January 1, 1998

Superior retail center land values debated

SUPERIOR — If everything goes according to plan, developers say new stores could be open by fall 1998 in a new Superior “power center” on the turnpike.

But arguments about the worth of land at the southwest corner of U.S. 36 and McCaslin have stalled the project. At least one condemnation letter has been sent to one of five property owners of the 90-acre parcel, said Bruce Williams, Superior city manager. The area is located in the Superior Urban Renewal Authority district, which Williams also heads.

“There have been attempts to purchase those properties and lacking agreement there, the condemnation process would take place,” Williams said.

Steve Ellman, president of Ellman Companies, a Phoenix-based development company, said he is ready to pay property owners “market value,” a price determined by an urban renewal authority appraisal. He declined to make the appraisal price public. But he said the area does not currently have infrastructure improvements like sewer and water, and it will cost “in the $45 (million) to $50 million range” to improve it.

“A property owner is saying, I understand a Wal-Mart is coming, a theater is coming, restaurants are coming, therefore, my property is worth more,” Ellman said. “Whatever the market rate is, it is, but we don’t want to be held up for excess of value when we’ve created the value. The simple fact that we’ll have the Wal-Mart, the theater, the shops, is because we’ve spent $1 million in pre-development work.”

Ellman started the development process 18 months ago, said Williams, who also declined to disclose the property’s value.

If and when the property changes hands, Ellman plans to build 600,000 square feet of tenant space, about 185 apartments and a small office space component. A theater in what Ellman calls the “largest” regional shopping center/power center in the area will share parking spots with an expanded RTD Park-n-Ride facility.

Ellman declined to say if Wal-Mart is committed to the project. An anchor store is expected to be about 200,000 square feet, to be built in an area southwest of the current Marshall Road and McCaslin Boulevard. Marshall Road would be moved, according to Jason Stilwell, deputy city manager. A public/private partnership would be created for the RTD parking lot, which would be used by movie patrons at night and U.S. 36 commuters during the day, Stilwell said.

“We’re looking at this to be a transit point as the corridor develops,” Stilwell said. “We plan this to be a bus and in the future a light-rail stop for people to park and shop and do other activities, so we’re catering to that.”

Williams said Ellman felt “pretty positive that a theater’s coming.”

“This particular intersection is under-screened. Businesses won’t come here unless they feel there’s a need,” Williams said. “I don’t know if you’ve seen the Louisville theaters or not, but most of the time they’re just packed.”

The project may start as soon as February, Williams said.

“We need to have a level of commercial and retail sales tax base in this town, because right now we get about 60 percent (of revenues) from sales and use tax (from homes),” Williams said. “We’re working very hard to make sure this comes along as quickly as we can get it, but we also want it to be planned and an amenity to the community.”

SUPERIOR — If everything goes according to plan, developers say new stores could be open by fall 1998 in a new Superior “power center” on the turnpike.

But arguments about the worth of land at the southwest corner of U.S. 36 and McCaslin have stalled the project. At least one condemnation letter has been sent to one of five property owners of the 90-acre parcel, said Bruce Williams, Superior city manager. The area is located in the Superior Urban Renewal Authority district, which Williams also heads.

“There have been attempts to purchase…

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