COLORADO SPRINGS – It’s easy to understand the appeal of downtown living when you’re standing on a fifth-floor balcony of the new 333 ECO Apartments. Straight in front of you, the north and south towers of the Plaza of the Rockies frame your view of Pikes Peak. Look left and you can see the dome of the Pioneers Museum in front of Cheyenne Mountain. To the right, you can see the 2nd story patio with its pool. hot tub, an outdoor kitchen, and firepits.
“When you see the views, you see this modern urban living and people from all walks of life just kind of coming and going from their new place downtown, it’s really exciting,” said Susan Edmondson, CEO of the Downtown Partnership.
The owners of 333 ECO began leasing at the end of July and they’re already at 55 percent of capacity. The 171 new units in this building make up nearly a third of the estimated 600 new downtown apartments coming onto the market in future months. Edmondson can see even more growth here in the future.
“We know that mid-term, downtown could absorb 2,000 units or more, that’s really what it’s going to take to create a healthy city center,” she said. “If you don’t have people living in your city center, that’s a huge missing component.”
But a rush of new people in living in the same area should make traffic worse, right? Kathleen Krager, the Traffic Engineer Division Manager for the City of Colorado Springs said, not really.
“If you are living downtown, chances are you may go days without having to use a vehicle or you may be living downtown without a car at all,” she explained.
Urban living is a different style of living because it offers people the chance to live, work, and play in the same area. Residents will still make the same number of trips to and from their homes as people living in other parts of the city. The big difference is a shorter travel distance.
“A vast majority of those trips will be pedestrian trips where you can walk to work or walk to the coffee shop or the restaurant,” Krager said.
It explains why the city has invested in new bike lanes downtown and the Pike Ride bike sharing program. They were still preparing for an influx of people, but its a crowd with different needs.