Penny worth millions

Apr 112006
Authors: Hallie Woods

With class, elegance and sophistication, downtown Fort Collins will soon see the largest mixed-use project in Old Town’s history. The new project, Penny Flats, will encompass 200,839 square feet, including 147 residential units and 29,246 square feet of commercial residence.

The massive project boiled in the minds of city authorities starting in 2004 when officials began searching for a development company to undertake the massive project. After careful consideration, the city selected Boulder-based Coburn Development.

“The city of Fort Collins had issued a request for a proposal,” said Daniel Rotner, senior architect for Coburn Development. “We competed with numerous other firms for work on the parcel.”

A joint project of the city and Coburn, the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) also stepped in with a large interest in the fa/ade of the building. As of March 2, 2006, the DDA board of directors approved a hefty $1.18 million to improve the outside of the forthcoming building.

“In essence, the DDA is partnering to make the project much more attractive with higher quality materials on the exterior,” said Matt Robenalt, project manager of the DDA

Robenalt also added that in order for a building project to qualify for this type of donation, it must meet certain requirements.

“The developer is seeking a base Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification with a 50 percent reduction in energy usage compared to typical industry standards and therefore fits with the DDA Board’s criteria for encouraging green building techniques,” Robenalt said.

Expected to be complete in three years, Penny Flats will sit on the corner of North Mason and Maple streets. The sizeable building will be comprised of lofts ranging in square feet from 614 square feet to 2,064 square feet and ranging in price from $275,000 to $895,000. The total cost of the Penny Flats is estimated at $50.3 million. Rotner said the company would alleviate on-street parking with an underground parking garage.

Rotner said the project will begin in September 2006 in the southeast quadrant of the block. Although there is a trolley barn already sitting on the property, the building will not be incorporated into the project.

“It’s going to be a great addition and enhance the economic vitality of the area when it becomes the home of many new residents that will shop, dine and seek entertainment activities in downtown,” Robenalt said.

Hallie Woods can be reached at

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