Greccio adds to multifamily portfolio with foreclosure purchases

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Bentley Commons, which was built during 2005 as a condominium project, has 24 units, with land for an additional 60 apartments.

Bentley Commons, which was built during 2005 as a condominium project, has 24 units, with land for an additional 60 apartments.

Two bank-owned foreclosure properties have been purchased by a partnership group that includes Greccio Housing, Partners in Housing and Rocky Mountain Community Land Trust.

The purchases were made possible by federal Housing and Urban Development Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants.

The partnership purchased Bentley Commons for $1.7 million from Bank of the West.

The property, at 2715 Bentley Point, was built during 2005 as a condominium community, but was never occupied. It includes 24 units and has space for 60 additional apartments.

The partnership also purchased the Citadel Arms apartment complex for $534,500 from Washington Mutual/Chase.

“We couldn’t have done it in either case without help from Chad Wright with the City of Colorado Springs,” said Rich Stryker, executive director of Greccio Housing. “In both cases, the city had to establish that the surrounding neighborhoods were at risk for blight, and the grant had to come through the Colorado Department of Housing to the city — all a very complicated process.”

“Especially at Bentley Commons, we were starting to see increasing vandalism, and the situation wasn’t likely to get better,” Wright said, adding that NSP grants were recently established to help mitigate the negative impact of foreclosures in vulnerable areas of the city. “We were also looking for a way, at the same time, to provide more affordable housing.”

With the acquisitions, Greccio Housing owns 15 buildings that include 337 apartment units in Colorado Springs. Greccio Housing board member and London Group Real Estate broker Jerry Knauf represented the buyer in the Citadel Arms transaction.

Ken Greene and Kevin McKenna of Apartment Realty Advisors represented the seller.

More local retail leases

Second tier retail corridors and neighborhood shopping centers might not be as “sexy” as their power center cousins, but they contribute much to the fabric of a retail community.

“Neighborhood and grocery-anchored centers are important,” said Greg Kaufman of Southwestern Commercial Properties. “They are often located away from busy commercial districts — like a Safeway Village center or Cottonwood Square, but they offer convenient services to their surrounding neighborhoods and usually do very well.”

Kaufman has completed several transactions along North Academy Boulevard and at the Safeway Village at Rockrimmon.

Like many retail brokers prior to 2007, Kaufman spent most of his time on the phone pitching national big box and “credit” tenants. Today, he said that more of his contacts are face-to-face sit-downs with local or regional retailers.

“Two years ago, before the economy slowed down, it was different,” he said. “But now I find I’m actually advising some start-up prospects, for example, to run the numbers — to evaluate their likelihood of success before signing a lease.”

In working with a restaurant owner, for example, he asked his client to create a simple business plan that included basic start-up costs as well as projections about labor and food costs. With input from family members with restaurant experience, the business model made sense.

But sometimes the revenue just isn’t there — and no lease is ever signed. While Kaufman said he hates to lose the opportunity to match a tenant with a location, in the long run, such consulting pays off.

“I’ve got a lot of good relationships with landlords, and I don’t want to lose those,” he said. “Besides, it’s in everyone’s best interest to make sure those moving forward are asking — and answering — the right questions and keeps business owners from getting in over their heads.”

Kaufman said he sees challenges with the upcoming Woodmen Road/North Academy Boulevard intersection project, but also opportunity for existing Woodmen Shopping center tenants as construction kicks off.

“It’s still a solid trade area. A few retailers may relocate, but I wouldn’t advise moving out,” he said. “I think the business owners will have to have a game plan to deal with the temporary disruption, but in the end, that section of North Academy will remain viable. It’s been a strong grocery-anchored center that serves a lot of surrounding households.”

New leases reported

Continental Cleaners owner Lyn Karnes has leased about 1,100 square feet in the former Old Heidelberg Pastry Shop at 1109 S. Tejon St.

The new location will replace Karne’s operation at 1638 S. Nevada Ave.

The move will allow consolidation of cleaning operations at his north Colorado Springs location, said Fountain Colony broker and transaction facilitator Julie Phillips.

Curves has moved from near Briargate and Union boulevards to a 1,700-square-foot store in the Cottonwood Square shopping center at 2825 Dublin Blvd.

The tenant and the landlord, Cottonwood Square Associates LLC, were represented by Greg Kaufman of Southwestern Commercial Properties.

The Kraft Pizza Co. has leased 7,542 square feet at 4305 N. 30th St. in the Mountain Shadows Business Park.

Rich Kelly of Grubb & Ellis Quantum Commercial Group represented the tenant and Jim Justus of Olive Real Estate Group represented the landlord, Mountain Shadows Business Park LLC.

Mexican restaurant owner Loretta Andazola has leased 2,500 square feet at 1512 N. Academy Blvd.

Barry Martin of America 2000 represented the landlord, Lewin Properties, and Greg Kaufman of Southwestern Commercial Properties represented the tenant.

Kaufman also represented the tenant, tattoo artist John Harding, and landlord Palmer Park/Village Inn Partnership LLC in the lease of 1,040 square feet at 1501 N. Academy Blvd.

Renewals signed

As retail landlords work harder to ensure their tenants remain in place, at least two companies have re-upped for another term.

Subway Restaurants, a ubiquitous retailer along high-traffic corridors, has renewed its 1,643-square-foot lease at 5613 N. Academy Blvd. in the Erindale Center.

Patrick Kerscher of Southwestern Commercial Properties represented the landlord, North Academy Home Center LLC, and Marty Johnson of C.B. Richard Ellis represented the tenant.

Pinon Valley Liquor renewed its 2,100-square-foot lease in the Safeway Village at Rockrimmon center.

“The grocery-anchored neighborhood is more than a mile away from the Woodmen Road commercial corridor, making it a great location for a store that serves a fairly isolated neighborhood,” said broker Greg Kaufman who represented the landlord, Monitor Rockrimmon LLC.

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