60-acre mixed-use development planned near Peterson

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A California developer wants to build a 60-acre mixed-use development near the west gate of Peterson Air Force Base that will include 450 apartment units, military office space, restaurants and retail space.

Richard Walker, a broker with 1st Properties who is working on the project, wouldn’t name the developer behind the project proposed for the intersection of Powers Boulevard and Airport Road, but said it was moving forward.

Plans for two restaurant sites and one retail pad have already been approved, Walker said, but the office and residential proposal has not yet been submitted to the Colorado Springs Land Use Review Board because he wants to meet with city traffic and state transportation departments before submitting them.

Those plans call for two military office buildings, one 57,000-square feet and the other 44,000-square feet, that will offer more security than average offices but less than military base buildings that bar civilian access.

“This will be some of the only office space in town actually designed for this purpose,” Walker said.

The 450 apartments would include three buildings outside the main apartment cluster that would function as model units and short-term executive rentals that would be let out fully furnished to military contractors in town for shorter periods, Walker said.

The apartment development is larger than most complexes in Colorado Springs, which average 250 units.

Walker said the demand for this kind of development is evident.

As military personnel return from service missions abroad, they will need places to live, Walker said. And apartment vacancy rates throughout Colorado Springs range between 5 and 6 percent right now.

Walker said there is little apartment inventory close to the base that will be as “nice” as this development.

“People always make the mistake of thinking they (military personnel) don’t have any money,” Walker said. “The military salaries are up around $50,000 or $60,000 a year and they get $1,000 a month housing allowance.”

Walker said the planned name for the new development is simply Westgate.

The location will be ideal, Walker said.

“You’re at the confluence of two major arteries there,” he said. “Powers and Airport.”

Mike Schultz, a planner with the Colorado Springs Land Use Review division, said he has been working with Walker and the developer on the submittal process for the plans, though plans still have to be brought in.

He said the intersection will pose some challenges from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Corps of Engineers in making improvements to Fountain Creek, which runs through the property.

“I think the biggest issue is going to be working with CDOT and the city engineering department to get a viable access off of Airport Road,” Schultz said.

He said the developer would be able to design around most constraints regarding access as long as CDOT signs off on some access point.

He said part of the project would also fall within the airport overlay subzone, which restricts residential development. It could be a problem to build apartments in the overlay, depending on where the planned units are in relation to the restricted areas.

None of those key discussions can come until the plans are submitted. Schultz said he expects to receive them soon.