The "lock-and-leave lifestyle" is emerging in the suburbs as the Encore development sold all 124 condominiums in under a year in downtown Castle Rock. With construction still under way, the …
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With Encore residential and commercial units sold out, the pressure is on to meet the fall opening deadline. Encore sales manager Lisa Manzo said they are hoping to allow residents and businesses to move in by September or October this year.
Encore is being developed by Confluence Communities, which has headquarters in Golden.
Both Castle Rock and Confluence have several obligations to meet before the official opening can take place, including a major roadway project that continues in front of the seven-story building located near City Hall on Wilcox Street.
Parts of Wilcox Street are currently closed as the Castle Rock Public Works Department builds a $2.2 million roundabout to accommodate the increased traffic Encore residents will bring to the town's main street.
Mayor Jason Gray said he understands change can be hard, especially as construction continues, but he is confident Encore is going to have a positive impact on the town.
Gray said Confluence is also responsible for building the successful Riverwalk project in Castle Rock. Gray estimated Riverwalk is responsible for the town getting 58 new businesses downtown.
With more than 28,000 square feet of the total 180,953-square-foot project dedicated to retail and office space, Gray said Encore is already in position to bring new business to downtown.
The seven-story parking garage is nearing completion. Of the 601 spaces, the town has paid just over $9 million for 308 spaces to be designated as public parking. The garage is accessible from South Street, which can currently be accessed via Perry Street.
In working to bring Encore to downtown, Kevin Tilson, director of the Downtown Development Authority, said the lack of public parking was a major issue.
Through public/private partnerships, Tilson said besides parking from the Encore project, The View, a similar development set to be under construction this summer, will provide the town with an additional 400 public parking spaces.
“We know that Castle Rock is a growing community and people want to be in downtown,” Tilson said. “We are being strategic to add public parking infrastructure at every opportunity. No growing community ever looks back on time and wishes they built less public parking.”
The town has also invested in building a new civic plaza between Town Hall and the mixed-use building.
As a bonus for the public, Manzo, who said Encore is pet-friendly, will build the town's only dog park nearby.
The "lock-and-leave lifestyle" is emerging in the suburbs as the Encore development sold all 124 condominiums in under a year in downtown Castle Rock.
With construction still under way, the 180,953-square-foot project will not be ready for move-in until later this fall. Encore's for-sale condominiums ranged in size from the top penthouses to one- to three-bedroom units. Prices for the units ranged from the high $300,000s to over $1 million for the penthouse suites.
Kevin Tilson, director of the Castle Rock Downtown Development Authority, said that having all retail and commercial space leased and units sold before tours can even take place says a lot about the need for the $72 million project.
“Every historic downtown in America knows that a key component to a thriving downtown economy is people,” he said. “It is people working downtown during the work week. Living in downtown helping to fill the evenings and weekends. That allows that cool place to shop or dine to survive.”
After the units officially sold out in early June, Lisa Manzo, Encore sales manager, said there was no doubt the units would sell, but there was some surprise with how quickly it happened given the restrictions and obstacles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
From the start, Manzo said interest was high. When sales started, Manzo said Encore had an interest list of more than 600. Now, Manzo said they have a growing waitlist in case any deals fall through.
“The lock-and-leave lifestyle provides residents with everything they need right here,” she said. “The biggest draw for Encore is the walkability factor. Castle Rock has a lot of community engagement. There are nearby trails and activities. Local restaurants and retail stores are within walking distance. It is a little big town with a small-town feel.”
Residents will not have to walk far for some businesses. Besides all the residential units selling out, the project's 17,881 square feet of commercial space is spoken for. Manzo said Encore will have a high-end Mexican restaurant, coffee house, clothing boutique, a high-end Italian restaurant and a hair salon and barber.
The lock-and-leave lifestyle, which provides residents with the ability to own a home while having the freedom to live free of maintenance responsibilities, has been become popular for baby boomers, millennials, and the generations in between, Manzo said.
While the lifestyle is usually said to be for millennials and seniors, at Encore, Manzo said the demographics are a mixture of ages and families. Some residents work in Castle Rock, some like the quick accessibility to Interstate 25. Others just want to live in a place where there is quick access to eating, shopping and entertainment, Manzo said.
Castle Rock Mayor Jason Gray said to have all of Encore under lease or sold in under year during a pandemic proves there is a demand for the lock and leave lifestyle in the Denver suburb.
“The town was ripe for this project,” said Gray. “The fact that it sold out like this is proof there is a market for this kind of housing. The other important point is who bought the condos as well. Residents really want to be here.”
Manzo said more than 80% of the buyers either live in Castle Rock or Douglas County.
“We had a lot of people who wanted to stay here in Castle Rock,” Manzo said. “They did not want to leave but wanted to buy into the lifestyle Encore offers.”
Frank Gray, president of Castle Rock Economic Development Colorado, said the success in both residential and commercial sales at Encore is proof there is a need for more residential options and more commercial business space in the town.
“Douglas County residents do not want to leave the county,” he said, “they want to have different options like this. What Encore offers is a lifestyle people are wanting and it is not just millennials. Projects like this can thrive in a town like Castle Rock.”
In a hot housing market like the region is seeing now, Gray said Encore is providing more supply to meet a growing demand.
The market for townhomes and condos is just as hot as the housing market, according to the Denver Metro Association of Realtors. Recent data shows the market for homes that accommodate the lock-and-leave lifestyle are up more than 40% from the same time in 2020.
Through the first quarter of 2021, 127 townhomes and condos have sold in Castle Rock. The median sale price is $406,000, while the average sale price is just over $425,000.
Single-family homes in Castle Rock are selling for an average of $712,000.
Gray said as residents express concern with how fast Castle Rock is growing, Encore is somewhat of an answer to the problem. Instead of a large housing development taking up a lot of open space, Encore essentially has 124 houses on limited acreage downtown, he said.
Encore is just the start of the new lock-and-leave trend growing in Castle Rock. Castle Rock Development LLC is currently working to build The View at the northeast corner of Sixth and Jerry streets. The View will be a mixed-use, six-story building with 218 for-rent residential units, 14,500 square feet of office space and 5,000 square feet of retail space.
Construction on the $65 million project is slated to begin this summer.
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