This is the time – right now – when the future is coming into focus but before the transformation has started. Skeptics will sit on the sidelines until there’s more certainty. And maybe they’ll be right. But maybe I’m right. 🙂
Here’s why I think it’s time to buy either commercial or residential –
Public Market announcement
Nor’Wood Development, the long-established and very healthy developer who brought us such hits as Briargate, First & Main, Interquest Markets and Plaza of the Rockies, has made a few big announcements lately.
The developer is opening a space in the former Gazette building, at the corner of Pikes Peak and Prospect, to the Downtown Public Market. It will be a year-round market and event space featuring locally grown and manufactured foods along with dining options.
Public markets are usually destination attractions that draw crowds of locals and visitors alike. That’s the vision for this one as well.
Opening the Public Market east of downtown means the area isn’t going to be a food desert anymore. People living in Shook’s Run and around Memorial Park will be able to walk to the market for groceries.
What could be better than that?
Maybe living in some swanky apartments in the historic hospital at the edge of a massive park complete with a lake that allows for water skiing and sunbathing on a sandy beach at the base of Pikes Peak. That walkability is incredibly desirable to many – especially the rising millennial generation.
Nor’Wood bought the old St. Francis Hospital site next door to the old Gazette building for $50,000 in the spring. Most people in the know theorize the tight-lipped developer will transform the buildings into apartments and connect the iconic Memorial Park, with its velodrome, balloon classic and skate park, to downtown Colorado Springs.
Vibrancy and jobs
That connection just got even more obvious last month when The O’Neil Group announced it bought the old train station at the corner of Pikes Peak and Colorado for $4.5 million.
Kevin O’Neil, who owns Braxton Technologies, and has been buying aerospace companies around the country with plans to move them here for the last few years, is at the helm of the project.
He plans to turn the 6.5-acre property into an “innovation district” called the Catalyst Campus. It will collocate many of O’Neil’s current and impending aerospace transplants along with local entrepreneurs and startups.
To foster a creative and productive co-working environment, O’Neil hired proven entrepreneur and leader Hannah Parsons.
Other projects in the works
With fewer than 50 new residential units built downtown in the last 50 years or so, recent announcements about apartments and rumblings of more to come, mean there’s really something new and exciting happening downtown.
Sure, City for Champions is exciting, but it seems sort of canned. That southwest part of downtown has been stuck for a longtime with developers sitting on their land in hopes the market conditions will swing in their favor. They’re not building and they’re not giving up their land so someone else can do it. It will probably be the last part of downtown to turn. And when it does, it’s going to be super high rent.
Meanwhile, Darsey Nicklasson, a determined, knowledgeable and die-hard woman in her 30s has teamed up with millionaire philanthropist Kathy Loo to build the 33-unit Blue Dot Place apartments on Nevada between Cimarron and Costilla. It will be the first new residential units downtown in years and the biggest project of its kind in decades.
Across the street, Jenny Elliott and her father, well-known developer Bob Elliott, are working on another apartment project. They’re also developing a luxury fiveplex nearby at 210 Pueblo.
New breweries and bookstores are popping up in the area. Neighborhood business owners and employees have been meeting and decided to call the area the New South End.
So, time to buy
I was living in Denver in 2010. I wanted to buy a condo so badly. I went out looking at the bottom of the housing market. I was paying $575 a month for an amazing 1920s studio with almost 600 square feet of beautiful sunny space and hardwood floors in Capital Hill.
I found a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment at the edge of Cheeseman Park for $150,000. I knew it was a good deal and I knew it was on its way up. But I was a poor freelance writer and I couldn’t make it happen.
The cheapest thing I could find within a 15-minute walk of Cheeseman Park when I looked online just now is $225,000 and it’s on busy 6th Ave. My same apartment is renting for $775 a month.
That’s just to say, big localized market growth like that can happen.
I think it’s a good time to buy property downtown and around Memorial Park. Give me a call if you want my help doing it. I’m pretty excited about the area and know a thing or two about it.