed beneath an oval dome. It has been said that John S. Bock eventually realized that World Trade Centers need be located near a port, or at least a major transportation hub, and that he later modified his dream, replacing the World Trade Center with a teleport center.

The World Trade Center was only one component of an extensive development plan presented by the Bock brothers in their 108 page 1975 book. Their plan had several features in common with plans which Zydeco has put forth in the past two and a half years: hotel accommodations, residential and commercial development, and a golf course (actually, two 18-hole golf courses). The RED ROCK CANYON PROJECT plan was more ambitious in its magnitude than even the “maximum buildout” concept which Zydeco presented to the Manitou Springs City Council on March 14, 2000, but was comparable in some respects.

The RED ROCK CANYON PROJECT included 804 hotel rooms, 500 in a Resort Convention Hotel, 104 in an Executive Hotel, and 200 in the Sand Canyon Motel. Zydeco’s “maximum buildout” concept called for 600 hotel rooms to be built in two 300 room components. The RED ROCK CANYON PROJECT included 3,600 residential units all of which were condominium apartments in towers which ranged from 12 to 36 stories high. , Zydeco’s “maximum buildout” concept included 2,460 residential units: 700 apartments, 900 townhomes, 800 single family homes and 60 cluster homes.

The RED ROCK CANYON PROJECT included a Regional Shopping Center of 1,169,000 square feet and office towers with 500,000 square feet of office space while Zydeco’s “maximum buildout” concept projected 512,000 square feet of retail space and 1,389,000 square feet of office space.

The RED ROCK CANYON PROJECT golf club house was to be a modest 10,000 square feet, however there was also planned a 324,000 square foot “Canyon Land Country Club” eight stories high.

The RED ROCK CANYON PROJECT went far beyond Zydeco’s recent plans in its cultural and recreational facilities, including an 800,000 square foot Convention Center and Sports Arena, a 100,000 square foot World Cultural Center, a 54,000 square foot Community Center, an 18,000 square foot Fine Arts Theater, a 7,500 square foot museum, and the “Allegro Night Club Center.” This was to be housed under four domes with the Gourmet Dining Dome 160 feet in diameter being the largest. To accommodate the Allegro Night Club Center’s patrons, an underground parking facility of 60,000 square feet was envisioned.

Other features envisioned in the RED ROCK CANYON PROJECT included an Executive Center dome, a medical research center, a Communication Tower with 76,800 square feet of floor space, a Technology Center and Industrial Park which included four buildings and over 2,000,000 square feet of floor space, a 1,000,000 square foot Service and Supply Depot, and 13 lakes “to Accommodate all Water Sports.”

The Bock brothers had a conference table size model of the entire project which is rumored to still be kept in John S. Bock’s house.

Like Richard Yates of Zydeco, Richard Bock is an architect, and the buildings envisioned for RED ROCK CANYON PROJECT included an imaginative collection of pyramids, towers and domes. The dominant visual features of the development would have been the towers, including twenty three apartment towers. All of the towers would have incorporated a central core from which radiated three or four tapered wings. The second floor wings would have overhung the base of each structure, with successive stories tapering in from the second story creating a shape somewhat like a truncated Christmas tree. Some of the towers were to be prominently located on the higher mesa areas and on the slope adjacent to Crystal Hills.

In addition to “Manitou Springs Water System”, the Bock book mentions a Total Energy Power Plant, a Water Treatment Plant, and a Sewage Treatment Plant. These references suggest that the Bocks considered making their development quite independent from the City of Colorado Springs, though they stated that the cost “would be considerable and should be weighed carefully to justify the expenditure.”

The logo or seal of the RED ROCK CANYON PROJECT displays the words, “serving the world”. Yet, it was clearly stated that: “In order to make money you have to have people that can afford the features offered and will be able to pay for them. This project is a luxurious type of thing: it is designed to be that way. We are only interested in a certain portion of the people…”

The Bock brothers felt that they had “a grandeous (sic) plan that is all inspiring.” This would justify establishment of “a special law group set up to meet and handle outside complaints or outside disturbances … (which) might involve adjacent property owners or those people who naturally are opposed for their own personal reasons whether good or bad. … a vigilance control force” … (which) “must take care of these, and other items so they will not interfere with operations.”

 Originally published in the Red Rock Rag, Volume 2, Number 10: October, 2001