Mall’s makeover takes shopping outside

LONGMONT – The new Twin Peaks shopping center is going outdoors.

Outdoor restaurants with rooftop patios, an outdoor fountain, a “village” gathering space for community events and a children’s play area are envisioned for the new shopping area, according to Allen Ginsborg, managing director and principal of NewMark Merrill Mountain States, the development company that bought the mall for $8.5 million in February.

Ginsborg said Wednesday evening that NewMark Merrill is motivated to move forward quickly, though he declined to give a date for demolishing current mall structures or to name any specific retailers who are interested in being in the new mall. Ginsborg spoke at a public meeting held by NewMark Merrill for residents to see new plans for the mall. About 150 people attended the event at the mall in the space previously occupied by a JC Penney store.

“These plans are fluid right now,” Ginsborg said. “The one area we can’t control are retailers, and retailers are notoriously fickle.”

Most Longmont residents looking at an artist’s drawing of the new shopping center said they’re supportive of the outdoor concept.

“It won’t work if it’s indoors. Retailers want an outdoor mall,” said Liana Huey, 65, a part-time Longmont resident who also lives in Winter Park part of the year. Huey and others examined the rendering closely, looking for clues of potential new retailers and other aspects of the site. The drawing showed generic names on signs above stores.

Ginsborg and partner Sandy Sigel formed NMMS Twin Peaks LLC to buy the mall, which was in bankruptcy. The development team has said it plans to spend $25 million to $50 million to renovate the mall.

The new shopping center also may include a renovated movie theater with stadium seating, a natural-foods grocery store and a Costco or Sam’s Club store, Ginsborg said. Those retail priorities come from polling of residents done by NewMark Merrill, he said.

Not only will the new shopping center have a new visual identity, but it also may get a new name, Ginsborg said. It’s expected to have links to an existing nearby bike path, an underpass under South Hover Street to the west and an electric-vehicle charging station, he said.

NMMS Twin Peaks LLC paid a fraction of the approximately $26.5 million that former owner Panattoni Co. owed to creditor Bank of America. Panattoni purchased the mall in 2007 for a reported $33.6 million. NewMark Merrill Mountain States had been managing the mall since October 2010 on behalf of Panattoni.

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