Ent Credit Union announced Tuesday that it plans to start building a 300,000-square-foot headquarters this summer near InterQuest Parkway and Interstate 25, a testament to Ent’s rapid growth along the Front Range.
The Colorado Springs-based credit union, the biggest financial institution in southern Colorado, wants to move into the new headquarters in 2021, said Victoria Selfridge, Ent’s vice president of new markets and strategy. It will have more than double the 125,000 square feet that Ent now occupies in three buildings northeast of I-25 and Woodmen Road.
Ent has been looking for a new headquarters location for 1½ years, considering about 20 sites in the Springs area before selecting 25 acres just north of the Great Wolf Lodge at the north end of Federal Drive.
The new offices will support its operations “for the foreseeable future,” Selfridge said. The credit union plans to build an adjacent parking garage to accommodate its workforce of about 500, which is expected to more than double over the next seven to 10 years, she said.
“We’ve been pleased with Ent’s strong membership growth over the past several years,” said Matt Gendron, Ent’s chief engagement officer. “To continue providing exceptional service to our members, we have been increasing the credit union’s back-office and support staff. Unfortunately, we are running out of space for new team members in our current headquarters.”
Ent “has become a financial powerhouse,” said Dirk Draper, CEO of the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC. “Their plans to expand along the Front Range are a great thing for a local employer. This investment is essential to support their statewide growth, and these high-quality jobs contribute to our region’s economic vitality. The Chamber & EDC recognizes the extensive work that goes into a location decision like this and have been happy to assist in this process.”
Ent is moving into one of the city’s hottest business corridors. California-based In-N-Out Burger plans to build a distribution center, patty production facility, offices and its first Colorado restaurant in that area, which already is home to several data centers and high-technology manufacturing plants, the InterQuest Marketplace shopping complex, the Great Wolf Lodge and other hotels and restaurants.
The headquarters will house Ent’s call center, consumer and mortgage lending, information technology, finance and accounting, human resources, member services, administration and the executive team. Ent already is talking with potential buyers of its two buildings near I-25 and Woodmen, Selfridge said. (It leases part of a third building.)
Ent moved to its current headquarters in 2001 from an office building near Peterson Air Force Base. The credit union has nearly tripled its membership since then, to nearly 339,000, and boosted assets and deposits more than fourfold to $5.6 billion and $4.6 billion, respectively. Over the past five years alone, Ent has doubled its loan portfolio to $4.56 billion and increased its members, deposits and assets by nearly 50 percent.
The credit union also has extended its reach since 2016 to include 10 Front Range counties, stretching from Pueblo and Cañon City to Fort Collins, and it plans to open nine more branches this year, hiring 200 employees to operate and support them.
Ent CEO Chad Graves said last year he expects the credit union will grow from $5.6 billion in assets at 31 branches today to $10 billion in assets at branches in all 14 counties in its service area.
Ent has agreed to buy its headquarters site in The Campus at Foothills Farm, part of the 450-acre mixed-use development called The Farm, from La Plata Communities, developers of the Briargate area. The credit union hired Shea Properties, developer of Highlands Ranch, the Denver Technological Center and Meridian International Business Center, as development manager. Denver-based Davis Partnership will serve as the architect, Denver-based Acquilano as interior design architect and Springs-based GE Johnson Construction Co. as general contractor.