As Seen In The Gazette – March 1, 2017

As Colorado Springs’ apartment market remains red-hot, a Denver company that plans to build 288 northside units says it might nearly triple that number, depending on how well its initial project does.

Gateway at Interquest Apartments Colorado SpringsEtkin Johnson Real Estate Partners aims to start construction in the third quarter on an apartment complex that will be part of The Gateway at InterQuest, a nearly 77-acre development southeast of Interstate 25 and InterQuest Parkway. The company bought the land a year ago, with plans to develop it into a mixed-use project.

A concept plan recently submitted to the city’s Land Use Review Division by Etkin Johnson representatives shows an initial project would include 16, three-story buildings, each with 18 units or a total of 288 apartments. The project would be built on the southeast portion of the property.

The concept plan also suggests the company might develop a total of 864 units as part of The Gateway at InterQuest. However, Derek Conn, an Etkin Johnson executive vice president and partner, said Tuesday that future phases with additional apartments would depend on demand.

“We need to see how the market absorbs the initial phase, as well as the other construction that’s going on in the submarket, before we decide to pull the trigger on phase two and three,” Conn said.

The 288-unit complex is planned as a Class A project, which means a higher-end development with a clubhouse, fitness center, pool and other amenities. He couldn’t say what rents will go far, although they’ll be comparable to similar projects, Conn said. Apartments built after 2010 averaged nearly $1,320 a month in the third quarter of 2016, according to a Colorado Division of Housing report.

Overall, a strong demand for apartments has driven Springs-area rents to record highs for six consecutive quarters, while the local vacancy rate in the third quarter was at a nearly 16-year low, the Housing Division report shows. And even as hundreds of new apartments are being built or on the drawing board, they’re not keeping pace with renter demand, multi-family experts have said.

Etkin Johnson remains optimistic about growth in the InterQuest area, where at least three other mixed-use projects are in various stages of development, Conn said. Those projects – InterQuest Marketplace, InterQuest Commons and Victory Ridge – will include stores, restaurants, hotels and entertainment uses.

“We are very bullish on northern Colorado Springs and feel like there’s still some room to run and some growth in the marketplace,” Conn said.