Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Two new off-campus housing projects target UCCS students in Colorado Springs

By Rich Laden Published: October 10, 2013

Surging enrollment at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs has attracted the attention of a couple of real estate developers, who plan two multi-family projects to provide off-campus housing for non first-year students.

The projects are being embraced by the university, where a record 10,598 students were enrolled for the fall semester - a more than 8 percent jump from a year earlier.

First-year students are required to live in campus dorms, said Susan Szpyrka, UCCS' vice chancellor for administration and finance.

But the university has only 303 on-campus beds designated for upper-level students, Szpyrka said, and they've had trouble finding off-campus housing. In the weeks leading up to the start of the fall semester in August, close to 300 upper-level students were looking for housing, though all had found a place by the time classes began, she said.

That's where new projects come in.

Alabama-based Capstone Collegiate Communities has started construction of a 156-unit apartment project on 8 acres along North Nevada Avenue, east of Interstate 25 and west of UCCS. The Lodges of Colorado Springs, as the complex will be called, is targeted for completion before the start of UCCS' fall semester in 2014.

Capstone paid $4.35 million in August for its property, according to El Paso County land records. The land is part of a city-designated urban renewal site on North Nevada Avenue that includes the University Village Colorado shopping center.

"We recognize that the growth of that university has been impressive, and we recognize the need and the demand for student housing is very strong in that community," said John Acken, a Capstone executive vice president.

Capstone has developed similar apartment communities near universities around the country; it's completed 13 projects in just the last five years and has four more under construction, according to its website.

Meanwhile, Pueblo-based Premier Homes this week proposed construction of Creekside at Rockrimmon, a 141-unit, townhome-like project on 24 acres northwest of Rockrimmon Boulevard and Delmonico Drive.

Premier has done similar projects in Pueblo and Grand Junction. Its 40-unit, first phase also is targeted to open by the start of UCCS' fall semester next year, said John Maynard of N.E.S. Inc., a Springs planning firm that represents Premier. Additional phases would be added as demand dictates, he said; the company hasn't yet purchased its site.

"There's not enough housing for university students," Maynard said. "So there's an off-site demand."

Both projects have been designed with state-of-the art amenities for the needs and lifestyle of college students.

At The Lodges, 18 apartments will have one or two bedrooms, but 138 will have four to five bedrooms to cater to groups of students. The units have common living areas and kitchens, but each bedroom will have its own bathroom and walk-in closet.

"It's the privacy aspect," Acken said. "It's what students in the marketplace today expect."

Amenities include a clubhouse, fitness center, game room with a pool table, study room, tanning bed and heated outdoor pool, Acken said. Rental rates, which are not yet available, include cable TV, Internet access and a private shuttle to UCCS.

Unlike typical apartments, renters will pay for their bedroom, not for the unit. If several students decide to live together but one bails, the others aren't stuck covering the loss, Acken said. For renters who aren't part of a group, Capstone offers a program to match roommates with similar interests.

Students will have the option to pay extra to for a furnished unit, he said.

Creekside at Rockrimmon will have a similar set-up, according to a proposal submitted to city planners. Each unit will have one to four bedrooms and common-area kitchens and living area. Rental rates, which Maynard didn't have available, also will be paid by the bedroom; Creekside units come furnished.

The Lodges will accept non-students. However, Premier's submittal to city planners said Creekside at Rockrimmon will be restricted to students.

Premier Homes will hold a public meeting with nearby residents to outline details of its project. That meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 29 at Eagleview Middle School, 1325 Vindicator Dr.

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Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228 Twitter @richladen

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