Certified Appraisals, Inc. Blog

November 20th, 2015 3:26 PM
Many plans and projects have been talked about for some time for Colorado Springs, such as the C4C projects. We have seen progress on some of the C4C projects and it looks like 2018 may be the year that some, but not all, will be completed. The next couple of years will bring some significant and much anticipated changes to Colorado Springs.

The Downtown Partnership, which meets each year to discuss projects they would like to see happen and how to make them happen, met last month. This year the discussions focused on what is already happening instead of what they would like to happen. One such project, the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame, will be built in the southwest part of downtown Colorado Springs, with assurances from new Mayor John Suthers. The opening will coincide with the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, which are set for Feb. 9, 2018. Before the opening of the museum, construction with the I25/Cimmarron interchange, which will provide an easier entrance into the downtown area, will also be completed.

Another project scheduled to begin construction in January 2018 is the Center for the Arts at UCCS, which will hold public venues and educational facilities. Along with the Arts Center, UCCS is also planning a sports medicine center. It will be located on North Nevada Avenue and it will be part of the university's Health and Wellness Village, and will offer elite athlete medical/performance based services. A program plan for the building is currently under development, and should be completed in the early part of 2017. Construction will likely begin in 2018.

Also slated as part of C4C, with much controversy, is the downtown stadium. With no financial backers coming forward, it is not certain when or if it will ever be constructed. A feasibility study still needs to be performed to see if the project is possible from a financial and operational standpoint. Until that is performed, there will likely not be any movement forward on the project.

The Air Force Academy will be donating 52 acres for the new visitors center near the north gate of the institution. They could break ground in 2017, but no completion date has been issued at this stage. The location was chosen so visitors will be able to access the building at all times. With high security issues sometimes keeping visitors outside the main gate, the new center will be accessible even when the Academy is not. Offered at the new site will be a small theater, interactive displays, retail space, offices and a conference room area for Academy personnel as well as outside groups. 

So it seems the next few years will yield big changes for Colorado Springs. After years of hoping and planning, these changes are coming and will hopefully secure the future for our city. These improvements will be a sign to businesses looking to move to Colorado Springs that we are a place that embraces forward thinking and improvement.

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Posted by John Cordasco on November 20th, 2015 3:26 PMLeave a Comment

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June 18th, 2015 1:28 PM
Two of the four City for Champions projects have been under way for some time; the Air Force Academy Visitors Center and the Center for Sports and Medicine at UCCS. Colorado Springs has been awaiting plans for the last two; the Olympic Museum, and the Sports and Event Center. Finally, plans for the long awaited Olympic Museum have been revealed.


Plans for the Olympic Museum will include 60,000 square feet of space and will be located near the intersection of Vermijo Avenue and Sierra Madre Street, in the southwest portion of the Urban Renewal District in downtown Colorado Springs. The museum will include exhibit space, a theater, and a cafe. The tours will go through the Olympic history of athletes as well as Paralympic athletes. Also featured will be a laboratory focusing on the science and technology of sports, including nutrition and training as well as other areas. Also in the plans is a bridge to America the Beautiful Park, which will become a natural gateway into downtown.  So far, the plan is to break ground in the spring of 2016, with an estimated completion time of December 2017. Hopes are for completion to be before the Olympic Winter Games in Korea in 2018.              

It is hoped by many that the museum will begin a new development in downtown Colorado Springs and bring more energy into the local tourism, hospitality and sports industries. The museum is expected to attract between 300,000 and 400,000 people annually. Of those, 80 percent are expected to be from out of town. That should certainly contribute to the local ecomony in a positive way.

As more of the City for Champions projects progress,  we can only hope that the last one, the Sports and Event Center, gets some traction.  With the Olympic Museum underway,  there is hope for the Sports and Events Center as well. In the meantime,  we can get excited for the completion of the other projects.

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Posted by John Cordasco on June 18th, 2015 1:28 PMLeave a Comment

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May 12th, 2015 5:15 PM
Back in December of 2013, Colorado Springs was granted tax funding assistance through the Regional Tourism Act for help in financing the City for Champions. The four proposed projects included the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame; the Gateway Visitor Center at the Air Force Academy, the UCCS Sports Medicing and Performance Center; and the Colorado Sports and Event Center. A lot has happened since then. Where are we now?

Much progress has been made on the UCCS and Air Force Academy projects. This could be due to the heads of both schools being very supportive of their respective projects. The other projects don't have anyone strong cheering them on. It was hoped the Olympic Museum would be open by the end of 2017, or at least by the 2018 Winter Olympics. Initial plans were to have designs by mid-2015, which is approaching quickly. Hopefully we will see something in the near future.

As for the downtown Sports and Event Center, that is another situation altogether. It initially was proposed to be a new baseball stadium for the minor league team, Sky Sox, which has since left for another city. It was then proposed to be a 10,000 seat outdoor stadium/3,000 seat indoor stadium capable of holding multiple sporting events. The stadium has endured much criticism and any momentum that it had has since ceased. Perhaps it will pick up ground again once a new mayor is elected. Or maybe all it needs is an outspoken backer. The other projects have that and are seeing results, so maybe that is all that is neeed. There is potential in being a venue of multi-uses, so having the right person speaking about it will maybe gain support.

All these projects should potentially be a great thing for Colorado Springs economically, bringing in much more needed tourism and more jobs to the area. Hopefully we will soon see designs for the Olympic Museum. The Sports and Event Center has a lot of potential, but has a long way to go before we see anything concrete. Hopefully things get moving and we end up with an event center with all the potential we know it has; Olympic sports, soccer, basketball for local high schools and UCCS. Let's hope things get moving soon.



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Posted by John Cordasco on May 12th, 2015 5:15 PMLeave a Comment

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February 26th, 2015 1:40 PM
As marijuana legalization sweeps the nation, with twenty-three states having legalized medical marijuana and four states recreational marijuana, many landlords and property managers may wonder how to handle tenants who use the drug on their properties. Many may question whether they have legal rights to ban the drug from their properties, or if their tenants have rights to use on their rental property.

Of course, there are no laws preventing landlords from writing lease agreements that prohibit the use of marijuana on their property. If a landlord should choose to use a lease agreement it should clearly state the prohibition of marijuana cultivated, grown, or used on their property. For lease agreements already existing, the landlord may have their tenants sign an addendum that specifically addresses this situation.

However, if the landlord does want to prohibit marijuana from their properties, and chooses to include proper wording in the lease agreement, the laws are still unclear and do not guarantee all rights to the landlord. If a state law says that no tenant shall be penalized for using marijuana, is eviction for violations a viable option for landlords? In some states, landlords may actually be penalized for such action, so there is a growing concern for landlords about enforcing a zero-tolerance policy. If, for example, a medical marijuana patient uses the drug after his/her landlord verbally prohibits such action, but the state law gives the right, the landlord may not be able to evict him/her. Since laws are still in their infancy, a judge may decide in favor of the tenant. The federal government has pledged to not prosecute medical marijuana users, and if more states legalize recreational marijuana it will become more difficult for landlords to prosecute users.

Marijuana laws are still evolving. For now, the best thing for landlords and property managers to do is to pay careful attention to state laws and their own lease agreements. Make sure lease agreements explicitly state that marijuana of any form is prohibited on the premises and is signed by the tenant. Other than that, time will tell as to what laws go into affect and if they will be in favor of the tenant or landlord.

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Posted by John Cordasco on February 26th, 2015 1:40 PMLeave a Comment

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January 29th, 2015 1:30 PM
Local companies have recently been saying that the local workforce does not have the skills needed for the jobs that are available. Pikes Peak Community College wants to help fill that need by making changes to their class offerings as well as making changes to the physical campus. The changes will mainly be geared towards improved education to fulfill the needs for area jobs.

Before making changes, the college, along with UCCS and others, will lead a survey of area employers to find out just what the needs are. There are certain industries that the survey will focus on, such as aerospace and defense, health and wellness, technology and information, advanced manufacturing, bioscience, electronics, energy and natural resources, and financial services. Once the survey results are in, the issue of how to educate students for those jobs can be addressed.

In the meantime, others developments are in the works to expand the community college. Plans to expand the college on Pikes Peak Avenue would give the college a new 8,000 square-foot building that will include a theater and student commons area. The new building is planned for public meetings, political debates, and performances by artists.

While the college will address the needs of local employers, it already is looking at new education and training classes for the community. One such program will be geared towards people who want to learn for the fun of it, while earning a certification or associate's degree. Those who perhaps have retired from their profession, but still want to work and do something fun will benefit from these classes. Another program is geared towards showing middle-school aged students various career possibilities, and the college will work will school districts in the area.

It will be interesting and exciting to see what other changes may result at PPCC once the survey of local companies is completed. In the meantime, we can watch what these other programs do to enhance the college and the community. 

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Posted by John Cordasco on January 29th, 2015 1:30 PMLeave a Comment

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December 2nd, 2014 1:13 PM

Recreational marijuana is now legal in Colorado. There has been much speculation whether the affects on our state will be a positive one or have negative repercussions on our economy. Some believe that the production and sale of marijuana will improve our economy, while others think there will be many negative impacts on our state ranging from lowering tourism, to increasing crime and affecting property values. There are regulations in place but many wonder if they will be enough.

Colorado is home to many outdoor recreational activities, such as skiing, hiking, and biking, among other tourist attractions. Many businesses rely on tourism as their main source of income each year. There are concerns that marijuana legalization may keep families from visiting Colorado due to the image that legalization will bring. People link crime with marijuana legalization and this may keep tourists from coming here, which would negatively affect our economy. 

If we begin to see a rise in crime due to the legalization of marijuana, it could lead to a gradual deterioration in property values in neighborhoods where retail stores exist. Realtors may have a tough time selling in those neighborhoods and need to know how to handle properties that are grow houses. The best thing for a realtor to do in these situations is to be up front about the home. Some hazardous conditions may occur in the dwelling from dampening within the walls. Also, the distinct odor of marijuana may linger in these homes as well, which would be difficult to hide even if they tried. 

Several cities in Colorado now have licensed retail marijuana shops. So far, reports indicate there has been no increase in crime and no negative affect on tourism. If there continues to be no negative impact on public safety and tourism, real estate values may not be affected. We may even see more cities open up retail marijuana shops. Only time will tell what the long-term affects on Colorado will be. 

 


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Posted by John Cordasco on December 2nd, 2014 1:13 PMLeave a Comment

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Your surroundings can have a strong influence on your mood. Making small changes on your home environment can have a big impact on how you feel and on your overall health. There is a new movement in design and even construction to make positive impacts on how people live, work and play. It's even more important today, where many people work at home either partially or full time.

Lack of movement, social interaction and physical health can affect the health issues that plague people today. We lead more sedentary lives today which contributes to obesity and a wealth of issues associated with obesity. Design in homes and communities, and home improvements can help with some of these issues. Designs in the home that promote movement, and designs in communities that include walkable spaces and spaces that promote social interaction can help us to lead healthier lives.

Adding a porch, deck or patio to your home improves mental health by adding access to the outside world. Extending living spaces gets people to spend more time outdoors, as well as letting natural light and air filter into the home. Another way to get outdoors is to have a small garden or even grow some herbs in pots on the deck.

Adding seating areas outside the home and in communities promotes more social interaction, and spaces for having a quiet read while enjoying the outdoors can lead to a healthy mind and body. When there are outdoor spaces for gathering, it encourages people to walk to those spaces and have an avenue for social gatherings.

Sleep is very important to overall health, so it makes sense to make sure your bedroom promotes tranquility. Try to avoid sleeping in a room that is along a busy street. Installing soundproof windows and drapes with "blackout" lining helps. Also leaving the TV/entertainment center out of your bedroom is recommended as the lights and sounds from these devices can interrupt sleep.

Also very important is the air quality in your home. Find a way to have some fresh air flow in the home by opening windows at least for a period of time when the weather cooperates. Make sure to regularly replace/clean filters on air conditioners and/or heating systems helps to promote clean air throughout the home. Check your radon and/or carbon monoxide detectors on a regular basis.

These are just a few examples of promoting a healthy environment in your home and neighborhood community. By making just a few changes, you can have huge rewards and feel more healthy and happy overall. It is important to promote a healthy atmosphere in the home, especially with the amount of people who work either part or full time from their home. Mental and physical benefits abound just from making a few changes.


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Posted by John Cordasco on May 7th, 2014 2:14 PMLeave a Comment

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Studies show that sitting for prolonged periods can have serious affects on your health. People whose professions require them to sit at a desk or drive a vehicle all or most of the day are at risk. There are, however, some simple preventive measures that can be taken to avoid these possible risks to your health due to sitting too long.

One of the risks associated with prolonged sitting is the increased risk of obesity, especially increased body fat around the waist. This can lead to very serious conditions such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar to name a few. Even more serious conditions are the increased risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

There is a simple measure that can be taken to avoid these risks: get more movement throughout the day. Moving more throughout the day is even better than spending a few hours at the gym a few times a week. Try taking frequent short walks throughout the day. If it is not possible to walk outside, walk for a few minutes in your office building or workplace. If your building has stairs, walk up and down the stairs a few times. Parking further from your building or the grocery store will also add steps into your day. If you are able to keep a set of small weights or an exercise band in your drawer, you can do some light weight lifting and stretches at your desk as well. Also, if you are familiar with yoga, there are some easy postures that would work at a desk or in an office. And it would be beneficial to eat your lunch standing up, when possible.

If financially feasible, there are retailers out there that sell desks that raise to standing height so you get a break from sitting. If you are able to invest in one, that may be something worth looking into. For people whose job requires them to drive most of the day, some of these suggestions may not be possible. But trying to insert any movement into the day will benefit your overall health.

These measures don't seem like much, but even the smallest changes can have huge health benefits. The best thing to do is to take a break from sitting and move whenever possible. If these small changes benefit your health even in a small way, it will be worth the effort.


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Posted by Office Certified Appraisals, Inc on April 3rd, 2014 4:37 PMLeave a Comment

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March 7th, 2014 5:04 PM

In July of 2010, after our economy went through the "Great Recession", we saw the creation of the Dodd-Frank Act. Its purpose was to implement and enforce rules for the protection of consumers and to prevent another housing collapse. Just four years after Dodd-Frank, the real estate industry is again seeing more rules and regulations. Similar to Dodd-Frank, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been created to prevent the irresponsible lending practices that some felt contributed to the housing collapse and to get back to the basics of lending.

One such new rule is called the "Ability-to-Repay" rule and is pretty straightforward. It will insure that the buyer is able to repay the loan by having more stringent requirements for lending institutions when looking at a consumer's financial information. Underwriting requirements will assure the buyer has reasonable income or assets, current employment status, and will also check debt obligations and credit history. Strict requirements will also be put in place for Loan Originators, as well as in other areas of the lending process. Loan Originators will need a criminal background check and be required to have continued, proper training.

As with Dodd-Frank, it will take time for full compliance from lenders as there will be a significant financial impact. Once there is full compliance, we should see a more confident consumer, fewer foreclosures and irresponsible lending practices.


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Posted by Office Certified Appraisals, Inc on March 7th, 2014 5:04 PMLeave a Comment

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January 27th, 2014 5:56 PM

The city of Colorado Springs has been working towards financial funding for a multilevel project called the "City for Champions."  The plans will encompass four projects located in downtown Colorado Springs, The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS), and the Air Force Academy. The hope is that, once completed, these projects will enhance the city's economy by attracting more businesses to Colorado Springs while also improving it's image for potential tourism. Now that partial funding has been approved by the state, the projects are one step closer to getting started.

The downtown projects include an Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame, and a multipurpose Sports and Events Center. The center will be designed to hold various events, and there is speculation that the Colorado Rockies' minor league team, the Sky Sox, will vacate their current location on the east side of town and move to the downtown location. Many cities in other parts of the country that have built downtown stadiums have seen positive economic results. Once the projects are completed, downtown businesses should see a big boost in activity.

Other projects involved in the City for Champions includes plans for expansion at UCCS and the Air Force Academy. UCCS is looking to build a new Sports Medicine Complex and Performance Center. The Sports Center will cater to senior health care, post-traumatic stress disorders, and brain injuries, as well as sports-related medicine. At the Air Force Academy there will be a new Visitors Center adjacent to the current stadium which will include a restaurant, an athletic hall of fame, a theater, and a gift shop. State funding has already been approved for this project.

Projects such as these have made positive impacts on the economies of other cities and Colorado Springs officials are anticipating similar results. With the Air Force Academy Visitors Center, the new Events Center and the Olympic Hall of Fame, Colorado Springs should expect an increase in the amount of tourism. The Sports and Medical Center at UCCS will help bring more sports-related and medical business to the area, all of which will improve the economy in the long term. The City of Champions project a great opportunity to impact the local economy and improve tourism for Colorado Springs and surrounding areas.


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Posted by Office Certified Appraisals, Inc on January 27th, 2014 5:56 PMLeave a Comment

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