If Colorado Springs is the land of honey, then developers are sticking to it.

Circle Square Properties LLC of Brighton, Colo., bought 18.6 acres of land on the southeast corner of Circle Drive and Janitell Road for $2,834,994 from Recreational Investments and Management Inc. in Branson, Mo. The property is part of Harrison Business Park. Warren Anderson, cooperating broker for Circle Square, said the development is similar to the Cheyenne Mountain Center strip mall across the street. Anderson said they are negotiating with national franchises for contracts but would not disclose company names. Circle Square is still looking for a large company to occupy nine acres on the eastern edge of the property, said Anderson. The developer is moving dirt for the project and expects the strip center to be completed by mid summer.

A company already digging in the dirt is Christofferson Commercial Builders, which is working on four retail projects, three of which are almost complete. The projects include Starbucks, 4465 Centennial Blvd; Chipotle Mexican Grill, 2130 South Gate Rd., in the Broadmoor Town Center; TGIFriday’s, 7061 Commerce Center Drive; and a combined Wal-Mart/McDonald’s at 3201 E. Platte Ave.

Curtis Christofferson, president and owner of the company said business isn’t slowing down, but becoming more stable as time goes on. A year ago the company turned away business because it wasn’t big enough to handle all the projects coming in, but now business is coming in at the right amount and the right pace and Christofferson expects it to stay that way.

The Markets at Mesa Ridge LLC, the owner of the four corners at the intersection of Mesa Ridge Parkway and Fountain Mesa Road in Fountain, are constructing and developing a Safeway supermarket. The store is part of a 93-acre retail development in the area that is attracting national and local retailers. P.J. Anderson, with SAS Consulting LLC of Colorado Springs, is managing and developing the project and said the area will see a lot of activity in the next year.

“Historically there’s a recession every seven years in this town,” said Anderson. “But I think it’s a good time for developers, especially these past nine years. There’s been signs pointing to growth and I don’t think the economy will slow down (enough to affect us).”

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The Safeway store, located on the southeast corner, will open late this year and has seven pad sites and 50,000 square feet of in-line retail space. There are 53,000 residents who live in a five-mile radius of the Markets at Mesa Ridge and developers expect even more people to travel through the area – and shop there —when Mesa Ridge Parkway is connected to Powers Boulevard this spring.

At least one Colorado Springs developer is looking elsewhere for the pot o’ gold, though. The Schuck Corp. and JRC Financial Inc. presented their designs in February for a mixed-use project for 286 acres of land in Portland, Ore.

“Historically we’ve focused our activity within Colorado,” said Bill Schuck, president and CEO of The Schuck Corp. “However we did venture out 15 years ago in Tempe, Ariz., for a 400-acre development project and I’d say over the last four years we’ve made a conscious decision to move into other markets.”

Schuck said that until now, the company hasn’t had much success in other markets. “Now, that outreach is paying off. Now we’re focusing on emerging markets, with the Pacific Northwest being one of them, primarily Oregon and Washington state.”

The Schuck Corp. is also tossing around the idea of turning the soil in the metropolitan Tulsa, Okla. area.

Real estate comings and goings

Extra Ordinary Endeavors bought 18,850 square feet at 775 N. Murray Blvd. for $950,000 from The Money Store/First Union Small Business Capital.

Jerry Knauf, listing agent for Grubb & Ellis/Quantum Commercial Group, said the building became available for sale because it had a history of defaulted loans and mechanics liens. That, coupled with the bankruptcy of the borrower, resulted in The Money Store/First Union Small Business Capital Corp. foreclosing on the property.

National Health Care Associates, based in Tennessee, is planning to build an assisted living health care facility on its three acres at 848 Arcturus Drive. Arcturus Associates sold the property in December 2000 for about $156,000 per acre. The facility is the company’s first development in Colorado Springs and is expected to have 80 units. Construction on the project is to begin within the next couple of months.

Not all the movement is in the construction industry, however. Landscapers are also doing well.

William Guman and Associates Ltd., landscape architects and planners, is preparing a parks master plan for several sites for the city of Cripple Creek. J. Matthew Spidell, vice president with the landscaping company, said preliminary costs should be completed soon, but there are no final estimates concerning the cost of the park projects as of yet. Connie Dodrill, Cripple Creek’s director of Parks and Recreation, said the city will seek funds through a Great Outdoors Colorado grant; meanwhile projects are phased for several years of construction when funds are available. Some of the park projects include a skate park, restroom facilities, two new T-ball fields and spectator seating for the baseball field.