A development at the new Clear Creek Crossing mixed-use project in Wheat Ridge sold for a new record price.
Outlook Clear Creek Apartments, a 310-unit multifamily property at 4040 Clear Creek Drive in Wheat Ridge, sold for $142 million on Dec. 14. The property was acquired by Seagate Colorado Partners LLC, which did not respond to a request for more information.
Evergreen Devco, Inc., the Phoenix-based developer, sold the property. Dave Martin and Brian Mooney of NorthMarq represented the seller.
The property was finished this year and is the first project to be completed within the Clear Creek master-planned community, Martin said, making it a catalyst for further development.
The Clear Creek Crossing property has a long history. It was meant to be anchored by Cabela's, but the outdoor-gear store pulled out of the project in 2011. At the time, Clear Creek was 210 acres. Cabela's had bought the land in 2004 but decided to sell its 80 acres located at Interstate 70 and Colorado 58, citing a decision to focus on a smaller store format. After that, a Super Walmart was considered for the development, but that also did not come to fruition.
Clear Creek Crossing got a major surge of momentum in 2018 when Lutheran Medical Center and parent company SCL Health decided it would purchase space nearby. By then, Clear Creek Crossing was at the 110-acre size that it is today. Before Lutheran, which is in Wheat Ridge, signed onto the site, there had been a community controversy that UCHealth might move in, creating what some saw as an unnecessary duplication of services. Soon after, Wheat Ridge city council members gave the okay to rezone the Clear Creek Crossing property from a planned commercial development to a planned mixed-use development, which cleared the way for both the master-planned community and for Lutheran Medical Center to build its new campus. In June of this year, SCL Health confirmed that it would build a replacement hospital for the aging original location of Lutheran Medical Center at Clear Creek. The new campus is expected to open in 2024 and cost about $650 million to build.
"We've been working with the city for years on getting this done," said Jeff Wikstrom, principal and regional president of Colorado multifamily for Evergreen DevCo. "We had great support with the city, and both our retail and our multifamily teams pulled together on this. It is terrific to see a vision from five years ago come to fruition."
Part of what makes the development and the apartments within it special is the location, Martin added.
"The Western submarkets — Littleton Lakewood, Lone Tree, Highlands Ranch, Broomfield, Superior, and certainly Golden, Lakewood and now Wheat Ridge — benefit from proximity to mountains, they're closer to the recreational draw which brings a lot of people to Denver. When they get here, they say, 'I want to be closer to the mountains," Martin said. "This just solidifies a well-established trend in Denver, which is the western submarkets tend to perform very well over the long haul. Wheat Ridge was not necessarily in that mix, but it is now."
This property in Wheat Ridge is particularly ideal not just because of its proximity to Golden and Lakewood, but because it's a new build. Martin said that it can be difficult to get the approvals to build in Golden and Lakewood.
"As a consequence, you can't find another multifamily property within a mile of this one. You can't find anything under construction within two miles of this property and probably won't for a while," Martin said. "Investors saw that and, clearly, tenants saw that as well. This property experienced the fastest lease-up of any asset I've ever worked on, and I've worked at this for 30 years. We normally lease up about 20-25 units per month. These 310 units leased up at 58 units per month, which is just a [very rapid] pace. [Wikstrom] was 100% leased before he delivered his last two buildings. That's also unheard of."
Martin said that, at around $458,000 per unit, he believes this property sets a record for per-unit sale price for a suburban, wood-frame construction project in metro Denver. In his time working, he said he's seen sales around $400,000 per unit but hasn't seen any similar projects pushing $460,000, like Outlook Clear Creek.
Outlook Clear Creek consists of 10 two- and four-story residential buildings across 12.5 acres. There's a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as a resort-style pool, a spa, a dog wash, clubhouse and fitness center, Wikstrom said.
Outlook Clear Creek is the first residential development to open at Clear Creek, but it won't be the last. Evergreen also has in development a yet-to-be-named project across the street. That will have 250 units and a different product. Buildings will be a mix of three stories with two stories on the end, and end units will have private entries.
"We're providing an alternative, too. You can be in an elevator-served property [at Outlook] or a less-dense two- or three-story unit, maybe even with a private entry," Wikstrom said. That project is expected to break ground in the first quarter of 2022, and units will start to be delivered in the first quarter of 2023.
Evergreen, meanwhile, is at work on other projects, including 44 acres near the recently renamed Buckley Space Force Base in Aurora. The project, called Buckley Yard, would consist of commercial development and residential builds.
More information about Outlook Clear Creek apartments, current pricing and availability, can be found at: www.clearcreekcrossingapts.com.