Standing on the sixth-floor deck on the northwestern corner of The Mae on Cascade, I can see the future of downtown Colorado Springs unfolding in real time. There’s the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum gleaming a few blocks away, with Garden of the Gods visible just above it. The new Weidner Field, future home stadium of the Switchbacks F.C., is taking shape to the nearby west. The “Trolley Block” of South Tejon is below, continuing to expand its list of new eating and drinking hot spots. Other newish apartment high rises dot the north and east sight lines: Casa Mundi, Blue Dot Place, 333 Eco. And this unique perspective on the downtown skyline includes two new hotels under construction: Marriott’s dual-branded SpringHill Suites/Element Hotel and the boutique Kinship Landing. Looking westward to the horizon of Pikes Peak and the Front Range, I can begin to imagine this panorama without the Martin Drake power plant.
Amid all this growth, The Mae is the latest residential addition to the New South End. And it’s a beauty, filled with stylish amenities able to tempt young professionals, empty-nesters and even suburbanites to trade in their single-family homes for a multitude of urban conveniences.
“For so long, downtown has been mainly an employment center, and the heart of arts and culture,” says Jeff Finn, vice president of Nor’wood Development Group. “But stemming back to the 2012 ULI (Urban Land Institute) study, it basically said, ‘Work on catalysts and get people to live here, and you will increase your culinary opportunities, you’ll increase your retail opportunities.’ I think even through COVID that’s what you’re seeing.”
Yet, even as The Mae furthers Colorado Springs’ renaissance, it nods to the past. The project’s namesake is Fannie Mae Duncan, and its upscale style was inspired by the community leader. Duncan was the owner of the Cotton Club, a thriving nightclub in the 1950s and ’60s known for hosting jazz and blues luminaries, such as Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and BB King. Her motto, “Everybody Welcome,” drew black and white patrons alike, and her perseverance in the face of racism made her a local pioneer of integration.
The cobalt, crushed velvet wraparound booths in The Mae’s main lobby particularly look like they might have been lifted straight out of Duncan’s swanky jazz club. Finn calls the lobby “the heart and hub of community gathering and mixing space.” There’s a coffee bar, a fireplace and various sitting areas. More tables and work spaces were added as COVID-19 gave a boost to working from home—the same is true for no-contact delivery lockers.
“We were trying to create the boutique hotel hospitality feel that gives residents the ability to use the whole building as their living room and front door,” Finn says.
Partnerships with nearby restaurants add to that ethos by providing room service delivery to residents’ doors. And then there’s the pool.
The entire horseshoe-shaped building wraps around the second level pool and recreation area. It’s a resort-like setting, with a wide Baja shelf for lounging and heated water for year-round use. Not warm enough for you? Try the 12-person hot tub or cozy up to one of the outdoor fire pits. There’s also space for games, such as cornhole, and a spacious clubhouse available for private parties or events.
Other chic details and amenities run throughout the common spaces and individual units, including a pet spa and indoor dog run, state-of-the-art workout spaces, stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops and oversized windows to capture the views.
“Whenever we tour the apartments, the first question I get is, “When is it open?” Finn says. “And the second question is, “Can I buy it?”
The answers are that the first residents began moving in at the end of August. And, no, but everybody is welcome—to rent.
The Mae By the Numbers
- 177 units
- 43 different floorplans
- 10 (approximately) units are one of a kind
- 10 (approximately) units are two of a kind
- 400-2,500 square footage of the apartments
- $1,300 starting rent for studios
- $3,000 starting rent for penthouses