Real Estate: Optical Engines expanding

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Optical Engines Inc. will occupy 5,000 square feet at 842 Sierra Madre St.

Optical Engines Inc. will occupy 5,000 square feet at 842 Sierra Madre St.

Optical Engines Inc. has just leased 5,000 square feet of office/research and development space at 842 Sierra Madre St.

Based in Chicago, the company that integrates laser technology with low power consumption controls, chose to move one of its division here based on quality of life, said Lloyd Riphenburg, who, along with Charley Conrad of Olive Real Estate Group, represented the tenant.

Optical Engines President Don Sipes said the company employs six people locally, but expects to add new hires as defense and commercial business grows.

The brokers also represented landlord George Peacore, who said 3,700 square feet of the 14,000-square-foot building remains available.

Tutt Boulevard parcel sold

A Dairy Queen and Orange Julius combo restaurant will open on half an acre at 5440 Tutt Blvd., near Stetson Hills Boulevard and Powers Boulevard.

The property was purchased for $421,583 by Bell Brand Ranches from Pat Bonacelli.

Scott Gray and John Simons of Cornerstone Real Estate Team represented both parties.

Interest in Citadel space

Maybe it’s the list of letters of intent he’s beginning to gather from potential retail tenants interested in a Citadel location, but Cornerstone’s Scott Gray is as upbeat as ever about the center’s likely retailers.

“We’ve got one for 24,000 square feet and three more for 7,000, 5,000 and 4,000 square feet, so far,” he said. “And if the capital markets would ever loosen up, we’ve even had interest from a theater chain that would build its own facility.”

Gray attributes the numerous inquiries to The Citadel’s location.  He’s betting that sales will be up 20 percent or better for the first half of 2009, based mostly on the return of more troops from Iraq and the arrival of new assignees from other posts.

“The Citadel’s management is very proactive — and has been getting some deals done while other retail centers are ‘going backwards.’  I think better than 50 percent of what we have in the pipeline will close,” he said, adding that Rainbow, an existing Citadel tenant and client, just decided to double its size to almost 7,000 square feet. “It’s challenging, but you’ve got to stay optimistic.”

More Dollar Tree stores

They’re some of Wall Street’s best bets for retail success.

According to, dollar stores are doing well, but Dollar Tree — which features brand name items for $1 — is leading a national expansion trend with between 300 and 400 stores expected to open during 2009.

Gray said he’s working on four deals for the discount retailer, one on “mid-Academy” Boulevard, and the others are in Fountain, Woodland Park and Pueblo.

“I think the reason they’re growing so fast is this economy,” he said. “is that unlike their competition, they offer brand names that appeal to people who are scaling back and saving money.”

New leases

Envision Radiology corporate office has almost doubled in size, expanding into about 10,000 square feet of additional space at the former headquarters for John Laing Homes, 8610 Explorer Drive.

Ted Link and Brian Norton of Cascade Commercial Group represented the growing medical practice. The landlord, Brookwood Research Center LLC, was represented by Brian Wagner of Sierra Commercial Real Estate.”

Kruse and Lynch P.C., a law firm, is leaving downtown Colorado Springs for 665 Southpointe Court in southwest Colorado Springs.

The legal practices had leased space in the First Bank building — formerly the Holly Sugar building — since 1967.

In moving, the firm will expand to 2,059 square feet.

Cascade Commercial Group negotiated the transaction for the tenant and the landlord was represented by Lonnie Wagner of Sierra Commercial Real Estate.

Aunt Ruth’s Attic has leased 1,200 square feet at 4103 Centennial Blvd. in the Centennial West center.

Jim Chacon of Grubb & Ellis Quantum Commercial Group represented the tenant and the landlord, the Sabin Family Trust, represented itself.

New retailer on South Tejon

D n D Ranch Aromas LLC has leased 1,219 square feet at 1105 S. Tejon St. for a candle shop – just south of the new Van Briggle Pottery production centre and store.

The tenant was represented by Frank Shoptaugh of Weichert Realtors Pikes Peak and the landlord, 1105 St. S. LLC, was represented by Julie Phillips of Fountain Colony Real Estate.

Movin’ on

Bach Real Estate Partners brokers Steve Bach and Mike Helwege have moved their offices to 1880 Office Club Pointe.

While the locally owned commercial real estate firm is not the first to choose a north side location, many regional and national brokerage companies — Cushman Wakefield, Grubb & Ellis, Frederick Ross/Palmer McAllister and others — tend to lease space in the central business district buildings.

But Bach sees the change as valuable for his more “boutique” brokerage.

“Part of our thinking was that on the north side, we’re 15 to 20 minutes closer to Denver and the airport.  We’re spending an average of two days a week in the Denver-Boulder-Longmont area — even in Fort Collins, talking to companies that don’t already have a presence in southern Colorado. And it’s proving to be a good move. We’ve already had a couple of companies express interest,” Bach said, adding that the views of the fifth hole on the Pine Creek Golf Course also are motivational.

Becky Hurley covers real estate for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.