A Colorado Springs developer is pushing ahead with plans to build a 240-unit apartment community near Fort Carson, but the high cost of construction and tight financing could sideline the project.
Despite the obstacles, Nor’Wood Development Co. President Chris Jenkins believes there are compelling reasons to push ahead on the complex, which would be located on the northeast corner of Mesa Ridge Parkway and Sneffels Street in Fountain.
Primarily, he said, the market is ripe for new multifamily developments.
With Fort Carson’s population growth in recent years and with fewer people qualifying for home mortgages, there are lots of renters out there. According to a first-quarter report from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Housing, vacancies in the area have declined by almost 50 percent compared to the same period last year.
Nor’Wood’s multifamily project has been in the planning, design and costing-out stage for a year. The company submitted a pre-application letter to the regional Housing and Urban Development office in early 2009, in hopes of opening the door to public as well as private financing options.
So far the City of Fountain economic development and planning department are on board.
The site’s 36-acre development plan was approved in December.
“We’ve had studies done and there really is a need for additional apartments here,” said planning department spokeswoman Jannette Doss.
In part, that’s because a 300-unit Independence Place apartment development approved three years ago never materialized.
The key will be to find a cost-efficient way to build and finance Nor’Wood’s $20 million multifamily development.
So far, Jenkins hopes to build market-rate rather than affordable housing units, but he hasn’t closed the door to possible HUD-insured financing.
He’s also sent his original plans back to the architect for further “value engineering” tweaks to cut the cost of the project.
“Many things are moving in the right direction. If we can’t do it this summer, the alternative is to wait a while for the market to improve,” he said.