Downshift: A look back at commercial real estate 2009

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The Windchime Center’s owner offered free space to business owners.

The Windchime Center’s owner offered free space to business owners.

For office, industrial and retail brokers used to closing 30, 40 or 50 deals during the past three years, transaction volume downshifted by 20 percent or more during 2009. At the same time significant sublease space began to reappear in the market, especially along North Interstate 25 or in southeast Colorado Springs.

The central business district maintained 10 percent vacancy rate, even as the citywide vacancy rate rose to 14 percent. While companies like Corporate Office Properties Trust, Adams State Bank and Trust and Listen Up vacated downtown, Codebaby, the U.S. Olympic Committee and El Paso Gas Corp. added or renegotiated large office leases. The CBD also welcomed a $20 million redevelopment planned for the Mining Exchange building.

Citywide, lease transactions — particularly for stable medical and dental users — remained steady. Industrial and office owner/users with cash or good credit were still able to find loans and to buy property — but investors without financing evaporated from the landscape.

Retail vacancies which had dropped to less than 8 percent through 2007 and early 2008, now spiked to 11.4 percent by mid-year. Office vacancies hit 17 percent, and industrial vacancies stood at 12 percent by year end, according to Sierra Commercial Real Estate research  director Ben Lowe.

In his third quarter 2009 Commercial Availability Report, Turner Commercial Research author, Paul Turner said that “over million square feet of occupied space has been lost [returned to the market].”

“This loss must be dealt with before any meaningful recovery can begin,” he said, adding that all three commercial markets lost occupied space, and the square foot vacancy jumped another 1.6 million feet to an overall total of 9.8 million square feet — the highest amount of empty space ever recorded for the area.

The year’s over-arching theme of market freeze-up and tight to almost non-existent money for commercial loans was shared with many other parts of the country. Even landlords with full buildings and positive cash flow faced an uphill battle if faced with a refinance during the year.

For detailed descriptions of major transactions closed each quarter during the year, visit www.csbj.com:

First quarter 2009

Market pressure on sellers started early and escalated throughout the year. During January 2009, with 104 office buildings and 91 industrial properties listed for sale, the average office building sales price was $113.38 per square foot and the average industrial building sales price was $73.71 per square foot, according to Hoff & Leigh owner/broker Tim Leigh.

G. E. Johnson Construction Co. owner Jim Johnson remained patient through the city’s financial negotiations with USOC and LandCo Equity Partners.

Prior to the arrival of returning Fort Carson and new Fort Hood troops apartment vacancies were as high as 29 percent in the southeast and near 19 percent near The Citadel. Elsewhere — especially to the north east and in the southwest — occupancy in new communities with more amenities were higher.

  • Nationally real estate researchers at Property Portfolio and Research predicted that retail landlords would have to begin implementing more rent concessions to keep current or attract new tenants, based on slipping sales results tracked through 2008. Sierra Commercial Real Estate broker Mark Useman, however, said thanks to Fort Carson’s stabilizing affect, the local market had not yet seen significant downward pressure on rents. Institute for Real Estate Management forecasters speculated on the year ahead for commercial real estate. Their conclusions:
  • Re/Max Advantage broker Brian Maecker said during 2009 home sellers would be under increased pressure. Home values during the previous year had dropped as much as 15 percent in some neighborhoods. He predicted more than 4,000 foreclosure filings – a record reached during November 2009 – and the home building industry continue to be “on hold” as development financing remained difficult to secure. He also warned that the market could see a second wave of resetting “Alt-A” mortgages from 2010 through 2011.
  • City Manager Penny Culbreth-Graft said the city had already cut more than $41 million from its $237 million budget, and city sales tax revenues were dropping. With the city’s population expected to grow to 860,000 by 2012, she warned of continued negative outcomes from the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights’ ratchet effect. Military growth would help, but the city derived little benefit from retail or housing at Fort Carson.
  • Sperry Van Ness multifamily broker Doug Carter said 2009 would bring fewer large transactions like those during 2008. He also advised investors interested in capitalizing on new military renters “to buy for the long hold,” predicting that financing for larger deals would be “hard to come by.”
  • Sierra Commercial Real Estate broker Kent Mau said the city had entered its first down cycle in 12 to 15 years, citing rising retail and office vacancy rates. Available office space stood at about 4 million square feet, mostly along North I-25 or in southeast Colorado Springs in space formerly held by defense contracting companies. Calling for new jobs and new companies to help fill existing inventory, he said that the market for “spec space” ended during 2007.
  • There were signs of life in the Pikes Peak region, however. Topping the list was the 1.28 million square-foot $15.1 million Intel building sale to California investor and developer, IRG during fourth quarter. In addition, University Village Colorado developer Kevin Kratt announced a handful of new retail and restaurant tenants for his first-phase 5,000-square-foot inline center on North Nevada Avenue, and the $28 million USOC building shell, after months of wrangling between developer Landco Equity Partners and the city, was completed by G.E. Johnson Construction Co.
  • The 18,000-square-foot retail building at 324 E. Pikes Peak Avenue formerly owned by Goodwill and used as a retail store was sold to new owners Uli and James Pryse who planned to use single-story facility for an antique mall.
  • Tech for Less leased and remodeled the 80,000-square-foot former Hotsy manufacturing building at 2150 W. Garden of the Gods Road. The company also continued to lease warehouse space at 1610 Garden of the Gods Road.
  • Griffis-Blessing, new owner of the former Van Briggle building on the southwest corner of Highway 24 and 21st St. began work on its 22,600-square-foot Round House redevelopment project. Carmichael Training Systems became the building’s first tenant, leasing 10,000 square feet of retail and office space.
  • The Spires Broadmoor closed its office in late January after selling its last lot inventory. About 30 builders had built homes in the hillside community in southwest Colorado Springs during the company’s 14-year history. Owned by L’Auberge Communities, the project was shepherded by managing broker Michelle Grove Reiland, the incoming 2010 President of the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs.
  • Carefree Village Townhomes near Oro Blanco Boulevard and North Carefree Circle sold to a Los Angeles-based investor for $4 million. The sale was brokered by Doug Carter of Sperry Van Ness who credited growth at Fort Carson for attracted increased interest in multifamily investment.
  • Pulte Homes announced it would offer a new 3.99 percent 30-year fixed rate mortgage to qualified buyers at the company’s home sites in Fountain and Monument.
  • A 16,000-square-foot office building at 620 S. Cascade Ave. sold to local investor, Graeme Cloutte, for $2.1 million. Ted Link and Brian Norton represented the buyer and said the market was still “active” for smaller investors looking to get a unique or value-added investment.
  • The Cottonwood Artists’ School purchased two properties at 415-427 E. Colorado Ave. for $3.6 million for expanded classroom and studio space from seller Elmer J. Herbertson.
  • New downtown tenants included Keller Williams Hope Realty which opened an office in downtown Colorado Springs on East Kiowa Street and Peoples National Bank which opened its new 3,700-square-foot downtown headquarters at 19 N. Tejon St.
  • The 78-unit Cedar Crest Apartments on 1.6 acres at 2010 Carmel Drive which had been in foreclosure, sold at auction for $1.1 million or $14,000 per unit to a local investor, according to buyers’ brokers Ron, Shane and Ryan Spraggins of Commonwealth.
  • Banning Lewis Ranch Management Co. reported that 67 new homes had been sold during its inaugural year.
  • Town of Monument officials predicted continued growth in new commercial development. With a $4 million town hall under construction, a new Fairfield Inn under construction, continued build-out at Monument Markeplace at Jackson Creek — and a proposed mixed-use development planned just north of the city’s historic downtown by former Bronco’s wide receiver Rod Smith, city manager Cathy Green said she expected to see growing sales tax revenues.
  • The new $8 million Care and Share 50,000-square-foot headquarters building on the city’s east side qualified for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certification. The $14 million Patriot Park VI built by Bryan Construction and the new 54,000-square-foot Recreation and Event Center at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs qualified for LEED Gold.
  • The redevelopment of South Nevada Avenue proposed by developer Jim Rhue, originally slated for kick-off in 2009, was pushed back due to financial hurdles. While Rhue said his revised ground breaking would be during September 2010 with an opening in October 2011, continued deterioration in the commercial lending sector eventually forced those plans to be put on indefinite hold.
  • The 30-unit Briarwood Apartments at 425 E. Willamette Ave. were purchased by Josephine Investment Holdings LLC for $950,000. Some renovation of the property built during 1964 was planned, said seller’s broker Stuart Sloat of Rampart Realty.
  • Windchime Business Center owner Mike Heritage and manager Jim Zorman of the London Real Estate Group announced that the commercial center would make some office space available for free to small business owners and start-up companies. The 66,244-square-foot center was 85 percent occupied.
  • America’s landed gentry felt the sting of the 2008-2009 economic downturn, according to Orvis Cushman/Wakefield president John Watson who said prices for large land parcels had dropped at least 10 to 15 percent since 2006. The company had about 42 listings and 10 sales before it closed its doors later in the year, citing continued deterioration in financial markets and investor will for the decision.
  • The medical condo market held on through first quarter, according to Tom Brown of Thomas R. Brown Associates who brokered the sale of a 4,500-square-foot medical office condominium to Oral Surgery Associates at 5475 Erindale Drive. Medical and dental practitioners found mortgage payments lower than lease payments and the opportunity to invest in permanent improvements as key reasons for continued market strength, he said.
  • The Cheyenne Meadows King Soopers center sold as part of a $427 million portfolio acquisition to Inland Real Estate Acquisitions of Plano, Texas.
  • Grubb & Ellis Quantum Commercial Group brokers Andrew Oyler, Michael Palmer and Hermann Spielkamp said the commercial office market would see increased vacancy rates and even some sublease space “creeping back into the market.” The group expressed some concern that defense spending cutbacks could affect vacancy rates in Class A space throughout the city. Newer office centers such as The Pavilions, the Prime West/ORIX-owned three building Promontory complex on Research Parkway and the Powers Office Park would have their work cut out for them as the market for such space had declined since mid-2008.
  • Liberty Dialysis neared completion on its first 12,000-square-foot facility in Colorado Springs near Lelaray Street and North Union Boulevard.
  • Construction got underway on the first building in a 325,000-square-foot inline retail development planned for University Village Colorado, according to Kevin Kratt of Kratt Commercial Real Estate. He said while some retailers were delaying lease signings, Costco, Lowe’s and Kohl’s were moving ahead as planned. Costco was set to open before yearend, along with a number of new restaurants.

Second quarter 2009

With national retailers watching revenues drop during first quarter by 4 to 6 percent, Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services predicted retail vacancies nationwide would reach 11 percent by late 2009.

Industrial rents were expected to remain near 2008 levels of about $7 per square foot, but local brokers described the Pikes Peak region “counter-cyclical.”

Average rent rates started the year near $9 per square foot, and smaller, sought-after industrial buildings saw low (7 to 8 percent) vacancy rates. Owner-users funded by Small Business Administration loans were the most active buyer category.

The owners of the 14,000-square-foot Pinery at the Hill overlooking downtown confirmed their intentions to redevelop the former Fish Market restaurant. ServiceTek was hired by owner Griffis Blessing to began work on new mechanical systems and new foundation pads at the Round House (former Van Briggle building), and pre-leasing began.

Real estate appraisers were forced to deal with the Home Valuation Code of Conduct that went into effect on May 1. The new law prohibited lenders from influencing or discussing property valuation with appraisers.

Passage of the First Time Buyer’s Tax Credit helped move the industry from market bottom. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Survey brought good news, showing increased consumer confidence, improving business conditions and a slight uptick in wages.

The Citadel mall’s owner, Midwest Mall Properties, hired Cornerstone Retail Team to help fill the former Macy’s space and vacant inline spaces.

Dominion Property Management opened a downtown office in the Rutledge Building. Likewise Todd Dorman, owner of Dorman Real Estate Services purchased McGinnis Property Management Services and announced plans to expand its portfolio of more than 250 commercial and residential properties.

Construction on the new 300-room, $100 million Renaissance Hotel complex continued, and interim general manager Sharon Siedler-Keathley said early bookings supported a Spring 2010 opening.

The local apartment market prepared for the influx of about 3,000 Fort Hood troops. The local multifamily vacancy rate for complexes with 50 units or more stood at about 10 percent through second quarter, according to Sperry Van Ness broker Doug Carter and the latest Apartment Insights report.

Retail development advanced in Monument and Falcon and along Interquest Drive.

Faith-based projects such as the $1.7 million First Methodist Church remodel continued to keep some local architects and general contractors busy.

Sierra Commercial Real Estate researcher Ben Lowe said commercial vacancies increased by 17 percent during seven straight quarters of declines. Average rates remained at about $12 per square foot, but vacancy increases during second quarter began to slow in the Class A market — and the North 1-25 submarket actually saw positive absorption for the quarter.

Transactions of note included:

  • The Rangewood medical building at 7560 Rangewood Drive sold to NetREIT which also owns. Purchase price was $2.66 million.
  • Codebaby leased 15,500 square feet of office space in the Plaza of the Rockies North Tower at 111 S. Tejon St., nearing filling the 8-story 10,000-square-foot building
  • The former Black Angus restaurant at 3330 N. Academy Blvd. was sold for $475,000 to Marie Richard for a nightclub.
  • Two more ministries leased space: Heartbeat International leased 5,000 square feet at 2120 E. Lasalle St. and Rocky Mountain Calvary Chapel leased 3,000 square feet at 4345 N. Academy Blvd. for a youth center
  • Integrity Manufacturing expanded its operation into a 13,500-square-foot building at 3141 Century Street.
  • Sunflower Farmers Market opened on May 27 at 1730 Dublin Blvd. The 27,600-square-foot former CVS Pharmacy building was purchased by the grocers’ owners for $2.6 million
  • Synthes Ltd., a Swiss company with U.S. headquarters in Monument, leased 28,800 square feet of office/warehouse space at 1705 Jet Stream Drive from U.S. Business Centers LLC.
  • Extreme Bargains solidified its market entry by leasing 20,000 square feet of warehouse/distribution space at 2850 N. El Paso St. Broker John Rodgers who represented the landlord described the changing commercial leasing and sales market as increasingly vulnerable. “It’s a cash world out there,” he said.
  • The Kaiser Permanente Medicare clinic leased 20,000 square feet in one of two buildings at The Pavilions, owned by Healthcare Realty Trust of Nashville, Tenn. The tenant was represented by Jones Lang Lasalle.
  • Brokers Ted Link and Brian Norton of Cascade Commercial Real Estate reported their busiest leasing and sales year since 1986. With 24 deals closed through second quarter, most were new medical and dental leases including Amedisys Hospice and Amedisys Home Health in the Center City Plaza building owned by Bethesda Real Estate Group.
  • USA Discounters, nationwide retailer that caters to the military community leased 50,000 square feet in the redeveloped Mission Trace Shopping Center. Owner Matt Craddock of The Craddock Cos. said the city had worked with the new tenant to improve access and parking issues. At stake: about $500,000 to $1 million in additional annual sales tax revenues. The new lease brought the 180,000-square-foot center within 17,000 square feet of 100 percent occupancy, he said.
  • A private investor bought the former Colorado Gold Chip building at 4450 Foreign Trade Zone Blvd. for $700,000 – a new low benchmark for industrial space, said transaction broker Rich Kelly of Grubb & Ellis Quantum Commercial Group.
  • A new Harrison District 2 charter school, Atlas Preparatory, leased 28,780 square feet of space at 1602 S. Murray Blvd. in the Airport Park business center which once housed the James Irwin Charter School. Steve Bach and Mike Helwege of Bach Real Estate Partners represented the new tenant. Aaron Horn and Dave Bacon of Sierra Commercial Real Estate represented the landlord – and The Larson Group architects worked on the interior redesign and layout.
  • The quarter ended with news of two million dollar industrial sales brokered by Peak Commercial Properties broker John Rodgers. A 40,000-square-foot building at 6035 Galley Road sold to a local investor for $1.43 million. The second sale – the 32,000-square-foot former Simpson’s Feed and Grain building at 110 Sierra Madre St. sold for $1.85 to NEK, a defense training company.

Third quarter 2009

Third quarter brought the return of troops from Iraq and new families from Fort Hood as well as an uptick in new home sales and a continued 20 to 30 percent slowdown in commercial sales and leasing. Still, optimism reigned, as the 40-acre Intel campus sold to IRG Realty for $15.1 million.

John Q. Hammons, developer of the new $100 million Renaissance Hotel, pushed back the opening date until fall 2010 and halted construction due to tight credit. The company’s planned downtown Embassy Suites hotel was also delayed.

News of 600 new jobs, courtesy of Affiliated Computer Services was announced by the Economic Development Corp. in late June. The company leased about 34,000 square feet of space on the Verizon campus near 30th Street. By August, 150 employees had been hired and $3 million in facility improvements were completed.

The local multifamily market ranked along with Columbia, S.C., New Haven, Conn. and Birmingham, Ala. as cities with the fastest shrinking vacancy rates. Colorado Springs’ second quarter vacancy rate stood at 8.47.

The commercial real estate bubble began bursting during 2006 and 2007, according to the Wharton School of Business, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.com. By mid-year, cash-rich investors began looking for market opportunities.

The entry level or first time move-up residential market grew thanks to the First-Time Home Buyers Tax Credit, but the luxury market slowed to a crawl. Only 17 homes priced at $1 million or more had closed by late August — half a more typical year’s pace. Short sales and foreclosures were predicted to draw about 30 percent of mortgages “under water” by the recession’s bottom.

Transactions of note:

  • The Holder Construction Group of Atlanta filed for an $82 million building permit for the Hewlett Packard data center at 311 S. Rockrimmon Blvd.
  • The former 1.9-acre Fire Rock restaurant site on Garden of the Gods Road was purchased for $2 million for a freestanding Chick-Fil-A drive-through restaurant. Jim and Jamie Spittler of NAI Highland Commercial Group represented the seller, V.A. Resources.
  • Envision Radiology leased 10,000 square feet of office space at 8610 Explorer Drive. Ted Link and Brian Norton of Cascade Commercial Real Estate represented the tenant and Brian Wagner of Sierra Commercial Real Estate represented the landlord.
  • Steve Bach and Mike Helwege of Bach Real Estate Partners moved their headquarters to 1880 Office Club Pointe.
  • A new company to the area, Optical Engines leased 5,000 square feet of space at 842 Sierra Madre St. The Chicago-based firm is a defense contractor.
  • Broker Scott Gray of the Cornerstone Retail Team said he was working with Dollar Tree on four locations in and around the Pikes Peak region – probably along “mid-Academy Boulevard,” in Fountain, Woodland Park and Pueblo.
  • A&Z Mechanical bought a 4,000-square-foot industrial condominium at Winters Industrial Park for $357,000. The transaction was brokered by John Rodgers of Peak Commercial Properties
  • Eleven acres of industrial land at 875 Vapor Trail was purchased by Colorado Structures, Inc. for $800,000. Dale Stamp represented the buyer and said about 3 acres might be used for a future Taylor Farms expansion.
  • Fittje Bros. Printing moved its operation to 804 Garden of the Gods Road. The 22,400-square-foot former Arvada Hardwoods location was leased after the owners looked at 17 other properties.
  • The new Centennial Professional building at 3470 Centennial Blvd., welcomed two new tenants: a 4,500-square-foot office for Mountain View Medical Group and a 3,000-square-foot office for the Colorado Hand Center, said owner Kevin Patterson of The Patterson Group
  • Twenty-four Parade of Homes builders showcased 29 homes in 19 communities throughout the area.
  • Corporate Office Properties Trust bought the 61,500-square-foot R.T. Logic building on 5 acres at 12515 Academy Ridge View for $12.5 million.
  • G.E. Johnson Construction Co. was awarded the contract to build the new 11-story, 430,000-square foot 2100 University apartment complex near Denver University. The company was also awarded construction of the new $15 million indoor football practice facility at the United States Air Force Academy, funded by the Associates of Graduates Foundation.
  • The 42.5-acre White Acres tract just west of South 26th Street and Lower Gold Camp Road was purchased by the City of Colorado Springs for $1 million.
  • The former Coca-Cola distribution complex in downtown Colorado Springs was sold to a local partnership for $1.23 million. The building was 60 percent leased by Deep Rock Water Co.
  • Corporate Office Properties Trust moved its headquarters from the Alamo Corporate Center downtown to the company’s new 150,000-square-foot Epic One building on the city’s north side.
  • ProCycling, a specialty bike shop and Carmichael Training Systems announced they had leased space in the Round House building where only 10,000 square feet remained available.
  • The 252-unit Mountain View Apartments sold to Hamilton Zanze of San Francisco for $11 million. The buyer also owns three other properties – or about 700 units – in its portfolio at Spring Canyon, the Resort at University Park and the Falls at Quail Lake.
  • Computer Sciences Corp. renewed its 12,433-square-foot lease at 460 N. Wooten Road, as did Traveler’s Insurance which leased 15,157 square feet at 1365 Garden of the Gods Road.
  • Colorado Mountain Brewery owner Scott Koons announced his company’s plans to build a 6,500-square-foot $3.2 million restaurant and bar just west of the Hollywood Theater off Interquest Drive, just east of I-25. The new facility will open during late spring 2010.
  • Lee Hing, Inc., an Asian food distributor based in Colorado Springs purchased a $2.15 million building in Denver for its expanding business.
  • El Paso Corporation renewed its 211,000-square-foot lease with its building owner, New Colorado Square LLC just as third quarter came to a close. The five-year lease extension with multiple options was negotiated by listing broker Grubb & Ellis Quantum Commercial Group broker Michael Palmer, and Kent Mau of Sierra Commercial Group represented the tenant.
  • The Criterion Business Centre at 8570 Criterion Drive was purchased by a local investor group for $2.6 million. The 38,327-square-foot building was more than 75 percent leased at time of closing.

Fourth quarter 2009

Fourth quarter financing pressures forced landlords, building owner/users and tenants had to get creative. With more rent concessions and proactive lease renewals, office tenants began to move-up from a Class B or C space to Class A office or retail.

Foreclosed multifamily projects such as long-vacant Bentley Commons and the Citadel Arms Apartments found new homes. Greccio Housing, in partnership on Bentley Commons with Partners in Housing and the Rocky Mountain Land Trust, bought the bank-owned property for $1.7 million. The nonprofit which provides affordable housing also acquired Citadel Arms for $534,500.

Home builders decided that home buyers were no longer looking for the same old McMansions — and opted instead to build smaller, smarter homes in the coming year.

By fall, increasing numbers of commercial properties were in foreclosure, though Morley Cos. president Jim Morley said most of his North Powers Boulevard vacant land was in the midst of workout discussions with lenders.

Sunshine Development Co. founder Jannie Richardson likewise saw several properties enter foreclosure, and construction halted at her Colorado Crossing Cinemark theater and adjacent parking garage at Interquest Parkway and Federal Drive. General contractor G.E. Johnson Construction and numerous subcontractors remained unpaid as Richardson’s debt grew to several million dollars.

During mid-December, the number of available office and industrial buildings for sale had jumped by 29.8 percent and 34.1 percent, respectively. There were now 148 active office listings — and the average sales price per square foot of $106.47 was down 6.2 percent from January’s levels, according to Hoff & Leigh owner Tim Leigh. The inventory of available industrial property had risen to 138 buildings — and the average sales price increased by 9.6 percent.

Vacant land was already returning to the market. El Paso County’s lot inventory skyrocketed from the lows of a 12-month supply to an 81-month supply during 2009.

Economic Development Corp.Executive Vice President of Marketing David White said the organization would announce the opening of one and or two new corporate offices that would employ “several hundred new jobs” during first quarter 2010, likely for the Intel campus.

New transactions coming in to the CSBJ during fourth quarter were fewer and smaller, reflecting a broader contraction in the national financial and investment sectors.

Transactions of note:

  • Hoff & Leigh Real Estate brokers Tim Leigh, Holly and R.D. Trinidad reported that the company had opened its first franchise operation in Akron, Ohio. The new business model incorporated scalable “backend” software and technology to provide support systems for commercial broker-managers. The group hopes to grow its network to at least five affiliates within the coming six months, Holly Trinidad said. Targeted cities for expansion included: San Antonio; Austin, Texas; Salt Lake City and Denver.
  • Synergy Manual Physical Therapy made it a triad for the Round House, leasing 2,351 square feet – along with Carmichael Training Systems and ProCycle.
  • Hancock Plaza owners negotiated a deal with Rob-Kraft, Inc. for a new Burger King 2,800-square-foot drive-thru restaurant. In addition, Rainbow Apparel announced plans to lease 5,150 square feet for a new retail store in the center.
  • ERA Shields President Bill Hurt and Stuart Scott Ltd. real estate companies joined forces, creating a combined office of more than 80 brokers. They described their combined enterprise as “a marriage made in heaven.”
  • Springs-based Escalante Golf added the Country Club of the North in Dayton, Ohio to its portfolio – which also includes the Pine Creek Golf Club in Colorado Springs. Purchase price for the facility was $4.6 million.
  • Weidner Investment Services bought the 328-unit Parkmoor Village Apartments for $12.1 million. The property had been owned by the Lively Family Trust for 37 years. A remodel of some of the buildings was planned during the next two years, said Doug Carter of Sperry Van Ness who represented both the buyer and the seller.
  • Agility Logistics leased 50,000 square feet of office/industrial space at 600 Wooten Road, the site of a former BMC Lumber store.
  • Extreme Bargains signed a 27,000-square-foot lease at 2850 N. El Paso St. for warehouse/distribution space. The company, which expanded into Colorado Springs for the first time last year buys unsold inventory from retail outlets throughout the country and resells them at a substantial discount to local consumers, said John Rodgers of Peak Commercial Properties who represented the landlord.
  • D&B Precision Products purchased a 20,250-square-foot building at 65-85 Mount View Lane for $1.2 million in order to expand its operation.
  • A 13,177-square-foot building at 2760 N. Academy Blvd. – part of Offices at the Park – sold for $515,000 to a local family partnership
  • The Colorado College Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center was awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certification.
  • The historic Mining Exchange Building in downtown Colorado Springs was sold to a partnership headed by Perry Sanders for redevelopment as a boutique 150-room hotel. Co-investor Raffie Sassower and Sanders pursued possible city tax-sharing in order to make the project feasible as a hotel that would employee up to 400 people. During fourth quarter, the 157,000-square-foot, 5-story building underwent a complete interior demolition. The new owners hope to open for business as early as next year, pending City Council tax-sharing approval.
  • In a sign of the times, a former 12,558-square-foot PetCo store at 5720 N. Academy Blvd. In the Berkshire Center, purchased during 1993 for $775,000 is in the process of being re-evaluated for entirely new types of uses, said Jim Spittler of NAI Highland Commercial Group.
  • The amount of capital raised nationally by private-equity real estate investment funds dropped by 92-percent since third quarter 2008.
  • As the end of the First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit approached on December 1, area realtors noticed a definite spike in buyers trying to close before the deadline. “About 40 percent of all transactions nationwide are first-time buyers,” said ERA Shields broker Eddie Hurt, “and that number is slightly higher in ‘younger’ Colorado.” Through third quarter the average Multiple Listing Service selling price was 97.5 percent of the asking price.
  • Perry Park Investments of Larkspur bought an 11,000-square-foot executive aircraft hangar at 1055 Aviation Way in the Colorado Springs Business Park for $225,000 from High Valley Group.
  • Service Master leased an 11,400-square-foot building at 3401 N. El Paso St. to accommodate business expansion, according to Charley Conrad of the Olive Real Estate Group.
  • Local investor, Michael Underwood, purchased a 16,000-square-foot industrial facility on 1.8 acres at 3725 Interpark Drive for $1 million.
  • Aspire Biotech, a growing bio-research/development company founded during 2001, was on the move, leasing 7,724 square feet at 4755 Forge Road.

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