Developers to build 356 downtown apartments

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The trend for urban living has encouraged Colorado Springs real estate developer Nor’wood Development Services and apartment owner and commercial property manager Griffis/Blessing to build 356 new apartments in two projects downtown.

Ground-breaking is set for next year, said Jeff Finn, Nor’wood project design manager and Gary Winegar, Griffis Blessing president of investment services.

On the southwest corner of Colorado and Wahsatch avenues, the two companies plan a 169-apartment building. The second project will be located in the 600 block of south Cascade Avenue and will offer 187 new apartments.

Rents will range from $1,000-$1,800, Finn said.

“When you look at other thriving downtowns, you see the energy and vibrancy that downtown living brings. For so long, our downtown has been a great center of commerce, center of government, center of local, regional shops, but it really hasn’t been a neighborhood,” Finn said. “The missing component is urban living.”

The hope is that a diverse mix of people will choose to live downtown with more options, the company owners said.

“A lot of people who are younger and older like the idea of being close to downtown,” Winegar said. “You see that all over the country.

“We think Colorado Springs is ready for this. We just feel like it’s the right time.”

“I agree with Gary. We are ready,” Finn said.

Both apartment buildings will be developed and owned by Nor’wood and Griffis Blessing. Griffis Blessing will manage both buildings. Neither building has a commercial component.

These plans have been years in the planning, Finn said.

Nor’wood is in partnership with several organizations to build the apartments.

“In particular, Griffis Blessing and Nor’wood have been working on the soft infrastructure for the downtown renaissance with Downtown Partnership, the Downtown Development Authority, Imagine Downtown and with the master plan efforts. With common interests and common goals, it makes sense to partner,” he said.

“It’s a little bit pioneering … other people are seeing the same thing,” about the trend in downtown living, Winegar said. He cited Blue Dot Place, the new 33-unit apartment building on south Nevada Avenue.

Regarding the 356 new apartments, “No one’s doing anything of that size. For Colorado Springs near downtown we haven’t had any properties built or planned that have that number of units,” Winegar said. “We’ve taken our time and done the studies.

“The apartment market here is strong. Interest rates are still low, and the two parties involved believe in downtown.”

The smallest apartment will be studios, between 500-600 square feet in size. The one-bedroom, one-bath will be sized between 600-700 square feet. The two-bedroom, two-bath units will have more than 1,100 square feet of room.

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