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Losing Dillard’s dooms proposal

By Kelly K. Serrano
Times-Call News Group

The competition to bring a shopping center to Northern Colorado is between two cities and three sites.

Windsor town officials learned Monday afternoon that the site on the northeast corner of Interstate 25 and Colo. Highway 392 was no longer in the running for an open-air, upscale shopping center.

That leaves the sites at U.S. Highway 34 and I-25 in Loveland, and at East Harmony and Ziegler roads and at Prospect Road and I-25 in Fort Collins competing for what the developers have said will be the only a regional shopping center to be built in Northern Colorado for several years.

CBL and Associates Properties Inc. sent official notification via a letter to Rod Wensing, Windsor town administrator, that Dillard’s was bowing out of the proposed lifestyle center.

“Our entire effort was based on Dillard’s department store being a part of the center,” said the letter from Ron Fullam, senior vice president of CBL. “We have now been informed by Dillard’s that they are going to be an anchor, along with Foley’s, at another location in that area.”

The town of Windsor and CBL announced in January that they were working with Dillard’s to anchor the proposed 500,000-square-foot lifestyle center.

However, Dillard’s never signed a lease or confirmed its commitment to the site.

Bayer Properties Inc. has been in discussions with Dillard’s but not Foley’s, said David Silverstein, a principal with the developer proposing a shopping center at Ziegler and Harmony roads in south Fort Collins.

Foley’s is one of several department store anchors at the Foothills Mall in Fort Collins.

Terry McEwen, president of Poag and McEwen Lifestyle Centers, which is proposing the center in Loveland, did not return calls for comment.

However, Greg George, city of Loveland Community Services director, said he understands the city will receive a development plan for a shopping center with two anchors this fall. The concept design Poag and McEwen brought to the city in May included only one 140,000-square-foot, two-story department store anchor.

Wensing said CBL had hinted that issues had arisen when it asked to postpone a public hearing for forming a metropolitan district, in which sales taxes the center generated would go to pay back $20 million in bonds used to fund interstate interchange improvements.

“We’re disappointed, but we also realized from the very beginning this whole retail market in Northern Colorado was very dynamic,” Wensing said.

Neither the town nor the developer has control over the retailers, he said.

“It has been their decision from Day 1,” Wensing said.

He said the entire region would have benefited from improvements to the Colo. 392/I-25 interchange, which now won’t happen for several years.

“That would have been the nice spinoff from this development was to get that interchange fixed, not only for Windsor but for the region,” Wensing said.

However, that interchange is still a good, central location along the I-25 corridor for other business, and Windsor officials have learned much about national retail issues from working on the project, he said.

“We’re now moving on for life after CBL,” Wensing said.

“Certainly the publicity we’ve gotten with the regional mall hasn’t hurt Windsor; it’s been a positive.”

Steve Pfister, who owns the property at Prospect and I-25 with the Horton family, was unavailable to comment, and McEwen did not return calls.