CHEYENNE – Blue Federal Credit Union staff broke ground on the organization’s new Cole Shopping Center headquarters Saturday, celebrating with live music and fireworks.

Dozens of regional business leaders, Blue members and neighborhood residents said the campus-style facility, now officially under construction, will dramatically improve the vacant space at Pershing Boulevard and Converse Avenue.

“This is a gigantic blight right in the center of our city,” said Cheyenne City Councilman Rocky Case. “The positive economic impact we are going to have from this project is not only short term from construction, but long term from the jobs that are going to come here. This is a huge win."

Representatives announced plans to redevelop the Cole Shopping Center in November, demolishing existing infrastructure to build the group’s first and only corporate headquarters. The main building will house approximately 170 employees, with a 400-person capacity as the company grows. Existing office employees now dispersed among local branches will move to the new location.

The 8-acre, “campus-style” property will include the headquarters building, a new branch location and retail space. Open outdoor space and community facilities will be incorporated into the plan as well.

“We’ve included a community center, what we are calling our amenities facility,” said Stephanie Teubner, Blue’s CEO. “We will have it open to the public for a variety of events such as weddings and retirement parties.”

The shopping center was once home to Safeway, Cole Square Cinemas and Blockbuster Video, but has been mostly vacant since Safeway’s closure in 2016.

Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr said in a video that helping to revitalize Cole has always been one of her primary objectives.

“The shopping center, as we all know, had come to ruin,” she said. “When it ultimately fell apart, and businesses moved away, it became not just an eyesore, but a sore for our community.”

Blue’s executive team initially planned to wrap up construction by June 2020, but Michele Bolkovatz, vice president of public relations at Blue, said that timeline has been pushed back to December 2020.

“We’ll host our grand opening sometime in June 2021 – our 70th anniversary,” she said.

Blue Federal Credit Union is a nonprofit cooperative with thousands of members in Colorado and Wyoming. It was founded in 2016 when Wyoming-based Warren Federal Credit Union and Colorado-based Community Financial Credit Union merged for better financial stability.

“We’re excited to have the opportunity to give back to the Cheyenne community from a revitalization perspective,” Teubner said.

Chrissy Suttles is the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s business and health reporter. She can be reached at csuttles@wyomingnews.com or 307-633-3183. Follow her on Twitter at @chrissysuttles.

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