This summer, several health care providers formerly located near Penrose Community Hospital moved north to the Northcare office building adjacent to the St. Francis Medical Center.
Only an urgent care facility at the former hospital remains to serve nearby residents, and only on a limited basis.
As a result of the move, many North Academy Boulevard neighborhood residents lost easy access to day-to-day medical care.
The exodus also resulted in an over-supply of empty office space.
While Academy Women’s Health Care Associates’ former 12,500-square-foot location at 3204 N. Academy Blvd. in the Colorado First Building would be ideal for a growing practice looking for a built-in clientele, Dr. Kevin Weary said his OB/GYN group would consider a charitable alternative.
“We believe that could provide an excellent location for the right nonprofit user with a medical focus,” Weary said.
The vacated third floor includes a sizeable waiting area with eight offices, 17 exam rooms, 14 bathrooms and protected basement parking.
Some area nonprofits such as Pikes Peak Behavioral Health and Peak Vista have considered satellite locations and occasionally co-locate. One of their targets is fast-growing north and east Colorado Springs.
David Pump, director of operations for Peak Vista, said his 430-employee organization would be willing to “look at every opportunity,” including the Colorado First building space.
“We currently operate out of 12 different centers at nine locations and many have a Pikes Peak Behavioral Health component,” he said, noting that it has been four or five years since a medical provider had offered office space at such a reduced rate. “If an opportunity that meets our five-year strategic plan requirements and mission, we will definitely investigate it — and yes, that includes the North Academy space.”
Lester Colodny of Hoff & Leigh Real Estate is representing Academy Women’s Health Care.
The Re/Max All-Stars office at 1975 Briargate Parkway has closed.
As a result, three of the company’s 14 brokers have moved to Re/Max Properties and 12 have relocated to Re/Max Advantage’s office at 5590 N. Academy Blvd.
“With the market the way it is, it’s really not a surprise,” said Re/Max Properties president Joe Clement. “We’re holding our own with 272 (brokers) total, but not our revenue at this point. It’s tough right now. July and August were slow, but we’re starting to see activity pick-up.”
Bruce Betts, Re/Max Advantage managing broker and owner, viewed the closure of the office as a sign of the times. He said that an additional six brokers from Home Realty and one former Platinum Group agent had joined his firm.
“We were fortunate to have a lot of help from the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors and the MLS (Realty Service Corp.) in helping with the change in affiliation and in moving all listings over,” he said, adding that closings already in the works also had to be documented.
Betts admitted that today’s economic conditions pose extraordinary challenges, noting that 95 percent of sales this year have been under $500,000 — consistent with prior years.
“What’s more apparent is that the high-end market has slowed more dramatically than the market as a whole,” he said. “To date, sales under $500,000 are down 18.5 percent from last year, but sales over half a million dollars are down 34.5 percent compared to a year ago.”
Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors, said this week that most contractors are unlikely to be directly affected by Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy or the Treasury’s conservatorship of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
He supports his view, however, with an either/or proposition.
“If home mortgages become cheaper and more widely available, home sales should pick up, generating demand for consumer-related construction, such as stores selling home and yard products and retail near new housing developments,” he said.
Based on early reports from local brokers, he might be right.
As the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate dropped into the mid-5-percent range from 6.5 percent a week earlier, most companies saw an immediate uptick in activity.
“The latest decline in interest rates has already generated calls from people interested in looking at a home,” said Joe Clement, president of Re/Max Properties Inc.
“All of a sudden my phone is ringing off the hook,” said Gloriod & Associates broker Bev Hays.
According to Simonson, both measures taken by the government also could restore investor confidence that markets have reached their low points and that the limits of Treasury/Federal Reserve intervention have been defined.
On the flip side, however, he conceded that lenders made nervous by Wall Street’s volatility may “continue to withhold funds from developers.”
In last week’s story about sustainable buildings, Glenwood Springs High School was designed by Mark Harris and David Porwall while they worked for RTA Architects in Colorado Springs.
Becky Hurley covers real estate for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.