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Renters are now moving into the $12 million Trail’s Bend Apartment Homes in south-central Springfield.
SBJ photo by Jessica Rosa
Renters are now moving into the $12 million Trail’s Bend Apartment Homes in south-central Springfield.

Apartment housing heats up

The $19 million SilverLeaf is latest in active multifamily construction market

Posted online

SilverLeaf Apartments, an $18.5 million project in far southwest Springfield, is joining the busy local landscape of apartment complexes.

The planned two-building, 214,000-square-foot apartment complex with 153 units is scheduled for a fall groundbreaking and completion in spring 2021, said Rita Baron, principal of project architect Baron Design & Associates LLC.

At 4069 W. Republic Road in Battlefield, on the northeast corner of Republic Road and West Bypass, SilverLeaf is among the latest projects adding to the Queen City’s apartment roster.

“Right now, we’re experiencing a high rental market,” said Judi Samuel, past president of the Greater Springfield Apartment & Housing Association. “Most people are filling up their properties at this time.”

According to commercial real estate data firm CoStar Group Inc. (Nasdaq: CSGP), the current Springfield apartment occupancy rate is roughly 96%. CoStar data notes the city has 21,720 market-rate apartment units, not including affordable, senior or student housing.

Samuel, who also is a co-owner and broker with Debco Management Inc., said her company’s roughly 1,500 residential properties, about half of which are apartments, are around 98% leased. Even when factoring in seasonal swings, she said occupancy levels are near 96%.

“I don’t think we’ve been dropping below the mid-90s,” she said, citing population growth and mobile lifestyles as factors.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Springfield’s estimated population in 2018 was 168,122, up 5.4% from the 159,453 residents in 2010.

“More units are building because they’re not going to have any trouble filling them as our city keeps growing,” she said.

Keep on building
Apartment building hasn’t shown signs of slowing down at Coryell Collaborative Group, said Liv Young, spokeswoman for the company’s TLC Properties Inc. division.

Veranda Vistas Apartments, an $11.4 million, 120-unit project for the 55-plus community, opened in June, and that was followed by a July opening of the $12 million Trail’s Bend Apartment Homes, a 100-unit complex.

According to CoStar data, five apartment projects totaling 294 units currently are under construction in Springfield, said Todd Galvin, a market analyst with the Washington, D.C.-based firm. The completion of Trail’s Bend results in another 240 units completed to date, he said, including the 100-unit Quarry Town apartments in Galloway Village, finished in May.

“There’s so much demand,” Young said, adding TLC Properties is running at 96% occupancy. “We have a ton of properties already, but it’s like we can’t build them fast enough.”

Combining the apartments under construction and those that hit the market this year brings the tally to 534 units. If completed by year’s end, Galvin said that would be more than three times the 162 units delivered in 2018.

With Trail’s Bend, TLC Properties has 24 multifamily apartment communities, comprising 3,782 units, Young said. Apartment complexes in the works include the 112-unit Monarch, Tera Vera II and a 55-plus project in Branson, as well as the $10.8 million mixed-use development Cambium and its 129 apartment units. Cambium’s completion has been pushed back to November due to weather from its originally planned July opening.

Debco Management’s Samuel said the most in-demand units are single bedrooms.

“If someone wanted to rent one today, I doubt they’d be able to find one,” she said.

Samuel noted the concerted effort in recent years to build up student housing but said Debco currently isn’t managing any properties in the college market.

According to past Springfield Business Journal reporting, nearly $185 million has been spent on student housing since 2009. Among recent projects contributing to that total is the $23 million Vue on Walnut, a 348-bed complex scheduled to open in August.

Standing out
Baron Design & Associates had a small contribution to the student-housing building boom of the past decade, Baron said, as the firm was the architect for The Bay on Bear Boulevard, an apartment complex completed in 2013.

The Bay and SilverLeaf contribute to Baron Design’s approximately 200 apartment projects it has worked on in Missouri since founding in 2003, she said. However, apartments are not a major focus of the firm’s overall project list, which includes work in more than a dozen states. She said apartments make up around 20% of the firm’s local projects.

“We’re not a firm who does just apartments, and we’re not a firm who only does hospitality,” she said.

However, Baron said SilverLeaf’s price tag and unit count make it stand out among the firm’s past local apartment projects.

“We’ve done larger in other states,” she said. “But that’s probably the largest for us in Springfield.”

The general contractor is JSB Investments LLC.

Although the apartment complex is still months away from a groundbreaking, Baron said SilverLeaf is a sign that Springfield’s continuing apartment construction speaks to the growth of the city and its overall economic strength.

“It tells you that Springfield is a place people want to live,” she said.

Web Editor Geoff Pickle contributed.

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