Cedarwood Development – Woodmen Town Center

Tri C picCedarwood Development’s Woodmen Town Center will promote wellness when it is completed in 2019.

By Chris Kelsch

Colorado continues to see sizable demand for mixed-use communities for millennials and baby boomers alike. Add to that trend a growing demand for senior housing, and it’s easy to see why a project like Woodmen Town Center came to fruition.

The mixed-use facility, once completed, will feature substantial housing close to retail outlets such as a Walmart Supercenter and Home Depot, all on 90 acres in the northeast quadrant of Colorado Springs.

Unique Developer

The size and scope of the project called for a builder with some unique qualifications. “We’re not your typical firm,” Cedarwood Development Executive Vice President Anthony Petrarca says. “We do everything in-house, and that includes architecture, design and construction”

Indeed, the company’s vertical integration was a key component in the success of the project. For example, because the company has its own architects and designers in-house, it can save time and money by not having to go outside the firm. “Our vertical integration really evolved out of our need to control our scheduling as well as our costs,” Petrarca notes. Tri C box

Not only has the company’s vertical integration helped it, but its expertise in a variety of specialties has allowed it to thrive within many types of markets. “Because we remain nimble, we are able to take advantage of market ebbs and flows,” Petrarca says.

That adaptability comes in handy when markets shift rapidly. For example, from 2008 to 2010, construction in the retail sector slowed, but multifamily housing picked up. The company remained nimble enough to respond to such conditions, and continues to thrive in the multifamily sector. “We can respond quickly, and we can also do our own equity financing,” Petrarca notes. “It’s the ability to adapt that sets us apart.”

Rocky Mountain High

Once the overall construction market picked up, one geographic area that really took off was Colorado Springs. “Over the last several years, many people have looked to this area as an alternative to Denver,” says Tim Ridner, Vice President of development for Cedarwood. “We have really seen a drafting effect as many people have come to love this area for its abundance of outdoor activities and its relative proximity to Denver.”

Hence the need for many types of housing, as well as retail and office space. The Woodmen Town Center will include something for everyone, and is being completed in three phases. The completed phase one is a 288-unit multifamily complex called “The Lodge at Black Forest.” Ridner says this phase is almost fully leased.

It was also built with the needs of its owners in mind. “We’re seeing a lot more demand for intimate spaces,” Ridner says. “We’re also seeing strong demand for pet-related amenities, such as dog parks and pet agility areas.”

The second phase, a senior living facility on a six-acre site called “Melody Living”, is under construction and set for completion in early 2018. When completed, it will have 79 units, 57 of which provide assisted living services, while 22 units are dedicated to memory support.  The community is designed to meet older adult’s needs within an engaging environment.

Laura Hester, Vice President of senior housing, notes several trends have led to some unique design features. “Market trends have shown that there is a huge desire for choice,” Hester says. “Residents will provide their own input into planning events and activities both within the building and throughout the community to engage the mind and remain socially connected.  Ample flex space was designed into the floor plan to accommodate continuing education, lectures, entertainment and the like. The community also provides dedicated space for an art studio, theater, and a full service salon.”

Seniors are expecting not only to live longer, but also to enjoy a higher quality of life as they age. “In Colorado, there is a culture of wellness,” Hester explains. “As a result, we have included within the facility options for indoor and outdoor fitness.  We provide a state-of-the-art fitness center with a trainer, ample fitness equipment, and audio/visual enhanced training.  Private therapy space is provided for rehabilitation needs. We also incorporated an onsite physician clinic for the convenience of our residents.

Extensive garden spaces were provided with walking paths, patios, fire pit, and outdoor kitchen/party space to create an invitation to the outdoors.  We designed outdoor amenities for families including a play scape and sandbox for when the kids come to visit.”

Given the special health needs of seniors, Hester notes that the facility was built with the idea of leveraging technology to be proactive in resident care and improve care coordination. “Technology is an important part of the design,” she says. Wi-Fi is provided throughout the building, for residents and within a secure data network.  Electronic health records, emergency call, health monitoring, and access control help the team implement well-coordinated care, increase accuracy, and maintain resident safety while allowing the staff to focus on the residents rather than administrative tasks.

Hester notes, “we believe that providing housing options for all ages with retail and service amenities makes Woodmen Town Center a more sustainable community.”

The third phase, expected to be completed in 2019, will include a second phase apartment complex as well as retail amenities. An office component will also be included. Given the entire project’s proximity to Penrose St. Francis Hospital, it is expected there will be some medical offices within the complex as well.

Local Challenges

Given how popular the Colorado Springs market has become, building a project of this magnitude presented some unique challenges to Cedarwood. In particular, access to the top subcontractors in the area did not prove easy.

“The reality is, we’re not the only ones building in this market,” says Perry Hostetler, Senior Project Manager for Tri C Construction, Cedarwood’s construction division. “Further, because there was some scarcity of top-end labor, there were some pricing challenges as well.”

Fortunately, Cedarwood was able to reach out to subcontractors fairly early in the process, securing the most reputable firms within the area to complete the project. And though a project of this size always poses some risk, its early returns, plus demographic trends, should ensure Woodmen Town Center’s success.

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