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Earth is being moved north of Monument Marketplace to accommodate additional commercial development.

Monument’s current population of about 7,000 could double by 2030.

Monument’s planning director, Larry Manning, estimates that if the town continues to grow at its current rate, its population will max out within 10 years at about 14,000 people.

To accommodate the demand this growth spurt will bring, the town is seeing a huge increase in proposals for both residential and commercial development that will allow those residents to shop and work close to their homes.

The pace of commercial development proposals has escalated in the past five years, and despite the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, development plans are continuing to land on Manning’s desk.

“We’re getting a lot of developers that may have looked first in north Colorado Springs and then realized that there were better opportunities just slightly north in Monument,” Manning said. “The land to the south, around Northgate — that area is either filling up, already purchased or too expensive.”

In addition, developers who might have looked for property in Castle Rock have turned their eyes southward.

“Castle Rock land, again, is highly priced and getting taken up,” Manning said. “So I think we’re just in between, and maybe the only place people can come in the long term.”

West of Interstate 25, from Baptist Road to the Air Force Academy, lies a huge area that is planned for commercial and industrial development.

Another significant area extends along the west side of I-25 from Baptist Road to the north.

For three or four of the past five years, “we weren’t getting a whole lot of activity in that area west of I-25,” Manning said. “In the last year to year and a half, it’s picked up significantly. Right now, we have the UPS distribution center in the final planning stage. A lot of other properties have gone through either a

sketch plan or a preliminary development plan.” 

On the east side of I-25, the land just north of Monument Marketplace, the town’s commercial center, is slated to become Monument Marketplace North. Mixed-use development eventually could extend even farther north from there.

“So both sides of I-25 are starting to get development pressure where the zoning allows commercial and light industrial,” Manning said.

“The newest trend seems to be [First & Main] Town Center kinds of developments where the developer puts in not only commercial, but some supporting residential and tries to create a little mini downtown area,” he said. “That’s kind of where they’re headed with this development north of the existing Walmart complex.”

Monument’s strategic location, which allows easy access to both Denver and Colorado Springs, and its natural beauty are attracting residential development, with many projects in the planning pipeline.

“We’re a community where people want to be,” said Terri Hayes, president and CEO of Tri-Lakes Chamber of Commerce.

COMMERCIAL PROJECTS

The 11.8-acre Monument Marketplace North is just the first phase of a 46-acre commercial development called the Village at Jackson Creek.

The parcel, nestled between Jackson Creek Parkway and I-25, is being developed by Creekside Developers, which is affiliated with Jackson Creek Land Co. Monument Marketplace North’s seven lots are being offered to retail and office users “that hopefully will serve the needs for new and expanding businesses,” said Rob Oldach, Creekside’s vice president.

The property has been graded and drainage and utility work has been completed, Oldach said. Current construction involves curbs, sidewalks, paving and topsoil installation.

The company has owned the acreage since 1995. About a year and a half ago, when it began the process of getting development approvals, it was approached by Ferrari Films, a company that produces films and multimedia presentations for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Ferrari wanted to move from its current location in an office building into a building of its own.

“We were expected to close last summer,” Oldach said, “but for reasons that were particular to their business, they had to put that project on hold.”

Creekside does expect to close soon with a group that is developing a Freedom Express Car Wash, a single-tunnel car wash with an office area and self-service dog wash, on a 1.2-acre lot in Monument Marketplace North. The project, designed to continue the style of Monument Marketplace, was approved by the Monument Board of Trustees in August. Oldach expects construction to begin soon.

“We have one more of the parcels under contract to a restaurant user that we’re not disclosing at this time,” Oldach said.

He added that, while the pandemic “has given many people pause in terms of starting new businesses and taking certain kinds of business risks, we still have very active interest in the area.”

Oldach said the company has submitted preliminary development plans for the Village at Jackson Creek. 

“What we would like to see is some mixed-use development where you have residential development in harmony with other uses, such as retail and office, and possibly medical and restaurant uses,” he said. 

A brochure promoting the Village features a conceptual site plan showing 252 luxury apartments integrated with retail spaces, office buildings, a hotel, restaurants, grocery stores and library and recreational facilities.

Oldach said the company plans to keep working through the development process in the coming months.

“We believe that Monument has great exposure for employers that want to have great lifestyles, great incomes in the area, and also have great visibility and access from I-25,” he said. “So we’re optimistic that some of the land in that area of Jackson Creek will eventually feature employment centers, which will draw people toward Monument.” 

Other proposed commercial and mixed-use developments in the works include:

• Conexus, a 170-acre mixed-use industrial and commercial business park, plus a multifamily residential project, being developed by Schuck Communities west of I-25, north of Baptist Road and east of Old Denver Road. A sketch plan for Phases 2 and 3 of the project was approved by the Monument Planning Commission on Sept. 8.

• Santa Fe Park, a 65-acre business park just south of Conexus, west of Old Denver Road, east of I-25 and north of Baptist Road, being developed by Phoenix Bell Associates LLP. 

• Falcon Commerce Center, 214 acres west of I-25, south of Baptist Road and north of the Air Force Academy, being developed by a Chicago consortium headed by developer Tom Blunk. A preliminary site plan approved by the Planning Commission on July 22 featured mixed uses including commercial, office, industrial, distribution, institutional, civic and multifamily residential. Apartments or townhomes would occupy the south end of the property, and final plans for a UPS distribution center at 1671 Squadron Drive are expected to go to the Planning Commission on Dec. 9 and to the Monument Board of Trustees on Jan. 4.

• A 10,000-square-foot warehouse and 5,000 square feet of office space on just under 2 acres located in Wolf Business Park. The site is just north of Tri-Lakes Collision and east of Beacon Lite Road. The planning commission approved the final site plan submitted by Redline Pipeline LLC on Aug. 3.

• Monument Ridge, a commercial development proposed on a tract south of Baptist Road and east of Struthers Road. It would house four buildings totaling about 27,000 square feet intended for dental and medical offices, retail and food service businesses. Developer Ellsworth LLC won Planning Commission approval for the site plan on June 15.

RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS

Monument’s current housing inventory is “incredibly low,” Hayes said. “Sales and prices are definitely holding steady and doing well.”

Developments that will add more than 800 single-family homes are currently in various planning stages. Most of those homes reflect Monument’s lofty market for homes. 

According to Realtor.com the median home list price in Monument is $575,000 — considerably higher than Colorado Springs’ median price of $353,300.

“There’s a lot of people who just don’t even look at this community because they think we’re too expensive,” Hayes said. “They don’t realize that there are more affordable options.” She adds, however, that “our version of affordable is different than other people’s version of affordable.”

Hayes cites the “shared properties” — townhomes and duplexes — in the Wagons West community that are being offered by JM Weston Homes, and the Monument Ridge  apartments, a Goodwin-Knight project now under construction at Baptist and Struthers roads.

“Both of those give residents of our community or people wanting to move into our community some very affordable options, versus a single-family home,” she said.

Other significant residential development proposals include:

• Sanctuary Pointe, a 600-unit development by Classic Homes. The final plat for the development’s eighth filing, for 27 single-family lots on 45.5 acres, is scheduled to go before the Planning Commission on Dec. 9 and the Board of Trustees on Jan. 4.

• Willow Springs Ranch, 399 single-family homes on 219 acres, located west of I-25 and north of Baptist Road. The development site plan was approved by the Planning Commission on June 15.

• Jackson Creek North, a Creekside Developers Inc. project with 390 residences on 165 acres near Cloverleaf Road off Higby Road and west of Harness Road. A final site plan is being reviewed by the Planning Department.

• Home Place Ranch, a project by developer HR Green. Phase 1, with 300 residential lots on 130 acres abutting Homestead at Jackson Creek, Promontory Pointe and Sanctuary Pointe, was approved in November by the Board of Trustees.

• Grandwood Ranch, a development with 48 single-family homes on 147 acres located just outside Monument off Higby Road. On Nov. 10, the El Paso County Board of Commissioners approved a preliminary plan and rezoning that includes an extension of Furrow Road to connect to Higby Road.

 

Reporter

Jeanne Davant is a graduate of the University of North Carolina. She worked for daily newspapers in D.C., North Carolina and Colorado, and has taught journalism and creative writing. She joined the Business Journal in 2017.