ARCHIVED  October 1, 1997

Estes running out of commercial development sites

Business Report CorrespondentThis town˜s commercial real estate market continues to thrive. Most, if not all of the available retail and office space is taken, and two new commercial complexes are scheduled to open early next year. The problem is that Estes Park is running out of room to grow.
"It˜s fairly good," said Eric Blackhurst, incoming president of the Estes Park Board of Realtors. "We˜re probably 95 to 98 percent occupied in terms of leased retail and office space. There˜s not much room for expansion."
Peggy Lynch, a broker and agent who is developing one of the new commercial complexes, agreed, saying, "There is a need for it. I don˜t know that there is going to be much space for it."
According to the local Multiple Listing Service, there have been seven commercial properties, with an average price of $343,500, sold in Estes Park during 1997. In 1996, there were six properties sold.
Rita Kurelia, executive director of the board, said the average price was $879,333, but that figure is inflated because one of those sales was a $2.8 million hotel. Kurelia added that commercial properties have been on the market this year for an average of 192 days.
Blackhurst said because the local economy is dependent on tourism, some retail space traditionally becomes available at the end of the season. But, he added, these spaces are usually rented by the following spring, creating a fairly stable, albeit cyclical, situation for commercial usage.
Blackhurst said there is a need for commercial development. However, that need is tempered by a lack of available land zoned for commercial usage.
"The problem is we don˜t have a lot of land that is zoned for commercial," he said.
So far this year, the Town of Estes Park has approved eight new commercial building permits, equaling the number of commercial permits issued in 1996. Among those permits are a new 13,000-square-foot retail and office complex being built east of town on U.S. Highway 34, and an 8,000-square-foot complex being built along Colorado Highway 7.
Both Lynch and Blackhurst said that because of a lack of available land, development in recent years concentrated east and south of the town. However, Blackhurst added, available land is becoming harder to find.
Because of this, the city is looking at rezoning some existing land in the Estes Valley for commercial purposes. This process, which is being done in conjunction with an overall review of the city˜s comprehensive plan, should take about 18 months to complete. In addition, rezoning is being considered for some land west of town along Elkhorn Avenue, Estes Park˜s main thoroughfare.
Blackhurst said the rezoning will lead to some new commercial development and gradual growth, but added that because of the town˜s location, commercial land will always be at a premium.

Business Report CorrespondentThis town˜s commercial real estate market continues to thrive. Most, if not all of the available retail and office space is taken, and two new commercial complexes are scheduled to open early next year. The problem is that Estes Park is running out of room to grow.
"It˜s fairly good," said Eric Blackhurst, incoming president of the Estes Park Board of Realtors. "We˜re probably 95 to 98 percent occupied in terms of leased retail and office space. There˜s not much room for expansion."
Peggy Lynch, a broker and agent who is developing one of the new commercial…

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