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The Railspur aims to be downtown destination after being awarded liquor license; targets New Year’s opening

From left, Seth Stefanik, Chad Willett and Juan Coronado stand inside the West Edge Collective building at 707 W. Lincolnway in Cheyenne. The three are pairing together to transform the building into The Railspur, a bistro, bar and entertainment hybrid that was awarded a liquor license from the Cheyenne City Council on Monday. (Briar Napier/Cap City News)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — So, what’s the feeling in The Railspur camp after it was granted one of the most competitive full retail liquor licenses in recent city history?

Maybe an accurate comparison to the time and effort it took to get to Monday’s point — when the Cheyenne City Council made the award official — project co-lead Seth Stefanik knew just how big of an achievement it was to be chosen by the city.

“I feel like we’re all professionals of our trades,” Stefanik said, “so honestly, it kind of feels like we just won a championship game.”

The selection process for Cheyenne’s new full retail liquor license awarded by the state at the beginning of the year was undoubtedly a cutthroat one — and intensified the criticisms of Wyoming’s current liquor license laws in the process. But of the nine applicants remaining by Monday’s meeting, only one could stand tall despite many proposals.

That applicant was Get Bent LLC (The Railspur’s parent company), which was awarded the new license in a 7–2 vote by the council in its meeting Monday. With the vote, the current West Edge Collective building on West Lincolnway now officially gets the OK to be turned into a hybrid bistro, bar and outdoor entertainment area in two phases throughout the course of the next two years.

In chatting about the immediate future of The Railspur on Tuesday with Cap City News, West Edge Collective Managing Director and project partner Chad Willett didn’t hide his excitement. A Cheyenne native, Willett’s been waiting for a project like his to hit downtown for a long time.

Monday night, he and his team officially got the green light to make it happen.

“Think about what the next five years is going to be like down 15th Street, down downtown Cheyenne,” Willett said. “It’s going to be a transformation, man, and hopefully this is just one of the first projects to kick off. … I think Cheyenne is poised for this type of ignition, and we’re excited to just be at the forefront of it.”

A conceptual rendering of the West Edge Collective building’s planned expansion to accommodate The Railspur. (Courtesy of West Edge Collective)

Willett and Stefanik will run the show with local chef Juan Coronado (Stefanik’s business partner at Cheyenne-based Micro Pop-Up Concepts), who all said they’re targeting a New Year’s Eve opening party to celebrate the completion of the site’s indoor renovation phase.

An important condition to the license, however, is that The Railspur building must receive a full certificate of occupancy — or approvals from a fire marshal and building inspector and approval of a site plan through the city — by Dec. 31, or the license reverts back to the city for other use. Willett said that the group is “confident we can beat that schedule” and that they already have a building contractor in line ready to start work.

“We put in a lot of work trying to get to the finish line of being able to be selected. … [Now] we’ve got to actually pull it off,” Willett said. “The next six, eight, nine months are going to be balls to the wall, for lack of a better term.”

“The cool thing is we built this building a few years ago in a bit of a core- and shell-type manner in which a lot of different uses could be made. And we’ve got some opportunities to just evolve on what we have. Now, [the question is] exactly how do we make it the best vibe possible in the shortest amount of time?”

A conceptual rendering of the bar area at what is to become The Railspur. (Courtesy of West Edge Collective)

Once indoor changes to the facility are complete, The Railspur’s second stage of renovations (which would be finished by the end of 2023) begin. Increased parking, a large outdoor entertainment space and plenty of further possibilities would kick into high gear as the facility’s redevelopment reaches full completion.

When that day comes, the ownership group stated, it hopes that The Railspur becomes a “destination” that travelers and people from nearby cities will go to Cheyenne for, even beyond the city’s most touristy days.

“My friends in Denver called me crazy or [said], ‘What are you doing? You’re leaving a good job. You have a good house,'” Coronado said, who worked as a chef in Denver before moving to Cheyenne to help launch the Metropolitan downtown. “But, you know, I fell in love with Cheyenne. And these guys and the whole city have kind of accepted me and I’m super, super happy with that and really excited for the possibilities.”

As the city of Cheyenne grows, many projects — even some in the most recent liquor license selection process — try and strike a balance between city history and modern trends. And as part of the voter-supported Reed Avenue Rail Corridor and West Edge area-wide plan, meshing the two things together was a major priority for The Railspur’s identity, Willett said.

Growing up in Cheyenne, Stefanik said that the city was never really considered the “cool place to live” and that its culture was subject to “bashing” from detractors. But if The Railspur lives up to its hype and promise, it could drive a massive stake in helping to change that perception for years to come.

“We aren’t New York City, we aren’t Austin, we’re Cheyenne,” Willett said. “And we’ve got our own badass history that we need to bring to life. … Do we want to be the biggest? No. Do we want to be the best? Absolutely. Do we want to have the best drinks and the best service and the best environment? Absolutely. And that’s what it’s all about.”

The current West Edge Collective building on West Lincolnway in Cheyenne, which will over the course of the year begin the transformation into The Railspur after having been awarded a full retail liquor license from the Cheyenne City Council on Monday. (Briar Napier/Cap City News)