Space Command decision expected to positively impact Colorado Springs real estate market

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A permanent Space Command headquarters in Colorado Springs could help boost office and industrial development to accommodate Department of Defense contractors, as well as home construction and sales for its personnel, though factors such as population growth, quality of life and other employers coming to town also will contribute to commercial and housing growth, some members of the local real estate industry say.

“It’s unknown to what degree it will affect the real estate industry, but certainly there will be more personnel, certainly there are DOD (Department of Defense) contractors and companies that will want to co-locate where the headquarters will be sited,” said Danny Mientka, a longtime Colorado Springs real estate developer and principal with The Equity Group. “I just can only imagine that there are folks on the sidelines that have been waiting for this decision out of Washington to move forward on a more permanent plan of where they’ll want to put an office.”

Some of that development could take place at the Colorado Springs Airport’s Peak Innovation Park, the 1,600-acre business park that’s adjacent to Peterson Space Force Base, Mientka predicted.

Other office projects could take shape outside the airport, such as along the nearby Powers Boulevard corridor or as far away as the Catalyst Campus office complex on downtown Colorado Springs’ east edge, already a hub for aerospace and defense companies.

Mientka’s own 260-acre Reagan Ranch residential and commercial project, to be developed at U.S. 24, Colorado 94 and Marksheffel Road, also could be a prime candidate.

Reagan Ranch, a short drive to Peterson and to Schriever Space Force Base to the east, will have 60 acres set aside along Marksheffel for commercial development and 20 acres for industrial uses, Mientka said.

“There’s a good opportunity to consider sort of a research and development, office, warehouse type of development along Marksheffel, which would accommodate small DOD contractors that seek to serve and interface with both Peterson, Schriever and then Space Command,” he said.

Some 1,200 single-family homes, townhomes, apartments and accessory dwelling units planned for Reagan Ranch, meanwhile, could provide housing for Space Command personnel, he said.

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“It will be good and it will be positive,” Mientka said of Space Command’s effect on the economy. “I don’t think anyone knows at this point what the overall impact will be and certainly it will take some time. It’s all a function of defense authorizations. That’s the wild card — how quickly the funding happens for the command now that the decision has been made to maintain it here.”

Personnel stationed at Space Command, and who come and go over time, no doubt will help stimulate some home construction and sales, said Mark Reyner, board president of the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs and owner of local contractor Weatherbee Drywall.

The Colorado Springs-area housing market could use a boost; it’s slowed significantly over the last year after long-term mortgage rates spiked to the 6% and 7% neighborhood.

Year-over-year home sales have fallen each month for more than a year; resale home prices have dropped for six straight months; and the pace of home construction as measured by the issuance of single-family building permits is down nearly 40% so far in 2023 when compared to last year.

Even so, Space Command personnel who buy and sell homes won’t be the housing market’s sole driver, especially when it comes to home construction, Reyner said.

“I don’t think that 400 to 600 people (estimated increase in Space Command personnel) is going to make a huge impact on homebuilding,” Reyner said. “I’m sure there will be a percentage of those folks that buy new. But they also might buy resale and those folks that just sold their house (will) buy new.”

For the overall economy, however, Space Command can’t help but be a big plus for Colorado Springs, along with other employers, attractions and the like, he said.

“I think it’s just the overall economic impact of knowing that we’ve got that big employer out there and all the other jobs that go around it — all the engineering, DOD, ancillary services, etcetera,” Reyner said. “It’s definitely going to make a positive impact.”

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