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Real Estate & Construction  July 28, 2011

Penny Flats to be ready to rent by April

FORT COLLINS – Old Town will have more residential rental options next year as the second phase of Penny Flats gets under way.

Construction began July 21 on the project on the northwest corner of Maple and Mason streets in downtown Fort Collins. The goal is to have apartments available for rent in April.

The four-story building will contain 30 units with 46 total bedrooms designed for young professionals who want to live and work in Old Town. The units will provide modern, quality living for residents with a balcony in each unit, brick, stone and metal work, and underground parking for residents.

“There has not been a new for-rent residential project of this nature build in downtown Fort Collins in over 20 years,´ said Paul Brinkman, co-founder and CEO of Brinkman Partners, which is developing the new building.

The existing underground parking structure was initially completed as part of the first phase of the project in 2009. Brinkman purchased the parcel from the previous developer on the project, Coburn Development, which brought the first 25-condo building to market at the end of 2008 with the participation of the city of Fort Collins. The mixed-use complex originally envisioned was similar to one in Boulder, but the planned 141-unit project stalled as the Fort Collins market entered the economic downturn.

Underground parking is a big selling point for the apartment complex, according to Kevin Brinkman, co-founder and managing broker of Brinkman Partners. Parking in Old Town is an issue any time an area is developed, but the underground parking structure will ensure that residents will have a place to park and will keep residents’ vehicles from taking up spaces on the streets.

Kevin Brinkman added that the project has been scaled back – from the initially planned six floors to four – to improve the parking ratio. The building itself will be developed within existing urban boundaries around Old Town, the Poudre River, and what will eventually be the Mason Corridor transit system.

In January, Brinkman Partners acquired the property for just over $615,000 and received approval from the city to construct the 8,300-square-foot building. Once the apartments are finished, Brinkman Partners’ property management arm will deal with the day-to-day operations of the facility, allowing tenants to take care of any problems that may arise with just one phone call.

Environmentally friendly, affordable

Penny Flats will incorporate several environmentally friendly elements, from energy efficiency to promoting bicycle riding and reduced vehicle use for residents. Because of Penny Flats’ close proximity to the amenities of Old Town, residents will be less likely to rely on their vehicles, reducing emissions and improving air quality.

The units will feature high efficiency heating and hot water, high performance glazing on the windows, energy saving lighting controls and Energy Star appliances. Construction of the building will also make use of methods that minimize its environmental impact.

The apartments are meant to be affordable for the young professional, with monthly rents starting at $800 to $850 for a one-bedroom unit, according Kevin Brinkman.

Brinkman Partners, usually a commercial real estate developer, made a foray into student housing in 2009 with the Flats at the Oval, a $9 million, 56,000-square-foot mixed-use redevelopment at the corner of Mason and Laurel streets. The residential portion of the building included 47 units of high-end housing for Colorado State University students.

“Apartment development is really where the market is right now,” Kevin Brinkman said. He added that there is a high level of demand for rentable units in the current market, which has taken homeownership off the table for many. The latest survey of available rental units in the Fort Collins/Loveland market by the Colorado Division of Housing showed a mere 4 percent vacancy rate and rents on the rise, while Census data showed that Larimer County had issued 126 multifamily building permits through May, the third highest number in the state.

At the Northern Colorado Business Report’s annual Mid-Year Economic Update July 21, Kevin Brinkman stressed the importance of finding new avenues for development, such as multifamily units, in the recovery of the construction market. Brinkman stressed that firms who make use of current trends and a bit of creativity have held on despite the hardships seen by the industry as a whole.

Although Brinkman Partners began as an office developer, apartments have become a focus, as well as owner-occupied commercial projects, such as the recently completed OtterBox headquarters, also in Old Town Fort Collins.

FORT COLLINS – Old Town will have more residential rental options next year as the second phase of Penny Flats gets under way.

Construction began July 21 on the project on the northwest corner of Maple and Mason streets in downtown Fort Collins. The goal is to have apartments available for rent in April.

The four-story building will contain 30 units with 46 total bedrooms designed for young professionals who want to live and work in Old Town. The units will provide modern, quality living for residents with a balcony in each unit, brick, stone and metal work, and…

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