New AFW rendering

A rendering shows the exterior of an American Furniture Warehouse store in Arizona. The Denver-area retailer, one of the largest furniture stores in Colorado, plans to build a store with a similar exterior southeast of Powers Boulevard and Woodmen Road on Colorado Springs’ fast-growing northeast side.

American Furniture Warehouse, one of Colorado’s largest furniture retailers, has revived a decade-old plan to add a second store on Colorado Springs’ fast-growing northeast side.

The suburban Denver-based chain intends to construct a 355,000-square-foot showroom and warehouse on 25 acres southeast of Powers Boulevard and Woodmen Road, just west of Tutt Boulevard and Templeton Gap Road, according to a proposal it submitted to city government planners.

“Colorado Springs is expanding,” said Nolan Morrison, who heads real estate development for American Furniture Warehouse. “There’s a lot of growth to the east, a lot of new customers. It’s a good market. We think it’s going to continue to get better and better.”

American Furniture Warehouse will continue to operate its 145,000-square-foot showroom and warehouse that opened in 1999 west of Interstate 25 and Fillmore Street on the city’s northwest side, Morrison said.

Plans for the second store have been 10 years in the making.

American Furniture Warehouse purchased the property off Powers Boulevard in May 2011 and said at that time it would build a showroom and warehouse on the site.

Two years later, however, the store hadn’t been built, and the land was put up for sale. The retailer had questions at that time about the economy’s direction and decided to expand to markets in Arizona and Texas, Morrison said.

“A decade ago, the economy wasn’t where it is today,” he said.

American Furniture Warehouse, however, never sold its Powers property and now is the right time to expand to the site, Morrison said.

The Cordera, Wolf Ranch and Banning Lewis Ranch developments, among others, have added thousands of homes on the north and northeast sides and more are planned, including on a nearly 900-acre site along Woodmen Road annexed by the city in January and planned as Banning Lewis Ranch North.

Woodmen Hills and Meridian Ranch in unincorporated Falcon to the east, meanwhile, have continued to add homes, while developers increasingly look to add apartments along the eastern stretch of Woodmen.

More homes, townhomes and apartments mean more homeowners and renters purchasing chairs, sofas, loveseats, tables and bedroom and dining room sets.

At the same time, Powers Boulevard has evolved into one of the Pikes Peak region’s hottest retail corridors. Hundreds of stores, restaurants, groceries, entertainment venues and an increasing number of hotels line Powers, where thousands of motorists drive daily. The St. Francis Medical Center, undergoing an expansion, also stands on the southeast corner of Powers and Woodmen.

In the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic also has changed consumer buying habits, and they’re spending more on their homes, Morrison said.

“People are investing much more into their homes because they’ve had to spend more time at home,” he said.

“The furniture business is good. Due to that, we need to plan for the future. We think customers are going to continue to invest in their homes. We kind of feel like we’re the right fit to help them do that.”

American Furniture Warehouse’s new location will offer advantages to the retailer and its shoppers, Morrison said.

Its longtime location off I-25 and Fillmore Street has a 115,000-square-foot showroom, but only about 30,000 square feet of warehouse space, according to past Gazette stories. As a result, the retailer often must deliver items from its Denver-area stores to reach Colorado Springs customers, Morrison said.

The new location off Powers, however, will have a massive 210,000-square-foot warehouse for furniture and merchandise storage — roughly the size of a Walmart Supercenter — to go with a showroom, office and support areas, the proposal submitted to city planners shows.

Because of the warehouse’s size, customers will be able to pick up and take home their purchases on the same day, instead of waiting two days for delivery from Denver, Morrison said.

“This will offer immediate gratification,” he said.

“It’s a larger showroom, it’s also more warehouse space,” Morrison said. “We feel that we’re going to be growing in that market ”

The site also will offer mountain views and good visibility along Powers, where relatively few large parcels remain, he said.

“There’s not a whole lot of great locations left on that corridor,” Morrison said. “We’re kind of lucky to have the one we have.”

Morrison said he expects the construction cost of the showroom and warehouse “will be $25 million plus.”

In a best-case scenario, the retailer hopes to start construction this fall and open the new location in fall 2022. It will employ about 150 to 200 people to start, Morrison said.

Privately held American Furniture Warehouse was launched in 1975 by its colorful owner, Jake Jabs, who famously did ads over the years with tigers, bulls and other animals.

In addition to Colorado Springs, it has stores in Aurora, Englewood, Firestone, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, Lakewood, Pueblo, Thornton and Westminster, along with two locations each in Arizona and Texas, according to its website.

Contact the writer: rich.laden@gazette.com

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