Tag Archives: Downtown Colorado Springs

Top Ten Rejected Mottos for Colorado Springs: Live it Up!

10.Higher than Denver (oops, people might think we have more MMJ per square mile, too)

9. Unparalleled Command and Control!

Apparently, the newest civic embarrassment is the $111,000 spent on the city’s new branded logo and motto: Live it Up!

The popular consensus seems to be that the logo reminds people of a softball team sponsored by either an ambitious dentist or perhaps a Dairy Queen competitor. In fact, do a tour of social media today, and what you’ll find is an ever-increasing degree of bile and one-up-man-ship as people try to come up with new ways of describing how much they DISLIKE both the logo and the video.

8. Worship 6025′!

7. Worship 14,110′!

The message here is pretty clear: you need to align your brand with your product; therefore, branding only works when you know what your product is. Considering that this was commissioned by the Convention and Tourism Bureau, it’s not that surprising to see a lot of imagery about the outdoors, specifically Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods. But from my editorial perspective, what is unbelievably distressing is that the CVB also thought that this would work for creating jobs and appealing to younger professionals. If that’s the audience, how pray-tell does this video appeal to them?

6. Drive To, Over and Through Us!

5. AEROSPACE! Hell, Yeah!

The arts and culture are reduced to sloganeering cheerleaders and exactly 1 second and two images out of almost four minutes.  Most “average citizen” shots appear contrived and forced and possibly done on a single take. There is a single image of the Air Force Academy, and it appears randomly disassociated from everything else. Poor Ralph Routen, editor of the Indy is reduced to talking about driving to the top of Pike’s Peak. Colorado College and UCCS do not make a single appearance in the video. Nor does The Old North End. But there is a guy holding a generic cup of coffee on Canon Ave. complimenting Colorado Springs… except Canon Ave. is in Manitou.

4. Right next door to Manitou!

What’s really missing? A narrative. A story. Check this out:

Downtown COS Highlight Video from Timothy Dumais on Vimeo.

Which one instills civic pride? Which one shows a wide-variety of reasons to visit, maybe even plan a weekend or vacation around? Which one looks welcoming?

Why is narrative important? It engages the audience. Showing is better than telling. It makes it easy to remember. Narrative is worth talking about. Narrative is Benefit, not Feature-Driven. The CVB video spends a great deal of time telling the audience what to think about Colorado Springs, and a lot of them border on hyperbole. No one trusts hyperbole. The Downtown Development Authority’s video shows the audience downtown, and engages them with visual images that are more easily communicated as factual, not someone’s particular opinion.

3. Only 50 minutes from Park Meadows!

2. Come Get Your Monies Worth!

There is a standard that a Vimeo “film” needs to have a much higher production quality than a Youtube “video”. But considering that the Downtown Development video was made for a fraction of the cost and has a considerably higher production quality, the question quickly becomes: “if we’re actually any good, why not make a film?”

1. Like Tulsa, But Different.

Right now on Facebook, Hannah and I are taking a poll as to what people say. It’s terribly scientific in the way that all social media is, responses are volunteered and once critical mass of an opinion’s direction is determined, you’re not likely going to see any variance from that opinion. But look at the reaction to this on The Gazette (90% dislike at this writing), The CSBJ (24-0 dislike right now), and The CSIndy (5-0) and you have to wonder who the committee was that screened this production. Look at the voting on Youtube, where there are Zero Likes, and Nine Dislikes, and only mocking comments.

The reality of the city is much better demonstrated in the Downtown Colorado Springs. When Chris Carmichael talks about the Pro Cycling Challenge, the images anchor his words. When he mentions collaborative efforts by the city, organizations, individuals and businesses, you can see the reality.

What speaks loudest in the CVB video are the people chosen to participate. The video is much more about people speaking and their opinions then it is about the city. But the CVB is supposed to be about creating tourism, conventions, visitors and jobs. It is highly unlikely any of the people in the video would be visited personally or hired for an event. That’s not a ding on the people at all. That’s a strategic problem with the video and the company that created it completely missed the angle of branding.

The Downtown Colorado Springs film uses far more elegant images, cinematography, transitions, modern music… but also captures the product, Colorado Springs. The images are exclusive to downtown. They show people enjoying themselves out and about. Again, back to some scientific polling, but I showed my 8 year old and my twin five year olds both videos. My kids walked away disinterested from the CVB. They came back for the Downtown Colorado Springs film, and what got them excited? Everything. They know Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak first hand. But the Pikes Peak Center? That gets them excited because they’ve seen the symphony there. The rodeo parade is just fun. “There’s Poor Richard’s, brothers!” yelled Andrew. One is someone’s else’s idea of whatever everyone else ought to like. The other is turn-key door opening, a “let me show you…” with a grin.

Successful marketing needs a hook and a narrative. I’m sorry if this post offends, but I’m offended that the city decided to make a video and not a film, to provide opinions rather than show facts, to shout rather than show. As citizens, we deserve better. We’re worth a film. I can show you an example…

Epi Central: Co-Work arrives in Downtown Colorado Springs, and of course, it took Hannah to do it

A quick, but big, kudo to business partner Hannah Parsons.

Hannah Parsons

Hannah was just featured this week in the Colorado Springs Business Journal for her entrepreneurship, and practical action of opening the downtown’s first co-working space. They do offer advanced degrees in entrepreneurship, and that was Hannah’s MBA focus. A participating member of our unique and charming downtown, Hannah is consistently looking for opportunities to take “quaint” and make that “thrive”. Next week, the “downtown offices of Pikes Peak Urban Living” become official, as we join other entrepreneurs at Hannah’s Co-Work Venture, Epi Central in the 400 block of Tejon. To the jealousy of the real estate community, Epi Central is across the street from PPAR.

Part of the real estate future shock is that money is rarely in the brokerage. The money isn’t even in the dirt. The money is in the ideas. The money is in the process. The money is in the relationship. The money is in the tribal leadership. Yep, real estate needs to start acting like something buzz-worthy. I have many times referred back to Seth Godin, from Purple Cow to his address to the National Association of REALTORS in 2007. Seth saw the end of business as REALTORS knew it in a single cursory glance and seeing all the frailties, and all of the unimaginative reinventions it was avoiding. Among Seth’s best pieces of advice was to start a blog. That probably made the majority of the old guard real estate practitioners in attendance roll the eyes, but that’s because they missed the sentence that came after “start a blog”. That sentence was “in order to organize your tribe.” You can’t glaze over that sentence. You can run like hell away from it, but you can’t glaze over it.

In other words, you can blog about real estate. You can regurgitate facts. You can do “market reports”. You can showcase the trim on a house. You can talk about the walkability of a neighborhood. You can check in with Foursquare. You can become the mayor of a coffee shop. It’s all nice. It might be helpful. But what about being a thought-leader? What about building a permission asset?

At the core of it, that’s what Co-Working is all about. That’s why Hannah is so cool. Hannah is about building permission assets. She is about sharing. She’s about strange bedfellows. She’s about attorneys sharing space and white board with social media marketers, putting designers and architects and gardeners in the same room, and giving them lots of fun seats and flex space to spur on their creativity. She’s about being lean, but not mean, practical while still encouraging depth.

Entrepreneurs don’t take instructions very well. They’re too damn inquisitive. They learn by doing and sometimes, that means ignoring the instruction manual. It doesn’t mean throwing out the rules or bypassing ethics, in fact, on the contrary. It just means that business as usual should always be questioned. Co-work is kind of like a thoughtfully inexpensive Montessori for professionals. Coming from me, who has given five years to Giving Tree Montessori (yes, the Indy’s best childcare/preschool two-years running), that’s a compliment.

Hannah: way to go. Thanks for questioning business as usual. Again.

812 N. Logan Ave. Superb Downtown Remodel

In the deluge of this evening, I got to show downtown properties. A couple of the comments on what we saw:

  • Not much in the way of real charm
  • Not much in the way of updating
  • Yeah, the curb was okay, but we’d have to change a lot

It’s a no-compromise market. It shouldn’t ever be a compromise market, but especially now, where other buyers were just quoted a no closing cost 3.875% FHA option today, a buyer (or buyers) shouldn’t buy a house just t buy a house and sign up to fix or improve a half dozen major items in order to get a home worth living in for ten to 15 years.

Well… 812 N. Logan just listed:


After the Tax Credit. What now?

The first listing I sold was 1620 N. Nevada in March, 2000. After pricing the house at $325,000, I looked up the public record to see what the seller paid for it back in 1989: $88,000. 370% appreciation in 11 years!

A present downtown listing

Was that lovely 1898 Victorian Grand House shiny and new in 2000? Or was the value of that property something established by something fundamental? Examples: there are photos of it in the Pioneer’s Museum; Old North End dirt has been considered valuable for 125 years. Why is that house now today probably worth $500,000? Hint: it has nothing to do with the kitchen counters!

I predicted that the market would hit 9200 sales this year. That is exactly the pace the market is on. But I no longer think the market will hit that number. Statistically, fewer homes sold the first four months of 2010 then in 2008. Anyone care to remember the real estate bliss of 2008? I had a moderately bullish forecast in January due to supply and demand trends that no longer exist. The market is better now than it was in 2008 or 2009: but those were lousy years. Comparative analysis requires thoughtful honesty. If the market was actually “improved”, the market would have less than 6 months inventory right now which would catalyze summertime appreciation. It is at 6.5 months despite a massive 1500+ under contract properties. With the 31% increase in listings year to date, it might not get below 6 months this year . More at The Stat Pack.

I financially benefited from the tax credit. This has personally been one of my most successful years in the business. Yet it has also been the most puzzling. 1.) A great number of the listings that soared onto the market this spring were trying to capitalize (too late) on the move-up tax credit. Will these people stay on the market without a $6500 government incentive? 2.) Shiny and new is always popular, but it is also always depreciating. Why oh why is there a 15 month supply of housing of pre-1950 housing $200,000 and up downtown, while there is only a 5.5 month supply of housing of 1998 or newer over $200,000 in Powers? Yes, there are more buyers for properties in PWR than CEN, but we’re comparing 77 active listings downtown to 275 in PWR, and still there is 1/3rd the months of inventory out east? Consumers are habituated to buying disposable things, like a flat screen TV, a Starbucks, or a car with a loan. This behavior seems to be alive in real estate purchasing. I am guessing that the “sale” aspect of the tax credit encouraged it.

The real value of buying in 2010 is to leverage REMARKABLE. Prices went down for 3 years. Buying power is  25% better than it was in 2007 when you account for pricing drops and money leverage. This opens up a lot of 1620 N. Nevada scenarios for a lot of people.

Location is the first and greatest real estate fundamental. Prime location areas have not sold well year to date. It’s not just Broadmoor and upper Peregrine, but downtown, Manitou, Old Colorado City and places where the value is in the dirt.

If you are choosing to sell or buy, qualify your “WHY.” Why are you doing this?  If you are selling and can seize other opportunities, then get it over with. If you are buying, what’s the most remarkable area you can afford?

Real estate isn’t fair; never is, never was. Removing the carrot from before the horse helps consumers more honestly assess their wants and needs.

Updated, Remodelled, Charming… and $8000 Eligible. 307 N. 22nd Street

Vintage elegance meets peace of mind at 307 N. 22nd Street in Old Colorado City.

For the buyer who appreciates no problems, peace of mind and recent improvements, consider…
New roof, new stainless appliances, new granite counters, just-refinished hardwood floors, new professionally-finished basement with bedroom and bathroom (even code compliant window wells), new water heater, new fence, new sewer line; modern foundation (1989), and updated electrical, and plumbing. That’s a healthy list anywhere in town, but especially in Old Colorado City, and almost unheard of at $209,000.

307 N 22nd Exterior

307 N 22nd Exterior

There is a spacious charm to the home as well. This 1944 stucco rancher features 1673 square feet with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a main level laundry/mudroom, and an attached one-car garage. The main level boasts a remodeled kitchen with granite counters and stainless appliances (yes, there is even a dishwasher!), a formal dining room with classic built-ins, a cozy living room with reading nook, and two bedrooms (one with period built-in closet). Newly-refinished hardwood floors (September, 2009), arched doorways, and antique light fixtures complete the charm. With fantastic natural light streaming in from the prominent southern exposure, there are well defined spaces but also ample room to stretch out.

Downstairs, a 2009 remodel has added a whole new dimension to livability by adding a professionally-finished master suite and 3/4 bath. This area could easily be utilized as a family room or office. The basement has many unique characteristics. First, it is not a stone foundation, but a raised-poured concrete foundation, part of the Old Colorado City restoration project in 1989. Done to modern specifications, it has allowed for ample headroom, as opposed to the usual duck and stoop basement so commonly found in either downtown or Old Colorado City. With a generous storage room hosting the updated mechanicals, it offers everything a homeowner could want in a basement… bedroom or gathering space, 3/4 bath, storage, and the feeling of livable space.

Worried about storage? Ample closets, classic built-ins, a sizable 3-entry laundry room/mudroom (complete with washer and dryer), a generous storage room, and an attached one-car garage provide more than enough space. There is even a fenced dog area for Fido.

Top it all off with the location. Nestled in quaint OCC, you can walk to the cafes and farmers market, or bike to nearby Garden of the Gods

and Red Rock Canyon. Or, just stay home and enjoy the Pikes Peak views from the large fenced back yard or private bistro-style patio.

With all the major improvements, this vintage home provides charm AND total peace of mind. Add that to the fundamental value of location-location-location and this is the best value in Old Colorado City. For First-Time Buyers, the list price on this home is well under the $8000 tax credit. With rates presently dropping to just over 5.00% for FHA loans…. your buying power could not be better!