2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

A new name for Copper Ridge retail complex in Colorado Springs

Published: May 14, 2014, 11:02 am, by Rich Laden
In November, customers were lined up for the opening of the Bass Pro Shops store at the Copper Ridge at Northgate retail center on Colorado Springs' far north side. JERILEE BENNETT, THE GAZETTE

In November, customers were lined up for the opening of the Bass Pro Shops store at the Copper Ridge at Northgate retail center on Colorado Springs’ far north side. JERILEE BENNETT, THE GAZETTE

The Copper Ridge at Northgate retail complex on Colorado Springs’ far north side is no more. It’s been renamed “Polaris Pointe.”

The 200-acre shopping center, taking shape southeast of Interstate 25 and North Gate Boulevard, is home to Bass Pro Shops, Bourbon Brothers Southern Kitchen and a growing number of stores and restaurants.

Copper Ridge developer Gary Erickson decided on the new name in conjunction with an Air Force Academy academic project.

Here’s a news release explaining the name change:

The collaboration began when a project team in a Marketing and Business Strategy class at USAFA made the recommendation to Erickson’s Northgate Properties LLC that the Copper Ridge Shopping Center might incorporate Air Force themes and communicate the USAFA mission to visitors.

The new name, “Polaris Pointe,” is derived from the new Center for Character and Leadership Development, which includes a 105-foot tall skylight tower that is focused to the north and aligned to the North Star Polaris. The skylight tower will be clearly visible from the shopping center.

Former USAFA Superintendent (now retired) Lt. General Mike Gould said that in 2011, Gary Erickson made a neighborly offer to include USAFA’s ideas in the development of Copper Ridge. “As a result of Mr. Erickson’s invitation, several cadet capstone courses eagerly engaged in projects related to this on-going commercial development.  Among the suggestions cadets made, was to re-name the development Polaris Pointe, consistent with the Academy’s singular focus on integrity being the bedrock of character and leadership development.”

“We were honored for the opportunity to use our management skills acquired at the Academy and apply them to a real-world scenario”, said Sarah Berheide, Second Lieutenant at USAFA. “Colorado Springs has a strong military presence with USAFA, Fort Carson, Peterson AFB and Schriever AFB. We proposed ideas to Northgate Properties LLC that integrated the Air Force’s core values in to the design and theme of the shopping center. By changing the name of the establishment from Copper Ridge to Polaris Pointe, the community is reminded of America’s heroes who stand behind these values of integrity, selflessness and excellence.”

“Our development has been known as Copper Ridge since its inception. But the team at the USAFA made such a compelling case for renaming the center that it was an easy decision,” Erickson said. “The team came up with additional ideas to connect the two attractions, such as an Air Force Academy app for smart phones and an observation platform for visitors to view airmanship programs in flight.”