Jessup Farm Tour and Happy Hour

APA Colorado – Jessup Farm Tour and Happy Hour

Date:  May 13, 2016

Time:  5:00 P.M. - ???

Location1957 Jessup Drive Fort Collins, CO 80525

Cost:  FREE


In the 1860s, Joseph and Mary Jessup bought property from Joseph’s uncle that was east of Fort Collins on the bluff¬ above the Poudre River. Joseph then built the iconic brick farmhouse, the barn and other outbuildings and the property became the Jessup farmstead. The Jessups and their sons worked the farm and owned the property into the mid-1950s. In 1963, members of the Johnson family, who were prominent landowners in the area and owned the adjacent farm property on Drake Road, just east of Timberline, purchased the farmstead. The Jessup Farm was incorporated into the Johnson Farm and the entire property became Spring Creek Farms. (Part of the land in Spring Creek Farms owned by Edwin and Cora Johnson became Edora Park in the early 1970s.) As Fort Collins grew, like many farm properties in the area, Spring Creek Farms was eventually sold for development.

In 2011, the Campana family of Bellisimo Inc., purchased the property and created an innovative, adaptive reuse plan to preserve, restore, and rehabilitate the historic integrity of Joseph and Mary Jessup’s farmstead. Combining elements of New Urbanist planning with concepts drawn from the farm-to-table and farmer’s market movements, the redevelopment and adaptive-reuse plan incorporates the Artisan Village into a broader residential neighborhood, Bucking Horse, which focusses on building and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

This healthy-lifestyle component, in addition to efforts to preserve and protect the heritage and existing buildings on the site, guided the planning philosophy for the project. The first priority when planning the use of the site was to preserve the existing buildings as much as possible, but at the same time, adapt and reuse the interiors for 21st century commercial activity. The planning team went a step further and considered how to knit these outbuildings together to create a cohesive commercial center that could also be used as a community gathering center for events, festivals, and other activities, such as farmers' markets. Thus, the concept for the plaza was created.

The plaza at Jessup Farm contains many details that enhance its ability to be utilized as a community gathering place that are almost hidden and may not be noticed by the layperson. All planters within the plaza are enclosed with natural stone ledges that were designed to be at the desired height to be used as a seating place. There are electrical outlets throughout the plaza, and the plaza is designed and broken into plots which can be rented and used by farmers' market vendors, so that, unlike the majority of open air markets, vendors will not be relegated to the parking lot, but rather fill the entire plaza and draw visitors into the project. The final important component of the planning process for this project was identifying a mix of complementary artisans (tenants) to fill the newly restored and renovated commercial spaces.

The artisans at Jessup Farm are the glue that holds the project together. For a unique project such as Jessup Farm, an equally as unique tenant mix is crucial to success. Our planning and leasing teams considered what qualities a tenant would need to have to add the most value to the project, and deemed that locally-owned, small businesses that centered around artisanal activities (which was loosely defined as being a "creator") were key. The team also understood that the mix of businesses would need to be such that a visitor would go to more than one business during a trip, and that the businesses would need to be complementary enough that this would be encouraged (e.g., a visitor could have an early morning workout at Reve, have late morning coffee at Bindle Coffee, then shop for home goods at HEYDAY, or a watch at Vortic Watch CO, maybe have a family portrait session with Clayton Jenkins Photography, grab a haircut at Lucky 27 Barbershop, have lunch at The Loafing Shed, a few afternoon beers at the Barrel House, and wrap up the day with dinner at the Farmhouse). To ensure that this mix was correct, our planning and leasing teams diligently worked over the course of three years to vet out and hand select artisans to fill the space.

Collectively, these efforts in the early stages of planning the project allowed for Jessup Farm to successfully blend historic preservation, 21st century commercial demands, and the need for a neighborhood gathering place. While the resulting final project is still in its infancy, it is already being tapped by planners and developers around the world as a model for this type of development.



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