G.E. Johnson wrapping up USOC, moving to new projects

Filed under: Real Estate |
G.E. Johnson Construction is the lead contractor for this 430,000-square-foot, 11-story apartment building in Denver.

G.E. Johnson Construction is the lead contractor for this 430,000-square-foot, 11-story apartment building in Denver.

With the U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters building shell nearing completion, G.E. Johnson Construction is turning its sights to new projects.

The first, a 430,000-square-foot apartment complex near Denver University at 2100 S. University Blvd. is scheduled to break ground next spring.

The project’s developer is the Urban West Group. The 11-story building was designed by Shears Adkins Architects of Denver.

Along with 212 apartment units, the complex also will include retail shops and parking. Located near the corner of East Evans Avenue and South University Boulevard, the developer has received initial U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development financing approval. Preconstruction has begun, and construction is scheduled to begin in April 2010, said Ryan Wilson, G.E. Johnson project manager.

Last week the company kicked off construction on a $15 million 100,000-square-foot indoor football practice facility on the campus of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The 80-foot- tall, 224-foot clear span structure will be the first facility of this size built on the campus in nearly 15 years, said G.E. Johnson Director of Development Justin Cooper. The building will utilize a variety of exterior materials, including multiple day lighting and sun control systems — all part of the company’s goal of LEED Silver certification.

Ken Wiseman, president of Cannon Design, was the project’s architect and had previously teamed with G.E. Johnson at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

The project will be funded through money raised by the Association of Graduates Foundation, Cooper said.

Industrial complex bought

TJ&L LLC, a local partnership comprised of Chuck Murphy, Gary Feffer and Steve Mullins, has purchased a 43,000-square-foot industrial building on 1.54 acres at 415 W. Pikes Peak Ave for $1.23 million.

The building — known locally as the Coca-Cola building until the distributor moved east of Powers Boulevard during 2007 — is 60 percent occupied by Deep Rock Water Co.

The seller, Texas-based Capital Commercial Investments, paid $1.9 million for the property during 2007.

“This was a small deal for them — and they priced the property attractively,” said Peter Scoville of Palmer McAllister/Cushman & Wakefield, who represented Capital Commercial. Gary Feffer of Fountain Colony represented the buyers.

“What’s great about this building is that it’s really a group of three separate buildings that are all attached,” Murphy said. “So, if we can’t find just one tenant for the whole thing, we can break up the space. It’s also visible from I-25, and Pikes Peak Avenue deadends nearby, so there’s plenty of parking near downtown — both selling points.”

The new owners plan to give the building a facelift — fresh exterior paint, new landscaping and spruced up parking.

“A gallon of paint is worth $1,000 when you put it on a wall,” Murphy said, “and it keeps your buildings full.”

COPT on the move

The Pikes Peak region’s largest real estate investor and airport business park master developer, Corporate Office Properties Trust, has moved its offices from downtown’s Alamo Corporate Center to the 150,000-square-foot Epic One office building on the city’s north side.

The Class A office building was completed during first quarter of 2009.

On June 1, Lockheed Martin signed the property’s first lease.

COPT’s decision to move was part of “a broader strategy to move close to its corporate tenants in order to provide customer service/property management,” said Jim Martin, the company’s leasing agent, adding that about 100,000 square feet remains available.

The Columbia, Md.-based real estate investment trust employs 17 people locally, including several on-site building engineers.

Inquiries from prospective tenants, including defense contractors, “have picked up a lot in the last month,” he said. “Some deals that were formerly moving sideways are now getting signed.”

Martin said that while tenant interest is not frenzied, its definitely beginning to “warm.” To illustrate, he said he had been working with an existing tenant to sublease surplus space to a 30,000-square-foot user who wanted to occupy the same building.

“As it turned out, the inquiring tenant waited too long,” he said, “the market began to change and suddenly the company that had discussed giving up its extra space now decided to keep it for expansion.”

His story could signal a more active phase for the North Interstate 25 commercial corridor, which has seen vacancy rates as high as 20 percent or more, according to Sierra Commercial Real Estate researcher Ben Lowe.

In the company’s second quarter MarketView 2009 update he wrote: “The North I-25 Class A office market … experienced positive absorption of 19,075 square feet during the second quarter, compared to negative 159,612 square feet during first quarter. If this trend can continue during the remainder of 2009 and local employment conditions improve, pressure on rising vacancy rates within the Class A market will begin to subside.”

Round House filling

Pro Cycling, a locally owned specialty bike shop, has leased 5,533 square feet in the remodeled Round House building at 600 S. 21st St.

Peter Scoville of Palmer McAllister, Cushman & Wakefield Alliance — who had previously represented Carmichael Training Systems at the same location — represented the bike retailer. Manny San Fernando of Kratt Commercial Real Estate represented the owner, Griffis Blessing.

Together the two cycling companies have leased more than 15,000 square feet in the 25,000-square-foot building and are able to take advantage of business synergies, Scoville said.

San Fernando said most of the building’s remaining space would be well-suited to one or more restaurants that featured a bar or outside patio seating.

MSTI expands

Following a citywide survey of available office properties, MSTI’s owners opted to expand their leased office space to almost 4,500 square feet at 985 Space Center Drive.

Peter Scoville of Palmer McAllister/Cushman & Wakefield represented the tenant, and Corporate Office Properties Trust was represented in-house by Jim Martin.

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

Citadel dental office lease

Bright Now Dental has leased 3,409 square feet of office space at 685 Citadel Drive East at Citadel Terrace.

Peter Scoville of Palmer McAllister, Cushman & Wakefield Alliance and Jim Spittler of NAI/Highland Commercial Group represented the landlord, Red Rock Springs LLC. The building is now 95 percent leased Scoville said.