Rooftops are following retail — instead of the other way around — at the Polaris Pointe shopping center in Colorado Springs.
A 301-unit apartment complex proposed by Blackburn Communities of Oxford, Miss., would join stores, restaurants and entertainment venues at Polaris Pointe, southeast of Interstate 25 and North Gate Boulevard on the Springs’ north side, according to documents submitted to city government planners.
The apartment complex, to be called Polaris Junction, would be built on the southwest portion of Polaris Pointe, a 200-acre retail center that’s become one of the north side’s higher-profile shopping areas since its development began almost a decade ago.
Blackburn representatives couldn’t be reached for comment; Blackburn Communities is part of a family-owned holding company, whose portfolio of businesses focuses on residential and commercial land development, according to the Blackburn website. Blackburn primarily does business in Southern states.
According to Blackburn’s submittal to city planners, Polaris Junction would have three, four-story buildings, whose amenities would include a clubhouse, pool, dog park, detached garages and carports. The company expects to break ground in June and the project will take 21 months to compete.
Blackburn said it became aware of Polaris Pointe via a friend who had developed a retail building at the shopping center.
‘As Colorado Springs has experienced tremendous growth and absorbed apartment units at an attractive rate, we realized that this area is in need of a new apartment community,” Blackburn said in its submittal. The Springs’ apartment market has a vacancy rate in the low to mid single digits, while rents have reached record highs in recent years.
Blackburn also said it was attracted to the area by an extension of Powers Boulevard, the north-south highway that will run through the center of Polaris Pointe. With the extension, the company said, “Polaris Junction will be well-positioned to allow residents to enjoy all these amenities while having easy access to employment.”
The company added that it expects to develop more projects in the Springs.
“We are also not the type of company that just develops one community in a market and then leaves,” Blackburn said. “Once we start in a market, we like to continue to develop there.”
Polaris Pointe, originally known as Copper Ridge at Northgate, is one of several north side retail centers, including projects in InterQuest a few miles south.
Typically, neighborhoods and subdivisions are developed with houses, townhomes and apartments, and followed by stores, restaurants and other retailers.
In Polaris Pointe’s case, the retail center became home to Bass Pro Shops, the Magnum Shooting Center, Overdrive Raceway and the Boot Barn Hall at Bourbon Brothers concert venue. Restaurants include C.B. & Potts, the Brass Tap craft beer bar, Bourbon Brothers Smokehouse & Tavern, Kneaders Bakery & Cafe, Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A.
But apartments always have been part of the shopping area’s development plan, said Polaris Pointe developer Gary Erickson. Other north side developments, such as InterQuest Marketplace to the south, also saw several commercial projects take shape before apartments arrived.
The Polaris Junction apartments will be ringed by 80 acres of open space, making it an attractive multifamily property, Erickson said.
“It’s going to make a really spectacular apartment site with the setting it has,” he said.