Citizens help break ground on Village at the Peaks

LONGMONT – NewMark Merrill Co. founder and chief executive Sandy Sigal told the few hundred people gathered for the Village at the Peaks groundbreaking on Friday that he was the lone no vote three and a half years ago when members of his company were deciding whether to go forward with a redevelopment of the Twin Peaks Mall.
“Looking around today, you can see the influence I have in my own company,” Sigal quipped.
Local residents helped take the first chunks out of Longmont’s Twin Peaks Mall Friday, officially kicking off construction of the $85 million Village at the Peaks redevelopment that Allen Ginsborg, principal of NewMark Merrill’s Mountain States division, projected could generate $175 million in annual taxable revenue for the city once completely built out and leased.
Sigal said later that he was a “soft no” when the initial company vote on the project was taken because it was hard for him to imagine then how unwavering the Longmont city council would be in its support to help move the project forward. He was also worried about the stance of Dillard’s, which owned its own store at the old mall and was opposed to redevelopment. The city eventually condemned the Dillard’s store through the power of eminent domain to keep the project moving forward. Sigal, meanwhile, became convinced the project was worthwhile.

“That turned out to be a long haul but we worked it out,” Sigal said.
Ginsborg said that by Labor Day the entire Twin Peaks Mall – save for the Dillard’s store, which will remain as part of the redevelopment – will be razed. Village at the Peaks is slated to open in time for the 2015 holiday season, and will include anchors like Whole Foods Market, Gold’s Gym, Sam’s Club and a Regal Cinemas theater.
Both Sigal and Ginsborg praised the city council and city staff members for their assistance in getting the project done. Ginsborg noted that the mall’s previous owners had tried to revitalize it to no avail, and that other malls along the Front Range have had their own struggles.
“We’re very grateful to be in a position to move forward,” Ginsborg said. “We’ve got more work ahead of us but this is a proud moment.”
As part of Friday’s festivities, NewMark Merrill presented a $5,000 donation to officials from I Have a Dream of Boulder County. About $4,700 of that came from the proceeds of an auction NewMark Merrill had recently to sell off old mall items. Three citizens also paid $95, $85 and $75 in an online auction for the chance to help run the excavator and make the first holes in the mall.
A fourth citizen, Christina Edstrom, had her name drawn from a pool of everyone in attendance to also get a shot to run the excavator. Her 5-year-old daughter Violette and 3-year-old son Christian got to sit with her as she hit the mall’s north wall with the excavator bucket.
“That was incredible,” Edstrom said. “I can’t believe that just happened.”

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