Space Foundation: Going where no one has before?

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A change of address could be in the offing for the Space Foundation, one of the community’s key nonprofit organizations.

The Space Foundation’s programs have grown steadily since it was founded in 1989.

It is perhaps best known for hosting the annual National Space Symposium at the Broadmoor Hotel. This year’s event drew more than 8,000 visitors, many of whom stayed for several days and contributed millions of dollars in local sales tax revenues.

In spite of its otherwise high aerospace industry profile and it role as a facilitator that brings worldwide space exploration, defense and commercial stakeholders together, the group’s local presence is decidedly low-key.

Since 2002 the organization has been headquartered in a two-story, 8,800-square-foot office building at 310 14th St. off West Highway 24. Last year its educational team moved to buildings on the Swigert Academy campus as part of a joint venture with Colorado Springs School District 11.

Perhaps because of its expanding symposium and its growing niche as a national education provider, rumors have circulated that the Space Foundation might be shopping for a new, more prominent headquarters.

Some have speculated that it might move to the new Corporate Ridge Office and Technology Center, the former Intel plant. Others said that it should consider a prominent downtown location — maybe the now-vacant Chase Bank building at Pikes Peak and Tejon.

But so far there’s nothing to report, according to Space Foundation officials.

“We’re not ready to talk about a move,” said Chief Operating Officer Chuck Zimkas.

He did confirm, however, that civic groups including the Colorado Springs Economic Development Corp. and others have suggested the group apply for U.S. Department of Commerce or other government and private funding. If those grants or other initiatives were successful, only then would the Space Foundation consider making a move.

“We’ve heard all those rumors. But no one ever contacted us directly about Intel. And no, we are not looking at a downtown location,” Zimkas said.

Good news for short sellers

Residential brokers along with sellers facing a short-sale or foreclosure and their lenders got big news last week from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

The government’s mortgage securitizing arms announced they will now offer their own Housing Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives programs by Aug. 1.

Simplified, that means the growing number of homeowners facing under-water mortgages have government support for streamlining the short sale process.

HAFA was originally offered only to conventional loan servicing companies and borrowers as a way to help streamline or modify loans tied to distressed property sales.

“There was lots of publicity back in March when HAFA was first announced, but it (the program) excluded 60 percent of the country’s home sellers who had VA or FHA-backed mortgages,” said Distinctive Group/ReMax Properties’s broker Tiffany Lachnidt.

The program’s provisions include pre-qualification for under-water sellers that are designed to help loan servicers (lenders) and brokers streamline the short sale process.

Lachnidt, a certified short-sale broker/trainer, said companies like Bank of America or Citigroup will now be able within 30 days to qualify a seller for the program — and an initial response from the lender must be received within 10 days.

The new Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae program requires that a home must still be owner-occupied to qualify and the loan servicer has to participate in the role of an investor.

Because short-sale terms are worked out upfront, an appraisal is secured before a home goes on the market and the seller receives up to $3,000 for moving expenses, all parties can move quickly, once an offer is received.

“It’s a 45-page document and there’s still a lot of confusion out there. But it’s a very proactive move,” Lachnidt said.

Developer roundup

Griffis Group CEO and multifamily developer Ian Griffis is partnering with the Children’s Hospital Therapeutic Horseback Riding Research Program and the Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center to sponsor the second annual Griffis Group Show Jumping Invitational in Larkspur on Aug. 21. Last year’s equestrian show jumping competition and dinner/dancing event raised thousands of dollars for the Lewis-Palmer Education Foundation.

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Classic Companies, the developer of Flying Horse, has begun construction on Frog’s Leap Park — the third neighborhood park to be developed so far on the 1,400-acre property. The 5-acre park is located in the heart of The Village of Saratoga, said CEO Doug Stimple.

Frog’s Leap Park will cost about $400,000 to build. It will include amenities such as a playground area with equipment, lawn, a basketball court, a ball field and room for an eventual concrete trail system.

Becky Hurley can be reached at or 719-329-5235. Friend her on Facebook.