By: Pat Ferrier
Plans for 94 apartments in downtown Fort Collins are shaping up as Brinkman Partners prepares to build a five-story high-end complex on the northeast corner of Mason and Maple streets.
Brinkman bought one quarter of Block 23 — south of the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery — to add to its array of Old Town apartments, including The Flats on Mason Street. The remaining 3 acres, much of which has frontage on North College Avenue, is still on the market with a list price of nearly $4 million, said commercial Realtor Aki Palmer of Cassidy Turley.
The $14 million project will offer an L-shaped building, studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units, and feature a pedestrian corridor along Mason Street with seating nooks and landscaping, Brinkman said in documents presented to the Fort Collins Downtown Development Authority on Thursday.
All unit types will support high-end market rents — a studio will rent for about $900, two-bedroom for about $1,300 — geared to active professionals, the documents said. The DDA expects Brinkman to come back next month with a request for an investment in public improvements, including the sidewalk and streetscape on Mason and Maple, as well as utility upgrades, said Matt Robenalt, the DDA’s executive director.
“We are designing it to operate more like a boutique hotel” with amenities such as fitness room and coffee bar, said Kevin Brinkman. “We’ve heard from the market that they want something a little higher end, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, big oversized closets.” If all goes according to plan, Brinkman will break ground early next year with apartments ready for occupancy in the first quarter of 2015.
Creating more synergy downtown has long been a DDA goal. The improving economy coupled with expansions by Woodward and OtterBox helps propel that forward. Woodward and OtterBox “are all influencing this need for market-rate housing and downtown living to correspond with the lifestyle that these employees are seeking with signing up for jobs with these companies,” Robenalt said.
The DDA has invested about $4.7 million in projects that surround Block 23, including $3 million in the museum, $1.1 million in Penny Flats and $600,000 in MAX, the city’s bus rapid transit system that will take riders from Cherry Street downtown to the south transit center south of Harmony Road beginning in May.
The 94 units add significantly to the number of apartments for rent in Old Town.
“It’s a snowball effect,” Robenalt said. “One project begets the next. The interrelationship of having residents on the doorsteps of restaurants and retailers enhances the market for those establishments.”
The DDA board will decide next month whether to contribute to the project’s infrastructure.