Breathing new life into spec building

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<B>By LAUREY LUMMUS </B><FONT SIZE=-1><I>Staff Reporter</I></FONT>

Construction began this week on a newspeculative building, covering more than 31,000 square feet. The new sitewill be located at 880 Elkton Drive, in the Garden Tech Industrial Center.

Construction costs for the building are estimated at $1.3 million. The builderfor the project is Springs- based Art Klein.

Jim Justus of Olive Real Estate Group is the leasing agent for the property,which has an expected completion date of Jan. 1.

Justus said although spec building in most areas are a risk, Colorado Springsis desperately in need of more office space, preferably space that can beoffered to companies in large chunks.

"The feeling in Colorado Springs is that available commercial real estateproperty is the tightest it has been in years," said Justus. "We are nowexperiencing the highest lease rates of all time, combined with the lowestvacancy rates the city has ever experienced. A project such as this makesgood sense."

Two Class A buildings are directly adjacent to the upcoming building, practicallyidentical in shape and size, both measuring 30,000 square feet. The new buildingis slightly larger at 31,600 feet. The neighboring buildings are 100% leased,and have been since their completion in 1985. Tenants include Howland MachineCo., which occupies the building at 870 Elkton Drive. Tenants in the locationat 890 Elkton Drive are Norandex and Graebel Van Lines, the fifth largestmoving company in the country.

The owner of all three sites, JBR Enterprises, recently decided to utilizethe existing parcel to build a spec building.

Justus feels the leasing activity on the new project will be over quickly,because of the area’s appeal.

"The location is ideal, being so close to the freeway and being perceivedas the high-tech district," said Justus. "Many of the companies interestedin leasing space such as this are support companies to the high-tech businesses."

Rockwell, Micro Metals, and Western Forge are some of the manufacturers thatare constructing facilities in the vicinity.

Justus said several companies, including some ranked on the Fortune 300 list,have expressed interest in leasing space in the building.

The Elkton Drive building joins the recently completed first phase of theCorporate Centre Business Park as some of the city’s first speculative buildingsince the mid-1980s.