A Washington-based owner, operator and developer of multi-family projects in the western United States plans to build an apartment complex on Colorado Springs’ east side.

The project would be the latest by local and out-of-state developers, who have ramped up apartment construction in recent years as a result of an improved multi-family market.

The Inland Group of Spokane Valley plans a 10-building, 216-unit apartment complex on nearly 10 acres southeast of Airport Road and Crestline Drive, between Academy and Powers boulevards, according to plans submitted to the city’s Land Use Review Division.

Copper Creek Apartments, as the project will be called, will include one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Among other amenities, the complex will have garages and carports to accommodate nearly 120 vehicles; a clubhouse, fitness center, business center and game room; a heated outdoor pool; and a playground.

The complex’s amenities will be similar to those at pricier apartments elsewhere in town, but its rents will be competitive — ranging from $750 to $1,050 a month, said Scott Scelfo, Inland asset manager.

The company liked the improvement it has seen in the Springs’ multi-family market and believes the area has a stable employment base, he said.

Inland also liked the location — a short drive from Powers Boulevard and near the Colorado Springs Airport, Sand Creek Elementary School and Sage Brush Park. Few, if any, complexes have been built of late on the city’s southeast side, Scelfo said.

“The market is very prime for apartment development right now,” he said.

Construction is targeted to begin in late August and be completed in late October 2014, Scelfo said

Inland previously constructed an apartment complex in the Springs for a third party, but Copper Creek will be the first company-built project that it also will own and manage, Scelfo said.

Copper Creek won’t be Inland’s last Springs project, he said. Inland, which also develops independent living retirement communities, luxury resort communities and college residence halls, is narrowing its search for a Springs site to build an active-adult apartment project for residents 55 and older, Scelfo said.

The company has finished construction on a similar project in Lafayette, east of Boulder, he said. Such projects have many of the same amenities as a senior independent living facility, but don’t have community kitchens or meal programs.

At the same time, after the Copper Creek complex is established, Inland might look for north side sites for another traditional apartment complex, he said.

Inland owns and operates about 3,200 apartments in Colorado, California, Idaho, Washington and Montana. It’s also developed and constructed more than 22,000 units throughout the western U.S. The company also has a commercial arm that builds and develops hotels, retail and office projects.

The apartment market in the Pikes Peak region has improved dramatically over the last three to four years; vacancy rates that had risen to double-digit levels from 2003-2008 began drifting downward four years ago.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, the local vacancy rate was 7.1 percent, after having been as low as 5.8 percent in early 2011.

Monthly rents, meanwhile, have been on the rise as vacancies have fallen, and averaged a record $790.95 in the fourth quarter.

Rising rents and greater demand have spurred interest among developers; at least a half-dozen apartment projects have been announced over the last three years.

Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228 Twitter @richladen
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