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City Life

Apartment Buildings Are Trending Downtown

The Mae has an abundance of amenities, including a second-level pool with an adjacent indoor clubhouse. The clubhouse has a kitchen, games, and several lounge areas.

The Mae has an abundance of amenities, including a second-level pool with an adjacent indoor clubhouse. The clubhouse has a kitchen, games, and several lounge areas.

photo by Richard Seldomridge Photography

Developers in Downtown Colorado Springs are catering to a demographic that has been underserved in the area for many years: urban dwellers. Two apartment buildings—The Mae on Cascade and Casa Mundi—recently opened in the southern part of downtown hoping to appeal to people wanting a city lifestyle.

to 2016, apartments in downtown Colorado Springs were far and few between. Susan Edmondson, president and CEO of the Downtown Partnership, says Blue Dot Place—a 33-unit complex that opened in 2016—was the first new construction of for-rent living in the downtown core in at least 50 years. “To be frank, for a long time, downtown Colorado Springs was far behind trends we see in other cities,” she says. “People love that urban lifestyle, and we were a little bit behind. But, in typical Colorado Springs fashion, once we turn a corner, we move quickly.”

Fast-forward to 2020, and two new apartment complexes have opened with additional buildings opening over the next several years.

Casa Mundi

Casa Mundi is a 27-unit apartment building located along Tejon Street a few blocks away from its sister property Blue Dot Place. Owner and developer Darsey Nicklasson says residents began moving into Casa Mundi in early spring. The property is now 50% occupied.

The main reason to open another boutique apartment building in downtown is simply demand, Nicklasson says. When she and business partner Kathy Loo made Blue Dot units available in 2016, the spaces leased in a matter of hours. “There is just so much demand,” Nicklasson says.

Casa Mundi offers one- to two-bedroom units with prices starting at $1,615 per month. Rent includes one parking space in a gated parking lot in addition to recycling, trash, and composting. Although the building doesn’t offer traditional apartment amenities, Casa Mundi does offer storage units and a gear room for bicycles, skis, and snowboards.

Nicklasson says being a boutique apartment building is Casa Mundi’s greatest amenity. “We know all of our residents. We know the names of their dogs, probably their parents; we recognize their sisters. And it’s not that we’re watching; it’s just that we’re around,” she says. “It’s that sense of community that you get in a small building.”

Other niceties are found in the design and style of the apartments, including built-in shelves and coat hooks near the entrance of most units and a broom closet with an outlet for vacuums in the kitchen. “We like to describe Casa Mundi as a haven. It’s meant to feel like a home—a very stylish home, but somewhere you come to recharge,” Nicklasson says.

The Mae on Cascade

A second rental property called The Mae on Cascade opened to residents just as summer was coming to a close. The 177-unit complex located at the corner of South Cascade and Moreno Avenues has 43 different floor plans, meaning there is something for everyone. The Mae offers lofts and one-, two-, and three-bedroom units with rent ranging from $1,500 to $3,000 per month.

Developed by Nor’wood Development Group, this property is the “older, sophisticated sister” of 333 ECO, property manager Paulita Zimmerman says. The Mae is dressed to the nines in ’60s and ’70s art deco and high-end finishes. The lobby, for example, offers tucked-away workstations with blue velvet finishes from floor to ceiling, a coffee bar, a conference room, and a fireplace.

The Mae, named after noted Colorado Springs entrepreneur Fannie Mae Duncan, is all about sophisticated living, and its amenities are no different. Renters have access to a fitness center with nearby showers, a rooftop deck, an indoor dog run and pet wash station, and a resort-style outdoor pool deck. The second-level pool and spa deck features a gaming lawn, outdoor kitchen, fireplace, and indoor clubhouse with another kitchen and lounge area. Inside, each unit is equipped with a washer and dryer, quartz countertops, stainless-steel appliances, and oversized windows with many units having mountain views.

The Mae also offers concierge services for residents, and it partners with nearby restaurants, such as Cork & Cask and Dos Santos. “We’re creating this new neighborhood,” Zimmerman says.

The new south end of downtown didn’t exist 10 years ago, says Jeff Finn, a vice president for Nor’wood Development. “I think you’re now seeing the fact that this kind of weird, funky, eclectic neighborhood is now kind of the epicenter of cool.”

More Apartments on the Horizon

Both Casa Mundi and The Mae are helping turn downtown into a livable neighborhood, but the work doesn’t stop there. More apartment buildings are planned for the downtown area, including 408 units surrounding the new Switchbacks Stadium. The first units will open in 2024, says Laura Neumann, strategic project lead at Weidner Apartment Homes.

According to the 2020 State of Downtown report from the Downtown Partnership, at least 1,200 more for-rent units are coming online over the next three years. “The more downtown is a neighborhood where people are living, it provides that 24/7 experience where people are out, walking on the streets, walking their dog, interacting with others,” Edmondson says. “It adds to the vibrancy and frankly makes things safer when that many more people are out because it’s their neighborhood, and they live there. It just creates a whole different attitude.”