More shopping, dining and housing are planned for Colorado Springs' far north side - already a major hub for fast-growing residential and commercial projects.
Denver-based Etkin Johnson Real Estate Partners this week paid $4.35 million for nearly 77 acres southeast of Interstate 25 and InterQuest Parkway, where it plans to develop apartments, offices, stores, restaurants and hotels as part of a project called The Gateway at InterQuest.
"We believe in the Colorado Springs market and think there's a lot of opportunity for growth down there," said Ryan Good, an executive vice president and partner with Etkin Johnson.
The InterQuest property is highly visible, near the sprawling Air Force Academy and has great access from I-25 and other major roads, Good said.
Numerous residential and commercial developments in the area also made the site attractive, he said.
InterQuest Marketplace, a 135-acre, 900,000-square-foot retail center, is being developed north of Etkin Johnson's site. It's already home to a 14-screen movie theater complex, restaurants and a 180-room hotel, among other uses; in November, a water park resort is scheduled to open at InterQuest Marketplace.
Meanwhile, the 25-acre InterQuest Commons retail center is planned southwest of InterQuest and Voyager parkways and east of The Gateway at InterQuest; it's expected to include roughly 160,000 square feet of stores, sit-down and fast-food restaurants.
Colorado Crossing, southeast of InterQuest and Voyager, is envisioned as a 153-acre mixed-use project, although it stalled after its developer went into bankruptcy.
Beyond commercial projects, Progressive Insurance, Spectranetics Corp., Bal-Seal and other large employers operate on the north side. Flying Horse, Pine Creek and other subdivisions are a short drive away.
And housing in the area isn't just being driven by local demand; buyers from south Denver and Douglas County are moving to northern Colorado Springs and El Paso County to save tens of thousands on home prices.
"This has freeway access, freeway visibility, freeway everything," Michael Palmer, a broker with Quantum Commercial Group in the Springs, said of Etkin Johnson's site. "It's the epicenter of growth."
Palmer and Jim Capecelatro of the Denver office of Cushman & Wakefield represented Corporate Office Properties Trust, a Maryland real estate investment trust, in its sale of the 77 acres to Etkin Johnson. Palmer also will help market the new development.
Etkin Johnson's project signals that more Denver and out-of-town groups are likely to look to the Springs for acquisitions and development, Palmer added.
The size of The Gateway at InterQuest remains in flux; Etkin Johnson still is designing and planning the project, Good said. The company might sell parcels to users who'd develop their own sites, or construct buildings specifically for tenants, he said. Preliminary talks are underway with potential users at the site, he said.
Etkin Johnson expects initial development to be finished in 12 to 18 months, and hopes to complete the project or sell off its land within five years, Good said.
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