Colorado Springs’ largest apartment complex is about to grow again | Subscriber-Only Content


Colorado Springs’ biggest apartment community is about to get even bigger, as its owner/developer seeks to meet an ongoing demand for multifamily living.

Cedarwood Development, part of Ohio-based, national real estate firm Cedarwood Cos., plans to add 290 apartments to its Lodge at Black Forest, near Woodmen and Black Forest roads on the Springs’ fast-growing northeast side, according to plans submitted recently to city government officials.

Cedarwood completed a first phase at the Lodge at Black Forest about five years ago with 288 apartments and opened a second phase in December with another 294 units, said Tim Ridner, the company’s vice president of residential development.     

‘Built-to-rent’ homes coming to northeast Colorado Springs

That expansion gave the Lodge at Black Forest 582 apartments and the title of the city’s largest complex — topping the 528 units at the southeast side Antero apartments and the 496 units at the Retreat at Austin Bluffs in northeast Colorado Springs, according to figures supplied by Springs real estate firm Griffis/Blessing and the Apartment Association of Southern Colorado.

Now, the third phase would boost the Lodge at Black Forest to 872 apartments.

The Lodge’s initial phases are more than 95% leased, Ridner said, which he called a testament to Colorado Springs’ booming growth and the area’s strong desire for apartment living.     

“When we built the first phase, I think we were a little surprised at the strong reception,” Ridner said. “Not totally, but a little bit. So that encouraged us to build our second phase and we were encouraged by the incredible demand that project generated.

“We think we do a nice job with our floor plans and with our marketing and with our management of the community,” he said. “And the market has responded well.”

Cedarwood expects to start construction on the Lodge at Black Forest’s third phase in the third quarter of 2023 and open to renters about 15 months later, Ridner said.

Colorado Springs apartment rents dipped late last year

The project’s initial phases included outdoor swimming pools and clubhouses; the second-phase clubhouse also was designed as a community center, with a larger-than-normal fitness facility, co-working space and a conference room, Ridner said.

The third and last phase will include a clubhouse whose design is still a work in progress, though it might have an indoor pool and will be built large enough to accommodate a variety of activities for renters, he said.

A portion of the third phase will have four-story buildings with elevators; the rest of the complex has three-story, walkup buildings. Cedarwood also will introduce studios to its mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

Apartments would rent at market rates, Ridner said. In the fourth quarter of 2021, rents in the Springs averaged a little more than  $1,470 a month — though newer projects and those on the far northeast side typically are higher, according to a recent University of Denver report. 

The Lodge at Black Forest is part of a 90.5-acre site that Cedarwood has developed northwest of Woodmen and Black Forest roads.

The company — whose projects nationwide include shopping centers, hotels, offices, apartments and self-storage — purchased the Woodmen-and-Black Forest property in 2005. Initially, Cedarwood envisioned a mixed-use commercial center with stores, offices, a hotel and apartments.

9 apartment complexes among red-hot downtown Colorado Springs’ growing list of projects

But much of the northeast side’s retail development went up along or near Powers Boulevard to the west of Cedarwood’s site, including a Walmart-anchored shopping center at Powers and Woodmen, Ridner said. Cedarwood then focused on apartments.

“Everybody kind of landed on Powers, so that limited the amount of retail demand, in terms of national tenants,” Ridner said. “We knew that we were going to have do something to kind of create our own luck on that piece. That was the idea behind developing the first phase (of the Lodge at Black Forest).”

In addition to the Lodge at Black Forest, Cedarwood developed the Melody Living senior housing complex on its 90.5 acres and to the west of the apartment community. Melody Living includes independent and assisted living components and a memory care wing.

Cedarwood has been active elsewhere in the Pikes Peak region.

It developed the 252-unit Stetson Ridge apartments about 20 years ago east of Powers and Stetson Hills boulevards. It also developed the 168-unit Trail Ridge apartments 15 years ago in Woodland Park.

Downtown Colorado Springs apartment project nearly doubling in size

Colorado Springs’ apartment market has been hot for the last several years, with record-setting rents and low vacancy rates, which have drawn out-of-town developers and investors. 

In general, industry experts have said many younger people choose apartment living over buying a house and being tied to a long-term mortgage. Empty nesters who are downsizing, meanwhile, like the maintenance-free lifestyle that apartments offer. 

At the same time, some would-be homebuyers can’t qualify for a mortgage or afford a down payment, and live in apartments until they can purchase a house.


Source link