Regal Cinemas will be on of the anchor tenants in the Village at the Peaks in Longmont. The $85 million redevelopment is slated to open later this year. Courtesy NewMark Merrill Mountain States

Malls’ new life: Fort Collins, Longmont redevelopments spur other activity nearby

For retailers, restaurants and residents, it seems that being “close-in” to your community is cool again.

In both Longmont and Fort Collins, city planners and developers are touting the effects of revamped shopping centers about to open.

Longmont’s $90 million Village at the Peaks project at 1250 S. Hover Road is slated to open in November. In Fort Collins, the new $313 million Foothills Mall at 215 E. Foothills Parkway has a grand opening set for Friday, Nov. 13. Nordstrom Rack and H&M clothing store will kick off the grand opening with plans to open in October. Government officials offered tax-increment financing to jump-start development in both cities, and the follow-on effects have been phenomenal.

Longmont: Not all happy

In Longmont, Sports Authority soon will move into a 32,280-square-foot spot at Village at the Peaks. The regional sports retailer was looking for more space than its current location at 2251 Ken Pratt Boulevard, said Allen Ginsborg, managing director at NewMark Merrill Mountain States, the company overseeing the Village project.

Cotton Burden, owner of Burden Inc., is not happy about Sports Authority’s planned move. The company has a lease at the Village at Burlington location through fall 2017, Burden said.

“(Village at the Peaks brokers) cannibalized our Sports Authority, and they tried to cannibalize every tenant we had, but what they did was contrary to the understanding that they had with the city,” Burden said. “The goal was to bring in new business.”

Longmont’s urban renewal authority approved more than $27 million in tax-increment financing for the new shopping center with a requirement that more than 80 percent of the companies there would be new to Longmont.

For his part, Ginsborg said that Sports Authority officials said the Longmont store would have closed and the company would “exit the market” if it didn’t make plans to move to the new location. Sports Authority officials were not immediately available for comment.

The mix of retailers, restaurants and entertainment is planned to be “contemporary” to help the new shopping center succeed, Ginsborg said. Critics have complained that not enough apparel retail shops are included in the project.

“Our project wasn’t designed to be a fashion project. It’s designed to be a contemporary retail center,” Ginsborg said “The reason (Twin Peaks) Mall failed is that it wasn’t contemporary.”

A luxury Regal Theater, a Whole Foods grocery store with its emphasis on prepared foods, and Wyatt’s Wet Goods Wine and Spirits next to Whole Foods all will delight shoppers, Ginsborg said. Both Regal and Whole Foods upped their planned square footage after the project started, he said.

“They have targeted this as an upscale area,” Ginsborg said. “It is a wonderful place to celebrate Longmont. That’s the main vision that I have for this.”

The Village at the Peaks opening will benefit retail areas in all of southwest Longmont, said Don Macy, who owns St. Vrain Centre on the west side of Hover Road, directly across the street from the new shopping area, as well as several other developed and undeveloped parcels nearby.  Macy said his lease rates are about half the price for space at Village at the Peaks, and it’s easier for customers to get to his businesses, whether they’re headed to Sprouts Farmers Market at 1101 S. Hover Road, the nearby PetSmart, or to other surrounding shops and restaurants. Macy declined to give specific lease rates. Party City, at 900 S. Hover Road, also will stay where it is.

“Overall, it’s going to be helpful to us,” Macy said. “Our (shops) have higher visibility and easier access.”

Noodles and Co. at 1087 S. Hover Road, is doing an expensive remodel, and “they’re happy with where they are,” Macy said. Other restaurateurs call almost continually looking for space, but Macy said he turns them down.

There’s “a plethora of restaurants” on the southwest side of town already, Macy said.

Just north of the Village at the Peaks, “two deals” are in the works for new tenants in the former Walmart building, according to Tom Castle, a commercial broker at Sullivan Hayes Cos.’ Colorado Boulevard office in Denver. It’s premature to announce the tenants since no decision has been reached yet, Castle said. A fitness chain may be one tenant, while a home furnishings store could be another, based on information filed with a Longmont economic development office.

“We’re keeping a close eye on Longmont. We like that market,” Castle said. “It’s a great community with people who need retail services.”

Boulder developer David Chaknova bought the former Johnny Carino’s restaurant property at 2033 Ken Pratt Blvd. Chaknova was not immediately available for comment about what he plans to do with the property.

The Sports Authority in both Fort Collins and Longmont will relocate to the cities’ revamped malls from the current locations. Allen Ginsborg, managing director at NewMark Merrill Mountain States, said that Sports Authority officials said the Longmont store would have closed and the company would “exit the market” if it didn’t make plans to move to the new location. Christopher Wood/BizWest

Fort Collins: Back to Midtown

In Fort Collins, the $313 million Foothills Mall redevelopment and the new Trader Joe’s and Sierra Trading Post at The Square on the northeast side of College Avenue and Horsetooth Road are pushing nearby development on South College.

Nearby apartment project proposals and redeveloped office buildings are expected to change the landscape.

For developer Les Kaplan at Imago Enterprises Inc., the story really is about bringing folks back into central Fort Collins, rather than sending them out to regional destination shopping centers such as the Promenade Shops at Centerra, at U.S. Highway 34 and Interstate 25 in Loveland.

“I think the commercial real estate community generally appreciates the benefits of being closer in to where the population and employment is,” Kaplan said. “Why should we leave good, close-in locations for locations that you have to drive to on the premise that you have a regional market?”

Kaplan has put his money where his mouth is, redeveloping the Peloton Cycles building at 2101 S. College Ave., the former Maytag building at 1801 S. College Ave. at Stuart Street, and the 40,000-square-foot Toys R Us building at 120 Bockman Drive. He also owns the 7-acre Carmike Theater and recently bought an 18,000-square-foot office building near the mall, declining to give the address.

The biggest planned apartment complex is an upscale $92 million project along the Foothills Mall perimeter – about 12 acres along Swallow and Stanford roads – proposed by McWhinney Inc. of Loveland. If approved, the apartments could be ready for move-in by the end of 2017.

Developer Butch Stockover plans to build as many as 80 apartments on vacant land near the intersection of Horsetooth Road and John F. Kennedy Parkway.

To the north, the five-story, 299-unit Spring Creek Station student housing project has been proposed or a spot north of Whole Foods Market by Collegiate Development Group.

All of Midtown is starting to take on more of a sense of place, with pedestrian potential and the new MAX bus rapid transit line, Kaplan said.

As a result, office building fix-ups will follow, he said. Three office buildings at 2900, 3000 and 3030 S. College Ave. were bought in July by Palmer Property Management, doing business as 3842 Mason LLC. Palmer now owns at least 10 Midtown buildings, including its own Palmer Flowers building at Mitchell Drive.

The “Everitt building” and two of its neighbors on South College are expected to get a makeover of more than $1 million, according to published reports. Kaplan is working on redeveloping an office building at 1730 S. College Ave.

The Square, next to Foothills in Fort Collins, in undergoing a major renovation and is host to two new high-profile retailers — Trader Joe’s and Sierra Trading Post. Christopher Wood/BizWest

Filling the vacancies

Vacant office space now is close to zero on South College Avenue, Kaplan said.

“For years, these were marginal, low-rent buildings,” he said. “They’re being upgraded to appeal to a higher-quality tenant.”

Real estate brokers also are looking at other existing spots on South College to develop near the Foothills mall site – potentially current car dealership lots.

Back in Longmont, city redevelopment and revitalization director David Starnes is pushing for more tenant interest in the former Walmart building, while touting the new Regal Theater and Whole Foods Market.

City workers “heard the community loud and clear” about entertainment and restaurant choices, Starnes said. Customers shopping, eating and watching movies at the Village at the Peaks and the surrounding area can “stop the leakage” of sales tax to surrounding cities, including Boulder’s Twenty Ninth Street shopping area and Broomfield’s FlatIron Crossing mall, he said.

For retailers, restaurants and residents, it seems that being “close-in” to your community is cool again.

In both Longmont and Fort Collins, city planners and developers are touting the effects of revamped shopping centers about to open.

Longmont’s $90 million Village at the Peaks project at 1250 S. Hover Road is slated to open in November. In Fort Collins, the new $313 million Foothills Mall at 215 E. Foothills Parkway has a grand opening set for Friday, Nov. 13. Nordstrom Rack and H&M clothing store will kick off the grand opening with plans to open in October. Government officials offered tax-increment financing to jump-start development in both cities, and the follow-on effects have been phenomenal.

Longmont: Not all happy

In Longmont, Sports Authority soon will move into a 32,280-square-foot spot at Village at the Peaks. The regional sports retailer was looking for more space than its current location at 2251 Ken Pratt Boulevard, said Allen Ginsborg, managing director at NewMark Merrill Mountain States, the company overseeing the Village project.

Cotton Burden, owner of Burden Inc., is not happy about Sports Authority’s planned move. The company has a lease at the Village at Burlington location through fall 2017, Burden said.

“(Village at the Peaks brokers) cannibalized our Sports Authority, and they tried to cannibalize every tenant we had, but what they did was contrary to the understanding that they had with the city,” Burden said. “The goal was to bring in new business.”