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Colorado Structures Inc. – Residences at Kent Place


The $65 million Kent Place luxury apartment complex in Englewood, Colo., is on track for a substantial completion and final unit turnovers in February 2015 for one main reason. “This project is a success because of the dedicated individuals we have working on the site and in the office, each day,” says Christopher Phelan, senior project manager for general contractor Colorado Structures Inc. (CSI). “This is truly a team effort.”

Phelan credits the work of several project team members – including architects Nicole Williams, Cindy Harvey and Bobby Long of Kephart Architects – with the project’s unique design and successful fast-tracked construction schedule. 

“This project started foundation work before the overall design of the project was complete in order to expedite final delivery to the project owners,” Phelan notes. “This meant construction and design had to work very closely in day-to-day information exchange.” Williams is dedicated to the project full-time, visits the site two or three times a week and is available on a 24/7 basis. 

Coordination between the design team and construction was made easier thanks to the project team’s use of Submittal Exchange, a cloud-based platform, to exchange design plans and other information, as construction began before plans were completed. “Using Submittal Exchange, everyone gets information right away,” Phelan says. “We have multiple sets of eyes looking at the submittal all at the same time and catching problems before they even arise.”

Phelan explains that key members of the CSI project team are:

    • Daniel Aaron Lavy – Lead project superintendent
    • Michael Tolibas – Project engineer
    • Mark Dudash – Superintendent of wood framing
    • Phillips –Project scheduler and manager of logistics
    • Ryan Walter – Site superintendent
    • Mike Hernandez – Superintendent of the building exterior
    • Stewart Wills – Back-out superintendent
Luxury Living

Foundation work on the Kent Place site began in December 2012. The site, which formerly housed a seminary, is owned by Kent Place Associates LLC and development company Forum Real Estate Group.

Kent Place includes three buildings on 5.8 acres of land, with approximately 800,000 square feet of building area. The first building, Building A, is eight total stories including one underground parking level for two stories of parking in total; Building B is six stories including one below grade, also with two total levels of parking; and Building C is five stories, all above grade. The complex will feature 300 total units and 600 parking stalls. All three buildings will feature brick exteriors with structural concrete foundations, and decorative precast concrete spandrels. “The goal for ownership was to build something that would last,” Phelan notes. 

Units range in size from 832 to 2,778 square feet. Complex amenities include a fitness center, steam rooms, yoga studio, theater, cyber cafe, virtual golf room, massage rooms, bike and ski shop and dog-washing area. Each building will feature an exterior courtyard on its second level, and Building A will have an outdoor roof patio on level seven. These courtyards will each feature an outdoor kitchen; other amenities include a swimming pool, two spas, a bocci ball court, fire pits and community planters.

Interior fixtures include granite countertops and LED lighting. Forum Real Estate Group consulted with Group 14 Engineering to perform energy modeling on the buildings to ensure they will provide efficient energy consumption over the long term.

Several portions of the buildings are now completed and inhabited. Move-ins started in July and will continue through the formal completion of the project in February, Phelan says.

Kent Place is located in Cherry Hills, one of the Denver region’s most sought-after residential areas. The complex is located near Cherry Hills Golf Club, which recently hosted a major PGA event, as well as shopping, dining and other recreational destinations such as bike paths. 

From Design to Reality

Phelan says successful projects like Kent Place start with the neighborhood. In this case, the cooperation of local residents has been something that the construction team appreciates on a daily basis. “Construction work is inherently obnoxious – our guys know it, and we appreciate the neighbors for allowing us to do our job,” he says.

In addition to the local residents, the city of Englewood, Colo., has been a great place to work, Phelan says. This project has required an unusual amount of city resources to accomplish the goals set forth by the development, design and construction team. “The city of Englewood’s ability to provide this project with the oversight for plan review, onsite inspections, project phasing and guidance is unique to any city we’ve built in,” Phelan relates. “Working with them has been great.”

Phelan also speaks highly of the project developer, Forum Real Estate Group, and many members of its staff, including owner Darren Fisk, Vice President of Construction Doug Hatfield, Marketing Coordinator Sunshine Williams and Construction Manager Brian Scott. He singles out the dedication of Kevin Foltz, managing director of development and construction for Forum RE. “I believe this project started over 10 years ago for Kevin,” Phelan says. “Ten years is a long time to finally see the fruition of those efforts.” 

Working closely with the developer and ownership group, CSI recognized that the lending partners – AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, Quadrant Real Estate Advisors and their construction-inspecting group IVI International Inc. – play a large role when it comes to financing the project. “Getting our subcontractors and suppliers paid on time is important,” Phelan states, and “with the people from AXA’s support and Scott Foster’s [of IVI International] guidance and timely reports, this is made easier.” 

Family Pride

The project is the first that CSI has performed for Forum Real Estate Group, but not its first large multifamily residential project in the Denver region. The company, founded in 1978 by Phelan’s grandfather Pete Foster and now owned and managed by his father, Timothy Phelan, initially specialized in large, big-box retail and commercial projects until the mid-2000s. At that time, the company was awarded a $65 million contract from Trammell Crow Residential to work on Alexa Broadway Station, a three-building, 350-unit complex it started in 2007 and completed in 2009.

Shortly after completing the project, the company – which has offices in Portland, Ore., Irvine, Calif., and headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo. – dedicated additional efforts towards multifamily construction because its retail work in the Colorado office experienced a decline during the recession. Today, CSI is a more balanced organization with a more diverse project portfolio. Approximately one-third of its work is in the multifamily sector, while the other two-thirds is still competing in the retail and commercial arena.

Phelan says the company’s small size and family oriented culture distinguishes it from many of its competitors. “Our employees take a great deal of pride in their work because they like where they work and want to do their jobs well,” he adds. “We want to make sure our people and subcontractors enjoy the process and that our owners are happy. We believe that will make us more successful in the long term.”